Tomato Pie: Ode to CorropoleseWednesday, December 3, 2008
“Tomato pies are the strippers of the food world: They’re usually ordered for special occasions, and everyone tends to get a little too excited around them. But you’ve got good reason to freak if you ordered from Corropolese Bakery & Deli.” – Philadelphia City Paper
Well said…although I’ve never ordered a stripper for game day. Then again, maybe I just need to live a little.
Tomato pies are indeed utterly delicious, and as I’ve learned, are hard to come by outside of the south Jersey/Philly area. Keep in mind, this is not to be confused with the southern, Paula Deen-style tomato pie that is made with mayonnaise and contained in a pie shell. No, no, this tomato pie is more like a sweet simple pizza, minus the gooey cheese. Before you stop reading right there, let me assure you, you don’t even miss the cheese! (I know! I never thought I’d utter those words.)
I came across my first tomato pie in Norristown, PA, courtesy of Corropolese. And oh yes, I freaked when I had my first taste of that crispy, thick, Sicilian-style crust, covered in sweet, tangy tomato sauce. Nothing else, save a sprinkling of grated parmesan. There is something completely addictive and magical about that sauce. Which is why you need to buy tomato pie by the sheet (as in one sheet tray), because you will surely inhale multiple slices and still want more for breakfast the next day.
Ever since my first taste, I consistently crave this, so I decided to take matters into my own hands and learn how to make my own. While there is really no replacement or substitution for Corropolese, when I find myself far from Norristown this will now satisfy my craving.
I plan on making this crowd pleaser for Sunday’s big game. No promises on a stripper.
Tomato Pie (Ode to Corropolese)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare roasted tomatoes: slice the tomatoes in half, sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil, and roast in oven for 30 minutes.
While they cook, combine other ingredients and let it simmer until thickened. Add in roasted tomatoes when done and mix until there are no large chunks.
1 1/2 cups warm water (110Â°F to 115Â°F)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 envelope active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups bread flour (I like King Arthur Bread flour, it has 12.7% protein)
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
Cornmeal (for dusting)
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
Mix warm water and sugar in a large bowl. Sprinkle yeast over it and stir to dissolve. Let stand until mixture bubbles, about 10 minutes.
Add oil, salt, and about 75 percent of the flour. Combine with the yeast mixture. Let sit for 20 minutes.
Mix in the rest of the flour. Transfer dough to floured surface and knead until smooth, about 10 minutes.
Transfer to a large bowl brushed with oil, turning the dough to coat it with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.
Punch the dough down, and reshape into a ball. Place it back into the bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 4-12 hours.
Roll out the dough. Sprinkle a rimmed baking sheet with cornmeal, and lay dough on top. Spread tomato sauce on top (it should be really thick layer of sauce).
Bake at 450 degrees for 30-35 minutes, until crust is golden and center is cooked through.
*****MAKE TOMATO PIE 2.0!*****