Philadelphia Tomato Pie 12.000

Goran Kosanovic for The Washington Post

Jul 11, 2016

This is possibly Philadelphia’s answer to pizza, but with a twist, because it’s served at room temperature, making it a perfect make-ahead dish for a party. The focaccia base takes some time to make, but it yields a tight crumb that can hold the sweet roasted tomato sauce without getting soggy.

Philadelphia native Coleen Hill sees it as the ultimate example of a truly unique Philly recipe, so popular among locals that it’s best to order it several days in advance from area pizza shops.

Make Ahead: The dough needs to rest for a total of a litle more than 2 hours. You may have leftover sauce, which can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week in advance.

12 - 15

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 12-15 servings

  • For the sauce
  • 6 vine-ripened tomatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, as needed
  • One 29-ounce can no-salt-added crushed tomatoes, and their juices
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 cloves garlic, grated
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • For the focaccia
  • 5 cups (22 1/2 ounces) unbleached bread flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 cups water, at a cool room temperature (68 to 72 degrees)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • For assembly
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


For the sauce: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, then grease the foil with a light coating of nonstick cooking spray.

Cut each tomato into quarters and place them on the baking sheet. Drizzle them lightly with oil, then season well with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes or until softened.

Meanwhile, combine the crushed tomatoes and their juices, the tomato paste, garlic, sugar, vinegar, dried herbs and more salt and pepper, as needed, in a large saucepan over medium heat; cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Once the tomatoes in the oven are done roasting, add them to the saucepan, being sure to include any caramelized bits. Use an immersion (stick) blender to puree just until slightly chunky.

Reduce the heat to medium-low; cook for about 10 minutes, stirring a few times, to form a thick sauce. (Most of the liquid will have evaporated.) Transfer to a large, heatproof container; cool, then cover and refrigerate overnight. The yield is 6 cups.

For the focaccia: Combine the flour and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer (paddle attachment) and beat on low speed. Combine the water and 6 tablespoons of the oil in a large measuring cup, then gradually pour it into the flour mixture, beating just until incorporated. Add the salt and beat to incorporate.

Switch to the dough-hook attachment; increase the speed to medium and beat/knead for 5 minutes to form a dough that gathers into a ball and pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl but is still somewhat sticky.

Sprinkle more flour in a 6-inch rectangle on a clean work surface, then scrape the dough onto it, patting the dough into a rectangle that covers the floured work surface. Let rest for 5 minutes.

Stretch the rested dough from end to end into a long, thin rectangle. From one end, fold a third of the dough back toward the middle, then repeat on the other end, as if you were folding the dough like a letter. Mist the dough lightly with nonstick cooking spray, and sprinkle lightly with flour. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let the dough rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Stretch and fold the dough again, then mist with nonstick cooking spray, sprinkle with flour, cover with plastic wrap and let it rest another 30 minutes. Repeat the stretching and folding one more time, then cover and let the dough rest for 1 hour.

Line a 12-by-17-inch baking sheet with parchment paper. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over the parchment paper and use your hands or a brush to spread it over the parchment. Use a bench scraper to help as you carefully transfer the dough to center of the baking sheet, maintaining the rectangular shape as much as possible.

Use your fingertips to press in and dimple the dough all over, simultaneously pressing out air and spreading the dough to fill out all corners of the baking sheet. If the dough shrinks back, let it rest for about 15 minutes, then continue spreading. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a draft-free spot for 1 hour or until about doubled in size; it will be soft and puffy.

While the dough rises, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Uncover the dough; bake (middle rack) for 10 minutes, then rotate the baking sheet from front to back; bake for 5 to 10 minutes, until golden brown. Immediately transfer the bread to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

When ready to assemble, use an offset spatula to spread about 3 cups of the sauce (or as needed) evenly over the focaccia, leaving a 1/2-inch margin at the edges.

Sprinkle the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano evenly over the sauce. Serve at room temperature or cold; pass more sauce at the table.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from Coleen Hill, who blogs at the Redhead Baker, and based on recipes by Peter Reinhart (focaccia) and Kenji López-Alt (tomato sauce).

Tested by Kristen Hartke.

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