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|Focaccia-like dough, tomato sauce, romano cheese|
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Tomato pie is a type of pizza created in the late 19th early 20th century by Italian-American populations. Unlike typical New York-style pizza, which is closely related to Neapolitan pizza, tomato pie is derived heavily from Sicilian pizza, and as such can be found in predominantly Sicilian-American communities. Tomato pies are distinct from pizza due to the process of how they are created. One variety is built the opposite of pizza pies. Cheese and other toppings are added on first, then the tomato sauce. In Philadelphia, it is usually served at room temperature in rectangular sheets with little to no cheese.
The basic recipe for tomato pie calls for a thick, porous, focaccia-like dough covered with tomato sauce, more like a pizza than a covered pie, then sprinkled with grated romano cheese. Many bakeries and pizzerias have their own variation on this formula. It is not usually served straight from the oven, but allowed to cool and then consumed at room temperature or reheated. Like Sicilian pizza, tomato pie is baked in a large aluminium pan and served in square slices.
Tomato pie can be found throughout the Philadelphia metropolitan area, Providence, Rhode Island, and to a lesser extent in downstate New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, especially in and around Italian communities. Notable locations serving the dish are Trenton, New Jersey; Lewes, Delaware; the Norristown, Pennsylvania, area; Utica, New York, Waterbury, Connecticut, Southington, Connecticut, Bristol, Connecticut and Sun Prairie, WI.
As evidenced by period photographs of O'scugnizzo's Pizza in East Utica, New York, tomato pie was sold as early as 1914. Along with chicken riggies, and "utica greens"[clarification needed], tomato pie is regarded as an idiomatic part of Utica Italian-American cuisine.
The Trenton tomato pie may even predate the Utica variety. Joe's Tomato Pie (now defunct) was first opened in 1910. Papa's Tomato Pie, whose proprietor learned the trade at Joe's, was opened two years later in 1912.
Chefs and cooks who make tomato pies define the distinction between pizza and tomato pies in the process of making the pie. Pizza adds tomato sauce before adding cheese and other toppings while tomato pies add the tomato sauce after cheese and other toppings.
Trenton tomato pie
Trenton, New Jersey, is a town known for its tomato pies, and is home to the second oldest tomato pie restaurant in the United States. Trenton tomato pie is of the thin crust variety. In Trenton's version of tomato pie, the mozzarella is placed on the pie first followed by the sauce.
Regional variation on tomato pie
Tomato pie, as described above, is a definition understood in northern states of the USA. In southern states of the USA, Tomato Pie is the traditional name of a dish made with tomatoes, mayo, basil and cheese and baked in a pie shell.
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- "Holly Eats". Retrieved 04-12-2012.
- Joshua Lurie (23-06-2008). "De Lorenzo’s Tomato Pies: Trenton vs. Robbinsville". Retrieved 04-12-2012.
- Chester County Pie Guy (6 February 2013). "Pizza Quixote: Defining the Tomato Pie". Retrieved 30 April 2013.
- A Slice of Heaven: American Pizza Timeline
- New Jersey Monthly, 12 January 2010, "Compared to every other kind of pizza, Trenton tomato pies are put together backwards. Cheese and toppings go on first. Only then comes the tomato sauce—seasoned, crushed plum tomatoes, to be precise—spooned on with the individual pizzamaker’s signature flair."