tomato pie {a CNY must}

One of the finest foods on the planet…the one (of maybe two) items my Dad brings to me every time he visits Buffalo.  A fabulous food item that fits into any meal.  A Central New York staple, favorite, mainstay, icon…



My mother actually stumbled on a recipe for Tomato Pie from Lick My Spoon and has tried it several times, singing its praises.  So, on my latest trip to CNY, I coaxed her into making a batch with me.  NOT DISAPPOINTED!!!!  Whereas it isn’t the same exact tomato pie I would get from any of the lovely Utica bakeries, it is pretty darn close and blows any faux-tomato pie I would get in WNY out of the water (sorry, Wegmans).  I am in love.  And I will be making it again.  Even Mr. Circus Berry was impressed.  And Ronan…forget it.


So here it is:


Tomato Pie
makes 1 13×18 inch pie (or sauce for 2 pies, dough for 1 pie)
Adapted from Lick My Spoon

2 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 cup water, heated to 110 degrees
2 tablespoons sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
more extra-virgin olive oil for greasing pan

2 1/2 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes (about 6)
4 cloves garlic, peeled
29 oz tomato puree (3 cups)
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

grated parmesan

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Slice the tomatoes in half, or quarters if they’re large and place on large baking sheet with the peeled garlic.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil, and roast in hot oven for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare your dough in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook.  Combine the yeast with the warm water and sugar.  Stir to dissolve and let stand 5 minutes until it looks foamy.  In a separate small dish, dissolve the salt in 2 tablespoons water.  Turn the mixer on low and slowly add the flour to the bowl.  Add the dissolved salt to the mixture.  Pour in 1/4 cup olive oil.  When the dough starts to come together, increase the speed to medium, stopping the machine periodically to remove dough from the hook.  Continue mixing until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding more flour if necessary.

Form the dough into a round and place in an oiled bowl, coating the entire ball with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

Combine the rest of the sauce ingredients in a large saucepan and let simmer until thickened. Add roasted tomatoes and garlic when they’re done and puree with an immersion blender until there are no large chunks. Continue to simmer until most of the water has evaporated and the sauce is thick. Set aside for the tomato pie.

One hour before baking your pie, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position, place a baking stone on the rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, allowing the edges to hang over, and coat with a generous drizzle of olive oil.  Place the dough on the baking sheet and spread the dough around, coating the bottom and sides of the dough with oil.  Flip dough over and slide it around again to coat.  Press dough into the pan, spreading carefully to the edges and taking care not to tear it.  Use a fork to poke entire surface of dough 25-30 times, popping any large bubbles. Cover pan with plastic and let dough rest for 30 minutes until slightly bubbly.  Remove the plastic and place the pan on preheated baking stone and lower oven temperature to 425 degrees.  Bake for 14 to 16 minutes until the top is lightly golden. Remove from the oven, top with as much tomato sauce as you would like, rotate pan, and bake for another 10 minutes. Transfer the pan to wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes.  Remove the tomato pie from the pan by lifting by the parchment paper and return to the rack to finish cooling.  Top with grated parmesan.  (This pie is good warm, but I always eat it at room temperature.)

*I used about half of the sauce for one dough, but you can use more or less sauce.  Refrigerate or freeze remaining sauce for a second pie.

**We store our tomato pie covered, on the counter.  It usually doesn’t last more than one or two days, it is that good.


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