Grumbling Gryphons and Tomato Pie!

It is always wonderful to discover new connections with other artists and to create new projects together. Hevreh Ensemble is planning an exciting new collaboration with the children’s theater Grumbling Gryphons. Founder and director Leslie Elias leads the West Cornwall, CT organization with amazing energy and creativity. Plans include productions featuring Jewish Folk Tales and Native American Legends.

Leslie Elias photo.jpg

This past week I traveled to the quaint village of Millbrook, NY to discuss a possible performance with Hevreh and Grumbling Gryphons at the historic Millbrook Library. Built in 1908, the library has a large lending collection and also houses a collection of historical material and memorabilia relating to Bennett College. Bennett College was founded in 1890 by May Friend Bennett as an educational institution for women, and was in operation until 1978.


The new head librarian Tom Finnegan showed me around the library and we talked about where a performance could be presented. The main room of the library features tall wood ceilings and I imagined how beautiful our Native American Flutes would sound in this space. While there, I also had the opportunity to attend an information session that was being held at the library about the New York State Council on the Arts Mid-Hudson Art Grants program. The session was very informative and it was an excellent way to get tips on grant writing and to find out about the many funding opportunities that exist for artists and performing arts groups.


As summer starts to wind down and the days are becoming noticeably shorter, I take solace from the late summer bounty found at local Farm Stands and Farm Markets.

On the way home from Millbrook, I stopped by one of my favorite farm stands, Paley’s Market. Located just outside of Sharon, CT, this friendly store features Paley’s own amazing tomatoes- heirloom, roma and cherry. I often tend to over buy as I imagine the many things I want to make! They also often have a bountiful selection of fresh local berries and some of the sweetest peaches I have ever tasted from Love Apple Farm in Ghent, NY.


I returned home with an armload of tomatoes and decided to make a Tomato Pie. I have always enjoyed the late food writer Laurie Colwin’s Tomato Pie that was a favorite at Chaiwalla Tea in Salisbury, CT, but was drawn to an Indian/Southern version that was recently featured in the August Food & Wine magazine. I tinkered with the recipe a bit and here it is- we enjoyed it with a simple green salad with lettuce (of course) from Paley’s! I think a glass of chilled Rose would also be wonderful!


Roasted Curry Tomato Pie


( this basic crust is one I have used for many years from Julia Child’s The Art of French Cooking- this recipe calls for the addition of turmeric & black pepper)

2 cups flour unbleached white flour (I used 1 cup whole grain spelt flour and 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon powdered turmeric

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 stick cold butter

3 Tablespoons shortening ( I use Spectrum Organic all Vegetable Shortening)

3-4 Tablespoons ice water

I use a Food Processor to make the crust, but this can also easily be done by hand.

1. In bowl of Food Processor, place both flours, salt, turmeric and black pepper.

2. Cut butter into cubes and place with shortening into bowl of the food processor

3. Mix until butter and shortening blend with the flour ( should look like small peas)

4. Add 3 Tablespoons ice water and process- the mixture should come together into a big ball. If this does not happen, add up to a tablespoon more water.

5. Shape dough into a flat disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. The dough can be made the night before.

6. When you are ready to make the pie, bring the dough back to room temperature. It will be much easier to handle.


2 Tablespoons olive oil

½ large red onion thinly sliced

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper

1. Heat olive oil and add onions.

2. Saute until onions are lightly caramelized. This may take about 10-15 minutes


2 or 3 ripe medium tomatoes and . 6-8 cherry tomatoes ( I used yellow for a nice contrast)

1 tsp. curry powder

1 tsp. salt

4 oz. sharp white cheddar cheese shredded ( about 1/2 cup)

1/2 medium onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup mayonnaise ( I used Vegenaise with Grape seed oil)

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 large egg, lightly beaten

preheat oven to 400

1,slice tomatoes and place on a double layer of paper towel- sprinkle with 1 tsp. salt and the curry powder. let sit for 10 minutes.

2. .stir together cheese, onion,mayo and red pepper flakes in a bowl.

3. roll out dough and fit into a large tart pan or you could roll out dough and place on a large baking sheet.

4. spread cheese mixture on dough, leaving a 2 1/2 in border around edge.

5. layer sliced tomatoes on top of cheese mixture and fill in spaces with cherry tomatoes.

6. top with caramelized onions

7. fold in sides of crust

8. drizzle with olive oil

9. brush exposed crust with egg wash

Bake in preheated until filling is bubbling and crust is golden brown, about 25- 30 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

This refrigerates well and tasted even better the next day!



Written by Judith Dansker

Judith Dansker