Philadelphia, PA - "Tomato Pie" continues to be a favorite in the Philadelphia region. So much so that it has even created a debate at a recent Philly pizza event. Is it a Pizza or Not?
Italian Tomato Pie
The tomato pie is often described as an Italian-American oven-baked baked good comprised of a thick, porous, dough coated with tomato sauce. It’s typically topped or sprinkled with cheese and either served up right from the oven or, permitted to cool down and eaten at room temperature or reheated.
Philly Tomato Pie
Tomato pie's in Philadelphia have been sold by now closed "Iannelli's Bakery" as early as 1910, and just like Sicilian pizza, the tomato pie is often oven-baked in rectangular pans then served up in square slices. It first showed up in a 1903 article published by the New-York Tribune on foods of Italian-Americans describing an earlier variation of today's tomato pie.
What's the difference between pizza and tomato pie?
The terms Tomato Pies and Pizza though sort of overlap but they are generally unique. Tomato Pie can be described as a thick crust along with tomato sauce, and in some cases topped with fresh tomatoes as well as a sprinkle of Parmesan or Ramano cheese. It generally does not come with other garnishes or toppings. Tomato Pie’s are also typically regional and is very popular in New England, Trenton, NJ, and the Philadelphia region.
Pizza, on the other hand, can have either a thick crust or thin crust. However it always has cheese on it, and yet it will also have either tomato sauce, white sauce, or olive oil together with garlic. Pizza furthermore is often served up with other garnishes or toppings such as pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, as well as assorted vegetables.
Terms for Tomato Pie
Various other terms for the tomato pie include; gravy pie, church pie in Philadelphia, as well as strip pizza, red bread, party pizza and in Rhode Island it's known as bakery pizza.
Whatever you want to call it, we can agree on this, Philly and Jersey love Tomato Pies although the debate will most likely continue!