From Too Many Chefs -

July 25, 2005
Suzette Pie

I call this pie Suzette because it features:
Summer Squash,
Zucchini, and
Tomatoes - SZT - SuZeTte.

All three ingredients are in season right now, and are some of the best items at the farmer's market.

I can't resist the deep yellow of good summer squash. There's not another yellow in nature like it. I find it pairs very well with deep red tomatoes and pale green - almost white - Mexican zucchini. While regular zucchini are usually 8-12" in length, the Mexican zucchini at the market is usually 3-4" in length and perfect to put in the center of a pie with a 9" diameter.

I'm still looking for a crust that's even crispier and flakier than this one but that incorporates corn meal. In fact, I almost didn't use a crust for this recipe at all. I was sorely tempted to make this into a cornbread and goop recipe.

You could substitute any good nutty cheese here. I used Parmesan because I had a big bag of cheap parm I wanted to use up before my watery fridge took it out (more about that in another post). If you have gruyere or taleggio, lease feel free to substitute.

Suzette Pie
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal or masa
1 stick butter, chilled, cut into many small pieces
1/4 cup ice water
big pinch salt

2 summer squash, topped, and sliced very thinly on the bias (as with a mandolin)
2-3 small pale green Mexican zucchini topped, sliced lengthwise (5-8 slices per)
2 plum tomatoes, topped and sliced lengthwise (5 slices per)
1/2 can vegetarian refried beans
1 medium red onion, sliced thinly (as with a mandolin)
herbs (I used basil and tarragon)
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon oil plus some for drizzling and for oiling pan
3/4 cup grated or shredded parmesan cheese

Mix the salt, cornmeal, and flour together in a big bowl. Chill the butter bits and add into the flour combo, squishing with your fingers to work the butter in until the mix resembles a grainy mix. Add the ice water and work mix into a dough ball. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Sautee onions in a tablespoon of hot oil. Add salt to draw water out of the onions. When onions are soft and just taking on color, remove from heat and set aside. Grease up a standard 9" cake pan.

Roll the dough ball out on a floured surface into a round just larger than the cake pan. Place the dough in the pan and work the edges so you have a hollow crust. Brush with oil lightly and put into preheated oven. Bake for 25 minutes.

Toss the summer squash with a tablespoon or two of water and chopped up herbs, enough to taste. Herbs should cling to squash.

After 25 minutes in the oven, spread vegetarian refried beans over the base of the crust. Spread sautéed onions over that, distributing evenly. Sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese over that. Next layer summer squash in a decorative pattern, overlapping slices. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top of this layer.

Zucchini and tomato slices in a decorative radial pattern make up the next layer, salt and pepper them, and more summer squash slices go on top of that. Brush the top slices lightly with oil, add 1/4 cup Parmesan and a sprinkling of herbs, salt, and pepper. Drop oven temperature to 325 F. Bake for 20 minutes until pie is hot throughout and squash has shrunk a bit.

Let cool for ten minutes before de-plating. Turn the cake pan upside down while holding the pie's top with your clean hand, then place a plate over the bottom of the pie and re-invert. It should release from the cake pan easily and hold together while you switch it from the cake pan to a plate.

Cut and serve immediately or allow to cool completely and serve cold. A splash of lemon or lemon balm wouldn't be out of place.

Posted by Barrett in Maryland at July 25, 2005 7:08 AM | TrackBack

Barrett, I do not believe I've come upon Mexican zucchini. I live in the Chicagoland area, do you have any suggestions?

Posted by Lu on July 25, 2005 at 2:47 PM

Lu - I got my zukes at the Saturday Farmer's Market that's held adjacent to Oz Park just east of Halsted at Armitage. I've also seen them at the Chicago Fruit Market near my apartment at Montrose and... Albany? Whipple? Somewhere just a block or so West of Sacramento.

I'd bet Stanley's on North would have them as well.

Posted by barrett on July 25, 2005 at 3:09 PM

OH !!! Use fresh rendered lard instead of butter.
We don't use it for fruit pies but for meat, veggie or savory pies? You cannot beat it.


Posted by Dr. Biggles on July 25, 2005 at 9:13 PM

Being a veg, lard's not my thing. And really, I have had lard crusted pies which are very good but we're talking BUTTER here. Mmmmm... butter.

Posted by barrett on July 25, 2005 at 9:50 PM

Holy cow man, yup. It's a lovely thing either way.

I would like to state that I don't use just any lard. I make my own from naturally raised hogs and my wife uses it on special occasions with special pies.

If you're on the veggie trail, this don't matter. Just wanted to let ya know it isn't on the grocery store crap.

Lard or Butter crust, there is no better.

There is love shared on both sides.


Posted by Dr. Biggles on July 26, 2005 at 12:12 AM

Barrett, I'm not sure you'll ever get a properly flaky crust with cornmeal in it. To me it seems too coarse to give that effect. That said, it's a great versatile crust with loads of flavour. I think you should quit while you are ahead!

Posted by Meg in Paris on July 26, 2005 at 11:32 AM

You'd be shocked by how close to flaky it is with the masa if you manage the cold correctly.

Posted by barrett on July 27, 2005 at 6:59 AM