Pie in the (Summer) Sky

Bring on Summer … and the Sweet and Savory Summer Pies!

The Cottage 0122 June 2022 Issue
By Leslie Rohland
Photography by Lucy Rosen

Sure, everyone thinks of pies when it comes to serving up all-time favorites like warmed apple, creamy pumpkin and classic pecan at Thanksgiving and Christmas, but if you think pies are just for the holidays, think again. Not only do the summer months offer a tremendous variety of fresh flavorful fruits and vegetables that make the perfect pie filling, but a homemade pie can also be a delicious addition to backyard barbecues and picture-perfect picnics.

The best part: Not only do summer pies look (and taste) spectacular, but “the pies of summer” are all fairly easy to make, too. Whether sweet or savory, a unique entrée or a special-occasion dessert, pies are the perfect menu choice for the more relaxed, easygoing days of summer. Another perk of pies? You will spend less time in the kitchen and more time outdoors soaking up the summer sun!

Though they are indeed similar, pies and tarts (quiches, too) have some distinct differences. For instance, a tart never has a top crust, and the sides of a tart’s crust are typically more crumbly and straight, rather than the slightly sloped crust of a pie. However, the key to every sensational summer pie is all about the filling, bursting with fresh, ripe, perfectly-in-season fruits and vegetables.

In thinking of my favorite pies to make, serve (and enjoy) during the summer months, I turned to some of the fresh ingredients that signal summer to me: juicy, fresh Heirloom tomatoes, sweet onions and fresh sweet corn—all solid summer staples in the South. Of course, no summer event is complete without the sweetness of the official signature pie of summer: Cherry pie! Just visualize the perfect combination of a soft, flaky crust with the sweet taste of the freshest, ripest, just-picked cherries (cherries are at peak season here in South Carolina during June and July.)

So bring on the longer days and fun-filled nights of summer … and break out your pie pan! Celebrate the summer’s bounty with these easy-as-pie recipes, and make every day “Pie Day” all summer long.

Heirloom Tomato Pie
Serves 6-8 | Pictured Above

1 Egg
3-4 large Heirloom tomatoes
1 cup Ricotta cheese
1 store-bought refrigerated Pie crust dough (like Pillsbury)
1 cup Chive cream cheese
¼ lb Basil, chopped
Salt & pepper
1/2 cup Shredded parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 450˚F. Lightly spray a cupcake pan with Pam or dab with butter. Cut the crust into fourths and line 4 holes of a cupcake pan with the pie crust, gently pressing down to form a tart shell. Remove excess dough. (Or use a standard 9” pie shell.) Pierce the dough with a fork and place in the oven for 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for a few minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg, adding ricotta cheese, chive cream cheese, 1/2 of the parmesan cheese, salt & pepper and fresh basil. Fill tarts with the cheese mixture then top with the fresh sliced tomatoes. Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper and top with remaining parmesan. Place in a 400˚F oven for about 20 minutes for small tarts. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before serving, garnish with more fresh basil.

Sweet Onion Slab Tart
Serves 6-8

1 box store-bought Puff pastry Cottage0622 2
1 1/2 cups Gruyere cheese, shredded 
2 tsps fresh Thyme, minced
2 tsps fresh Chives, minced
2 Tbsps Heavy cream
1 1/4 lbs Sweet onions, about 3-4 medium
4 Tbsps Unsalted butter, diced 2 tsps Kosher salt
Lemon zest, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Line a half-sheet pan with parchment paper. Roll the puff pastry dough onto a floured surface, slightly larger than 10 x 14 inches. Place the dough on the prepared sheet pan. (If there is crust hanging over the pan, roll in toward the bottom of the crust. You can pinch it a bit to make it stay.) Sprinkle puff pastry with the gruyere, being sure to go right to the edges. Sprinkle with the thyme and chives. Thinly slice the onions into half-moons, keeping the “moons” intact. Place the onion on the pastry, just barely overlapping and brush them lightly with cream. Dot with the butter and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 40 minutes or until the tart is golden and browned. Cover the edges with foil if the tart gets too brown during baking. Let cool slightly and cut into squares to serve. Sprinkle lemon zest all over the slab. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Fresh Sweet Corn Quiche
Serves 6-8

5 large Eggs Cottage0622 3
1 refrigerated Pie crust
1 tsp Salt
2 Tbsps Butter, melted
1/4 cup Milk
Pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 cup Sour cream
1/2 cup Cheddar cheese, grated
Pinch nutmeg
1 1/2 cups Corn kernels (if frozen, thawed)

Preheat oven to 400˚F. Place crust in a pie pan and prick bottoms and sides with a fork. Pre-bake crust for 8-10 minutes. In a medium-size bowl, whisk all the ingredients together, except for the corn and cheese. Stir in shredded cheese and corn. Pour into pie shell. Reduce oven temperature to 350˚F, and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until eggs are set.

Diner Cherry Pie

The Official Signature Pie of Summer!
Serves 6

1 Egg, beatenCottage0622 4
Vanilla ice cream
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 frozen Pie crust, deep dish 1 roll refrigerated Pie dough
2 cans Cherry pie filling 1 bag Frozen cherries (or fresh picked)
1 tsp Almond extract Brown sugar, for topping

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Place the pie filling in a bowl, add both extracts and the frozen cherries. Stir well and fill the pie crust with the filling. If a lattice pie crust is desired, roll out the pie dough, and using a small knife, slice it into long ½ inch strips. Proceed to create a lattice upper crust by laying the strips down and alternating above and below the previous strip. If a full upper crust is desired, cut the dough down in a circle about 1 inch larger than the pie shell. Top the filled pie shell with the dough circle and pinch it to the bottom crust, then wedge it with your fingers. Be sure to slit the upper crust a couple of times, for the steam to escape. Brush the top crust with a beaten egg, then sprinkle brown sugar over the crust. Bake at 350˚F for 25-35 minutes, until the filling begins to bubble through the crust. Remove and let cool. Top with vanilla ice cream and cherish the deliciousness!

ChefLynne HeadshotLeslie Rohland, owner of the Cottage Cafe, Bakery and Tea Room in Old Town Bluffton, is an award-winning recipe creator who is known for her delicious and ever-changing menu at her extraordinary restaurant. She is also the owner of the popular healthy eatery The Juice Hive and the micro-roastery May River Coffee Roasters. For more information about The Cottage Cafe, visit www.thecottagebluffton.com or call 843-757-0508.

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