Fall has been trying to force its way in with cooler, crisper temperatures… but not without a good fight from the remaining days of Summer. All of New York is waiting with bated breath for the new season, with sweaters at the ready and ovens waiting to come out from their summer hiding. Of course, this cruel, cruel summer of 2010 couldn’t go out without a bang.  That “bang” came when the mascot of Summer visited us with not one, but two tornados in Brooklyn and Queens. Um, did you hear me? A tornado in New York City.

Being a true Minnesotan girl, I took one look at that dark green sky and instinctively grabbed my cats away from the window. Within seconds the entire street was being blown to shreds. It honestly felt like the twister was right outside the door and I found myself wondering what the hell a New Yorker is supposed to do under such weather conditions. Growing up, a siren would go off in our hometown, signaling us to scramble down to the basement and under the staircase. I debated crawling down to our boiler room in the basement, but decided to wait it out instead, which is apparently what everyone else in the city did as well. I guess that’s how they do things here. We hope for the best.

Thankfully, our lovely tree outside the apartment (the one that frames the terrace so beautifully and makes you almost forget that you live in an urban jungle) didn’t fall under the will of BK Twister Fest 2010.

Our neighborhood, however got slammed:

Car Bummer

A tree falls in Brooklyn (along with probably about a hundred others throughout the 'hood)

I can only hope that this was the last of Summer’s slam-down on New York City and we can now look forward to a pleasant turn of season with Fall’s arrival. The nights have cooled down a bit, which makes baking bearable once more. After a few trips to our neighborhood’s farmer’s market, I became obsessed with fresh tomatoes (I will never eat a grocery store tomato again!) and corn on the cob. Luckily, Deb over at Smitten kitchen had my back through this love affair and was two steps ahead of me with her Tomato Corn Pie recipe.

Seriously, this was curl-up-in-your-flannel-pj’s good. Welcome back, Fall!

Tomato and Corn Pie

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 3/4 tsp salt, divided

3/4 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, plus 2 teaspoons melted

3/4 cup whole milk

1/3 cup mayonnaise

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 3/4 pounds beefsteak tomatoes

1 1/2 cups corn (roughly three ears of corn) coarsely chopped by hand (my preference), divided

2 Tbsp finely chopped basil, divided

1 Tbsp finely chopped chives, divided

1/4 tsp black pepper, divided

7ounces coarsely grated sharp Cheddar (1 3/4 cups), divided

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and 3/4 tsp salt in a bowl, then blend in cold butter (3/4 stick) with your fingertips or a pastry blender until it resembles coarse meal. (I used my fingertips) Add milk, stirring until mixture just forms a dough, then gather into a ball.

Divide dough in half and roll out one piece on a well-floured counter into a 12-inch round (1/8 inch thick). You can put the other half of dough into the fridge until you need it later. Fold the round gently in quarters, lift it into a 9-inch pie plate and gently unfold and center. Pat the dough in with your fingers and trim any overhang.

Whisk together mayonnaise and lemon juice. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle.

Cut an X in bottom of each tomato and blanch in a large pot of boiling water 10 seconds. (If you’ve never done this, neither had I, but it’s super easy. I cut an “X” about an inch into the tomato’s bottom) Immediately transfer with a slotted spoon to an ice bath to cool. Peel tomatoes, then slice crosswise 1/4 inch thick and, if desired gently remove seeds and extra juices. I wold recommend letting some of the juice out of these bad boys, so your pie isn’t too soaky.)

Arrange half of tomatoes in crust, overlapping, and sprinkle with half of corn, 1 Tbsp of the basil, 1/2 Tbsp chives, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp pepper and one cup of grated cheese. Repeat layering with remaining tomatoes, corn, basil, chives, salt, and pepper. Pour lemon mayonnaise over filling and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Roll out remaining piece of dough into a 12-inch round, then fit over filling, folding overhang under edge of bottom crust and pinching edge to seal. Cut 4 steam vents in top crust and brush crust with melted butter (2 tsp).

Bake pie until crust is golden and filling is bubbling, 30 to 35 minutes, then cool on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Pie can be baked 1 day ahead and chilled. Reheat in a 350°F oven until warm, about 30 minutes.

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