Saturday, 13 October 2012

Upside-Down Tomato and Basil Pie


I love Saturday nights. I love parties and having friends over, and drinking a little too much tequila, and going to friends homes for dinner, and going OUT. But sometimes it's nice to spend Saturday night at home. It's great knowing you don't have to dress-up and that you can eat dinner in your pajamas with your hair in a  ponytail and watch an unhealthy amount of HBO DVDs under a quilt on the sofa. I'm a sucker for all those HBO programs. When I'm watching them, I'm there. I feel like I KNOW Nucky Thompson, Tony Soprano and Sookie Stackhouse. That boardwalk can't be a set, it looks too real. I'm going to Atlantic City to check it out. Tony's still out there somewhere ordering a wack-job and a gabagool sandwich with vinegar peppers from Satriale's Pork Store. And Lafayette's givin' Sam a good amount of sass and slingin' red beans and rice at Merlottes. I know it... I just know it. My Saturday night just won't be the same if it isn't true.

Upside-Down Tomato and Basil Pie
from Belinda Jeffery's Mix & Bake
Serves 6

2 x 400g can diced tomatoes
225g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
100g parmesan, freshly grated
50g good cheddar, finely grated
125g cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
2 eggs
80ml milk
A couple of shakes of Tabasco sauce
6 medium-sized ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced (Roma tomatoes are ideal)
1/3 cup finely shredded basil leaves
Tiny basil leaves, to garnish

Preheat your oven to 180C. Butter a 26cm x 6cm round ovenproof dish (I use a Pyrex dish) and line the base with buttered baking paper. Set it aside.

Pour the canned tomatoes into a sieve over a bowl and leave them to drain. Give them a stir occasionally to make sure as much juice seeps away as possible. Don't waste the juice, I used it to make myself a Bloody Mary... just sayin'.

Meanwhile, whiz the flour, salt and mustard together in a food processor. Add the cheeses and whiz again to just mix them in. Scatter the butter chunks over the top, and process until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Tip the mixture into a bowl.

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and Tabasco sauce. Make a well in the cheese mixture and pour in the egg mixture, then stir everything together to make a fairly stiff batter.

Lay the sliced tomatoes in overlapping circles in the base of the buttered dish so the bottom is completely covered. Now spoon the drained tomatoes over the top and spread them out evenly (be a bit gentle doing this so you don’t disturb the pattern of the sliced tomatoes.) Sprinkle them with the shredded basil. Dollop spoonfuls of the batter over the basil and tomatoes, then, with lightly floured hands, pat it out with your fingers to spread it evenly. Don’t worry if there are a few little gaps - they fill out as the pie cooks.

Bake the pie for 30-35 minutes or until the topping has risen and is golden. (The time will vary a bit depending on how thick your dish is.) Test it by inserting a thin skewer into the topping; if it comes out clean the pie is ready. Remove the pie from the oven and leave it to settle in the dish for five minutes. Then sit a serving platter on top and carefully invert the pie onto it. Remove the dish and paper then mop up any juices that seep out onto the plate.

Now, just scatter some basil leaves on top and it’s ready to eat. 


  1. Oh how I miss our fresh tomatoes from the garden [sigh]. I now have tomato envy - this would be such a delight for dinner.

  2. A ''tarte tatin'' but a salty one, how interesting is that!! It would be a hit at home, I'm sure of that. Oh HBO shows...I've started the Sopranos *hmm, cause of you ;)* and I'm at the second season. I love that!! My grandfather has them on DVD so he lend me all the seasons...when I've a hour to spend, I watch this show on my computer :)

  3. Hey Patty. When you are in pumpkin season, we are in tomato season - different hemispheres will do that :)That's when book-marking recipes is handy I guess. We have planted several different varieties of tomato in our garden. The ones you see here are from the market, as ours are still little plants and aren't fruiting yet.

  4. You're right Gabrielle, a savoury tart tatin, with a cheese crust rather than puff. Oh I'm so glad I've persuaded you to watch The Sopranos, now we can be obsessed together :)

  5. This is gorgeous! Yes, my season is off as well, I will put this one away for safe keeping until next season! You have really inspired me to be more creative with presentation!

  6. Hey Leah. I'll be eating salads and fruity treats, while you're eating cold-weather comfort food. At least chocolate is always in season ;-P