They called out for chocolate pie or yet another strawberry pie but I chose the cherries. I may be getting a bit ahead of myself as the cherries were a bit firm and not quite up to their usual sweetness but I couldn’t resist their nearly black exterior and the sign that praised their local roots. Also, I happen to agree with Nigel Slater who says, “A bag of cherries is a bag of happiness.”

Then for some reason the little tomatoes with tight skin and a red reminiscent of a fire engine called to me as well and I thought, “what’s better than a fresh home baked pie? TWO fresh, home baked pies.”

I told the kids there would be a pie picnic and I quickly set to work.

There is something strange and wonderful that happens when I make pie. It’s as if I’ve pressed the mute button to life as I begin to slice through cold butter. The kids play around me but I don’t really hear them. The house remains a mess but I’m focused on the pie and carefully mixing the ingredients to form a dough that is both tender and flaky. One that would make my grandma and my mother proud. Both ladies who have made and continue to make some of the best pie around.

I tackled the pile of cherries only briefly quibbling with myself as to why I didn’t just get strawberries – a pit-less fruit. But the spatters of blood-red juice that paints my kitchen were soon forgiven with one bite of their sweet and spiced juice baked in a buttery shell.

We made a meal of pie and I felt no guilt. There was sun, green grass and birds singing a melody hoping to woo us to give them a bite (they gave up the wooing and stole a piece when we weren’t looking). We were left with enough leftovers to ensure us of a promise of pie for breakfast – my favorite way to eat it.




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Roasted Tomatoes with Sharp Cheddar Crust // Cherry Pie

Roasted Tomatoes in a Sharp Cheddar Crust

Sharp Cheddar Crust

4 ounces melted butter
1 cup flour
1 cup finely shredded sharp cheddar (I used a microplane)
½  teaspoon salt

Add melted butter and flour in a bowl, stir in cheese and salt. Make sure everything is combined well and there are no clumps of cheddar.

Press the dough thinly and evenly in a 9” tart pan.

1 small shallot thinly sliced
10 ounces (roughly 2 cups) cherry tomatoes, halved
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 tsp fresh thyme
salt and pepper

Toss these ingredients together in a bowl then pile on top of the tart pan.

Bake in a 350*F oven for 1 hour or until the edge of the crust is deep golden.

Let cool for at least 20 minutes on a wire rack before removing tart rim. Serve room temperature with greens.
The tart is beautifully tender so take care when removing from the pan.

Pie Dough

2 ⅓ cup (10 oz) all-purpose flour
1 t. salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 sticks (8 oz) cold butter, cut in ½” cubes
2 tablespoon canola oil
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons cold water

In the bowl of a stand mixer add dry ingredients. Mix on low to combine. Add butter using to hands to evenly distribute. While mixing on low slowly add the oil, cream and cold water. When crumbly and dough holds together when squeezed it’s ready. I like to finish off the mixing by hand to insure that the butter is evenly mixed and some remains in rough pea-size crumbles.

Divide in two discs and wrap well.

Chill for one hour.

Cherry Filling 

2 pounds cherries (I used Bing cherries. If you are lucky enough to have sour cherries you can use those and simply omit the lemon juice)
3/4 cup brown sugar
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ t black pepper
¼ t salt
3 Tablespoon cornstarch
zest and juice from 1 lemon

1 Tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoons sugar

Mix everything in a large bowl then set aside while rolling the crust.

Roll out one of the discs of dough and place in a pie pan (I prefer glass pie pans as you can see the color of the bottom crust while baking and it seems to bake more evenly).

Use flour if the dough is sticking at all. Roll to about ⅛” inch thick. Place the pan with the bottom crust in the freezer while rolling out the second disc.

Roll out the other disc to ⅛” inch thickness. If you are doing a lattice top cut the dough in ½” strips.
Remove the pan from the freezer and fill with the cherries. Top the pie with the top crust, alternating the ½” strips.

Brush the top with a lightly beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar. Dot the pie with a few little bits of butter before putting in a 370*F oven for at least one hour or until the crust is deep golden and the juices are bubbling thickly.

*My friend Stephanie makes those lovely little pie boxes you see in the photos. They are perfect for sharing a piece of pie and for taking home leftovers from a pie picnic.

*Today the internet is having a bit of a pie party. Check out all these beautiful pies.

55 Responses to “Two pies are better than one”

  1. christine [the sugar apothecary]

    What a pair of pies! Those cherries and tomatoes are gorgeous, so glad you decided to put them in pies 🙂 Those pie boxes are absolutely adorable! Thanks for sharing. Hope your picnic was awesome!

  2. la Domestique

    I never had cherries growing up, but have passionately adopted them as my favorite summer fruit since moving to Colorado a few years ago. Both pies look amazing, and I love the combination of tomatoes and cheddar crust. Beautiful post!

  3. lora

    Apple pie in a sharp cheddar crust is my ultimate favorite, I’m stealing your recipe!

  4. Deanna

    I need my cherry tomatoes to ripen asap. I need that tomato pie. I bet the crust would be equally good with parmesan. Or keep the cheddar and add some fresh corn. Oooh…the savory pie possibilities.

  5. Trish

    Pie for breakfast? you are singing my song, lady. Beautiful. I love those pie holder thingamys too!

  6. IdaBaker

    When I was a kid, we had a local farm where we could buy pitted sour cherries. The season didn’t last very long, so we would get them in 5 pound buckets and freeze them.

    Your pie brought back memories of cherry pies, even in the winter time.


  7. Kelly

    What is your secret to keeping up with posting amongst a busy life??… I started a blog at the beginning of this year that I was super passionate about,… however now that I’ve added going back to college into my life… I can’t seem to prioritize my time enough to have any left for a heart felt post every week. The last thing I want to do is write a post if it’s something I’m just rushing through every week and not giving my all. Just wondering if you had any advice or helpful tips?…

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      Kelly – It is really quite tough. I wish I could post so much more. It is a matter of choosing your priorities. Right now I’m working on a post when there are dishes to be done, laundry to be folded and about a kazillion other tasks waiting to be checked off my to-do list. But sharing life and recipes here is also life-giving to me. It has sustained my creativity through some difficult seasons. I love to be here. I long to create in this space. Because of this passion I make the time to be here. It is difficult to make the time but if driven by passion and a deep love then it’s amazing what you will do and give up in order to do it.

  8. Eileen

    PIE PICNIC! What an amazing idea. Now I definitely know what I want to do this weekend.

  9. Stephanie

    The tomato pie made the perfect breakfast this morning (my favorite time to eat it too…). Stellar recipe Ashley. It’s delicious!

  10. Brenda

    I knew I should have bought cherries at the market yesterday. This is inspiration.

  11. Deb

    Just marvelous! Two pieces of pie are always better than just one! A splendid post to welcome summer.

  12. Kasey

    There should never be guilt when there is pie. Also, I’m with you and Nigel – can’t get enough of this season’s cherries…savoring every last one.

  13. Laura Dembowski

    I love cherry pie, whether made with sweet or sour cherries. I have never seen canola oil used in pie crust before. Is there a reason you use it?

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      Laura – My grandma’s crust actually uses all oil. The results are amazing and the most tender crumb you’ll ever enjoy. The oil coats the flour in fat inhibiting gluten formation and creating a shattering, tender bite. I still love the flavor of butter so I put quite a bit of that in there too.

  14. Kelsey

    oh, the tomato tart. that’s happening, no question. stunning, ashley. always in awe.

  15. The Boo

    Wow! I write the food blog A Mouse Bouche with my sister and I just discovered this blog thru thekitchn. I cannot WAIT to try the tomato pie. Gorgeous!!

  16. The Hsinru Social

    Your photos are gorgeous. It feels so airy and crisp. If you wouldn’t mind lending some advice… for the images that are side by side, how are you scaling them to get it to fit side by side so cleanly?

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      Hsinru – I have a template that I use in Lightroom. My husband set it up for me and now it’s just a simple part of the editing process.

  17. sarah

    Those cherry photos are just stunning. I can’t take my eyes away, really. I haven’t made a pie yet this summer, but these beauties have inspired me to get on it.

  18. Allison

    The tomato pie is brilliant. A friend gave me a HUGE bag of cherry tomatoes. I made it last night and had the last leftover piece for lunch today. Lucky for me, I have enough tomatoes to make another one tomorrow.

  19. l o v e l y t h i n g s

    Your pies look like still life paintings…they have that magical fell and look to them…and then reading your words as you describe getting lost in the moment of making a pie…poetry!

  20. Vicky

    I was so intrigued by the simplicity of your tomato tart that I tried it tonight… no lie, I only had rye flour and pepperjack, but it was delicious and did not require a lot of work like other doughs!

  21. Bec

    I finally got my hands on some ‘real’ tomatoes – homegrown, juicy, red and bursting with flavour. I’m in Australia, so I’ve been waiting for awhile for tomato season so that I could make this pie. It was worth the wait. Delicious. With some shrubbery on the side, this was a perfect Sunday night pie.

  22. Sunny

    I’m curious – does the tomato pie crust not get soggy without pre-cooking? Do you have any tips to avoid this?

  23. Deb

    Can the tomato tart be made ahead of time? If so, best way to store it?

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      It’s really best eaten the day it’s made. All the components can be made ahead of time and then assembled. But if you must make it all ahead I’d refrigerate then reheat.