- 3/4 cup all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/4 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons ice-cold vodka (or ice water)
- 1 pound of pie weights (or dried beans)
- 1 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch slices
- freshly-ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons sour cream
- 1 beaten egg, minus 1 tablespoon
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon minced chives
- 1 1/4 cup cottage cheese, drained of all moisture
- 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
For the crust:
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter and shortening, and using a pastry blender, cut the fat into the flour until you’ve got a coarse sandy texture that looks like rolled oats.
- Sprinkle in half the vodka and knead 4 or 5 times, until the dough forms a ball. If the dough still does not come together, sprinkle in a little more vodka, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the dough comes together to form a shaggy ball. Flatten the dough into a squat disk, then wrap in plastic wrap and set in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- After 1 hour has passed, remove the dough from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes (and no longer!). On a flour surface, use a generously floured rolling pin to gently roll the dough to a circle about 1/4-inch thick and 10-inches across. Transfer the dough to a pie plate, allowing 1/2-inch of the dough to hang over the edge. Use your fingers to crimp the edges into an attractive style.
- Prick the bottom of the pie all over with a fork. Line the pie with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven, remove the weights, and allow to cool somewhat.
Construct the pie:
- While the pie crust is cooling, line a cooling rack with a few layers of paper towels. Place the tomato slices on the paper towels to dry them out. Sprinkle with a few pinches of salt and pepper, and allow to drain for 10 minutes.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together sour cream, egg, and olive oil until well combined. Whisk in thyme and chives. Stir into cottage cheese until the mixture is a nice uniform blend.
- Layer half of the tomatoes into the bottom of the pre-baked pie crust and sprinkle with along a good pinch of salt and another turn of the pepper grinder. Spread half of the filling onto the tomatoes. Arrange the rest of the tomato slices on top of the filling, again sprinkling with a pinch of salt and another turn of the pepper grinder. Layer in the rest of the filling and smooth so that it’s even. Sprinkle the top with a generous layer of panko bread crumbs.
- Bake until the bread crumbs are nicely browned, about 30-35 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- You don’t need to peel the tomatoes before putting them in the pie.
- You can make the crust a few days ahead of time, if you like, but don’t bake it until you’re ready to make the pie. Keep the raw crust in the freezer until you’re ready to use it.
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