The best way to use summer tomatoes, straight from the Southern Living Test Kitchen

If your idea of optimizing your summer tomato haul is slapping a slice between a burger and a bun, you’re doing it wrong. You should be using those red, ripe Romas, big ol’ beefsteaks and haute heirlooms in tomato pie. Baking tomatoes intensifies their flavor, so a pie is a lovely way to get to know tomatoes on a deeper level. Plus, a pie—and one with a bacon and sour-cream crust, at that—turns the fruit into an honest-to-goodness meal. (Of course, it’s also a killer appetizer … or breakfast.) The point is, this BLT-inspired bit of Southern Living Test Kitchen genius will make your day. And possibly your summer.

Tomato, Cheddar and Bacon Pie

Ingredients:

Crust

2 1/4 cups self-rising soft-wheat flour (such as White Lily)

1 cup cold butter, cut up

8 cooked bacon slices, chopped

3/4 cup sour cream

Filling

2 3/4 pounds assorted large tomatoes, divided

2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) freshly shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons fresh dill sprigs

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 green onion, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 tablespoons plain yellow cornmeal

Preparation:

1. Prepare crust: Place flour in bowl of a heavy-duty electric stand mixer; cut in cold butter with a pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles small peas. Chill 10 minutes.

2. Add bacon to flour mixture; beat at low speed just until combined. Gradually add sour cream, 1/4 cup at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.

3. Spoon mixture onto a heavily floured surface; sprinkle lightly with flour, and knead 3 or 4 times, adding more flour as needed. Roll to a 13-inch round. Gently place dough in a 9-inch fluted tart pan with 2-inch sides and a removable bottom. Press dough into pan; trim off excess dough along edges. Chill 30 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, prepare filling: Cut 2 pounds tomatoes into 1/4-inch-thick slices, and remove seeds. Place tomatoes in a single layer on paper towels; sprinkle with 1 tsp. salt. Let stand 30 minutes.

5. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Stir together cheddar cheese, next 10 ingredients, and remaining 1 tsp. salt in a large bowl until combined.

6. Pat tomato slices dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle cornmeal over bottom of crust. Lightly spread 1/2 cup cheese mixture onto crust; layer with half of tomato slices in slightly overlapping rows. Spread with 1/2 cup cheese mixture. Repeat layers, using remaining tomato slices and cheese mixture. Cut remaining 3/4 lb. tomatoes into 1/4-inch-thick slices, and arrange on top of pie.

7. Bake at 425 degrees F for 40 to 45 minutes, shielding edges with foil during last 20 minutes to prevent excessive browning. Let stand 1 to 2 hours before serving.