Thursday, December 20, 2012

50 States of MoFo: New Jersey: Trenton Tomato Pie

When pondering New Jersey, I gave serious consideration to the New Jersey Italian Hot Dog -- a deep fried hot dog served in bread made from pizza dough, and topped with onions, peppers, and deep fried potatoes.  It is most certainly a project for the future, along with its variant form in which said hot dog is served in a folded slice of pizza.

I also investigated Disco Fries, the New Jersey version of poutine, perfect for a wee hours meal after a wild night across the river at Studio 54.  However, Wonder Vegan has already tackled these in her 50 States project.  You can find her worthy veganized version, with a mix of potato, sweet potato, and turnip fries, here.

Thus, I finally settled on tomato pie, from New Jersey's capital, Trenton.  Trenton tomato pie is a thin crust pizza, on which the cheese is under the sauce.  The sauce is usually very simple, being canned Roma tomatoes broken into chunks, with little (sometimes nothing) else added.   Trenton tomato pie has even been the subject of a documentary film.

Drawing to some extent on the recipe given in the film, here is my version:

1. Make the crust.   Dissolve 2 1/4 t dry yeast and 1/4 t sugar in 3/4 c lukewarm water.   Add about 1 1/2 c bread flour and 1/2 t salt.  Knead this for about 5 minutes.  You can add a little extra flour if it is too sticky, but go easy.  Let it rest 5 minutes.  Then, knead 2-3 minutes more.  Some authorities claim that for a proper thin crust, you should not allow the dough to rise, but use it right away.  I didn't let mine rise at room temperature, but I plonked it an oiled bowl and put it in the fridge overnight.

2. Make the sauce.   Drain one 14.5 oz can of plum tomatoes (whole tomatoes packed in juice), and put the tomatoes into a bowl.  Mash with your hands until chunky.    If you are hardcore, stop right here.  Your sauce is done.   However, you can stir in a little salt, pepper, basil, garlic, and/or olive oil to taste.   I made the sauce the night before, also.

3. Make the pizza.  Heat your oven, with a pizza stone in it (if you have one), as high as it will go -- in my case 500 F.   Gently work the dough into a thin circle - as thin as you can go without it tearing.   Sprinkle with your choice of vegan cheese (I used Daiya mozzarella with a little of Miyoko Schinner's vegan parm) - not too much.    Cover with the sauce - again, don't overdo it.  Slide it into the oven, and watch carefully.  It will cook quickly -- about 5-7 minutes.   Slice and enjoy!   Pizzas which have the cheese below the sauce (like this one and Chicago-style pan pizza) seem to make the best of the qualities of most vegan cheese.

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