Pie with cherry tomatoes on wooden table
What Is Tomato Pie And How Is It Different From Pizza?
By Margaret McCormick
Tomato pie is a cousin of pizza with a focaccia-like crust, a thick topping of slightly sweet tomato sauce, and little to no cheese. The dish has its own distinct, saucy personality, and it has legions of passionate, adoring fans, particularly in the Northeast United States.
The late 19th century and early 20th century brought millions of Italian immigrants to the United States, and these workers used any extra bread from the bakeries they worked at to create rustic tomato pies. "It's not pizza dough,” Insider's Taryn Varricchio noted, instead saying tomato pie dough is "very airy and kind of light.”
Tomato pie has distinct regional variations, as the Trenton, New Jersey, pie is thin, crisp, round, and best described as a "regional pizza style” (per Eater). Meanwhile, the tomato pie of Central New York, specifically the Utica-Rome area, is noted for its thick, red sauce top, sprinkling of grated cheese, and spongy, bread-like bottom.
In the Southern United States, tomato pie is another thing entirely and may have started as a dessert pie, made with a filling of chopped, unripe tomatoes tossed with sugar, cinnamon, and other spices. Today, this quintessential dish is made during the summer months with ripe heirloom tomatoes and other ingredients like onions, garlic, bacon, cheese, and mayonnaise.