Along the East Coast of the United States, you may discover several legendary takes on the pizza classic. The New York version is popular because it can be folded like a sandwich out of a single huge piece. All along the coast, you may discover variations on the traditional Neapolitan style of cooking and service.
It’s worth the trip south of Manhattan—about 70 miles—to get a different, equally delicious take on the pizza classic. The Trenton tomato pie’s basis is the Italian method of preparing these tangy slices, and after you try it, you’ll wish you could make it more regularly.
Trenton tomato pie is not well known outside the Garden State. If you order this at a regular pizza joint, you could receive a slice with tomato slices on it instead of the delicious sauce. For this reason, it is crucial to understand what a New Jersey style pizza is and how it is prepared.
If there is nothing around you that provides this service, you may always resort to the tried-and-true method of making it yourself.
IN WHAT WAYS DO NEW JERSEY PIZZAS (TRENTON TOMATO PIE) DIFFER?
The origin of the typical tomato slice may be traced back to Sicily. Many traditional Italian pizzas have a thick crust and are topped with oregano, Romano cheese, and a light coating of sauce. This dough more closely resembles focaccia than the typical pizza crust.
After the pie has cooled to room temperature, you may dig in. Because a baking sheet or deep-dish pan dictated the pizza’s final form, it was often sliced into strips or squares rather than triangles after it was done cooking.
Trenton tomato pie is an Americanized version of a classic Italian dish with a few subtle tweaks. It has a more traditional American thin crust than most other pizza places in the United States. This modification to the original design results in a flaky crust that doesn’t fall apart. The cheese is on top, not below the sauce, which is the reason behind this.
This method of making pizza, which originated in New Jersey, has gained popularity in cities including Utica, Providence, and Philadelphia.
SO, WHAT’S SPECIAL ABOUT TRENTON TOMATO PIE?
Trenton tomato pies are prepared differently than regular pizza. New Jersey pizza is thinner and crispier than its Italian counterpart since it is baked on a round pan.
With this type of tomato pie, the mozzarella cheese and other toppings are placed underneath the sauce instead of on top.
This method ensures that every mouthful will be bursting with the fresh flavours of basil, tomato, and oregano. As a result, the New Jersey pizza sauce becomes the dish’s focal point. Exactly what is it about Trenton tomato pie (New Jersey style pizza) that makes it so popular?
Many East Coast dishes are well over a century old, and this is one reason why the Trenton tomato pie is so popular. To deliver this incredibly flavoured approach to a slice, pizzerias and bakers adopt the same small-kitchen method that their great-grandparents did before them.
Many people all around the United States choose this New Jersey style pizza because of its many other merits.
1. IT OFFERS A CRISPY CRUST.
Sauce-centric pizzas often include a thick or sticky crust to complement the sauce’s star turn. Trenton-style tomato pies have a pleasing crunch instead of a chewy texture thanks to a layer of toppings and cheese put to the dough before the sauce.
2. THE CHEESE AND TOPPINGS STAY PUT.
The moment you take a bite off of a regular pizza, the cheese and toppings will want to escape. Because of this, it may be difficult to get the ideal balance of tastes and textures in each serving. Even with a thin crust, the tomato pie holds together better in the New Jersey manner. The sauce taste permeates every mouthful.
3. THE PIZZA DOESN’T HAVE AN EXCESS OF SAUCE.
If you add a few extra ladles of sauce to a pizza recipe, the sauce will become the main attraction. The Trenton tomato pie has more to offer than just its signature sauce. It won’t ooze all over your plate if you take a mouthful, but it also doesn’t skimp on the sauce. More than a century’s worth of taste evolution comes through in a pleasing crunch to the texture.
4. IT IS A UNIQUE TAKE ON EATING PIZZA.
When the notion of New Jersey style pizza first emerged, it became so widespread that some eateries actually ran out of packaging. As a portable snack, the slices would be wrapped in newspaper for protection. The completed packaging resembled the tricorn hats that George Washington wore, so the pizzas may be seen as a tribute to his decisive victory at Trenton.
5. YOU CAN MAKE IT WITH A CHUNKY SAUCE.
Some recipes for Trenton tomato pie call for a light sauce flavoured with herbs to ensure that every bite is delicious. Some eateries prefer a chunkier kind, which is roughly equivalent to chopped tomatoes and is used to make bites that are more juicy.
6. IT COMES IN MANY DIFFERENT FORMS.
Traditional New Jersey pizza is a circular pie with triangle cutouts. Some eateries are adopting the tray method to create a crust that is more like the Philadelphia style. Some slices may be square or rectangular, but they all have the same characteristics. A knife, not a traditional pizza cutter, will be used to slice the pie.
Popular Eateries That Serve Trenton Tomato Pie
New Jersey’s Cass Street and State Route 129 meet at a junction with a row of shuttered industries on one side of the road. On the opposite side of this road sits a big maximum security jail. At the height of its power, Chambersburg was recognised as the nation’s foremost producer of Trenton tomato pies. It had a strong, pulsating energy.
Just two of the state’s original pizza joints are still open, and both of them have stopped making the Trenton tomato pie. There are also a few up-and-comers who are trying to shake things up in this area, much as Washington did when the American colonies first sought independence. All of these restaurants are well-known destinations for snagging a delicious piece of New Jersey-style pizza.
1. ROBBINSVILLE, NJ’s PAPA’S TOMATO PIES.
It is said that Papa’s Pizza is the oldest pizza parlour in the United States that has never closed. The same family has owned and operated the business since it first began in 1912. After a fire, it was closed for roughly a week, but just once. Joe Papa’s love of pizza led him to launch his first business at age 17. His recipes always began with a coal-fired oven and the loving hands of the cook. While fresh tomatoes have replaced canned ones, the remainder of the method has remained the same.
2. ROBBINSVILLE, NJ’s DE LORENZO’S TOMATO PIES.
This Trenton institution, a fixture on Hudson Street for 66 years, has finally shut down. Just a short drive west of their former site, they are now based in Robbinsville. Alexander De Lorenzo, the business’s namesake and founder, was one of 12 children of Italian immigrants in the early 20th century. In 1936, Alexander’s parents launched a chain of tomato pie restaurants. By 1947, however, he had chosen to go it alone. In the same way that you can buy a thin-crust, New Jersey-style pizza now, you could obtain one 70 years ago.
3. MARUCA’S TOMATO PIES IN SEASIDE HEIGHTS, NJ.
When you order a Trenton tomato pie from this eatery, you can expect humongous pieces. The quality of the recipe has not changed, but this variation on the New Jersey style may be a compromise with the chain shops out there. You’ll love the gentle whirl of sauce that blends all the tastes into one, the light cheddar, and the sprinkle of mozzarella on top. Because of this, the oil on top of this pie is somewhat thicker than most others. The distinctive appearance ensures that everyone on the coast will know exactly where you landed to eat.
4. PEPE’S PIZZERIA NAPOLETANA IN NEW HAVEN, CT.
This pizzeria may have made its name with its Neapolitan pies, but its version on a Trenton tomato pie is as delicious. Different finishes may be found at every visit since the coal-fired oven isn’t always given a thorough scraping. It’s hardly the neatest of slices, but the combination of mozzarella and tomato is evocative of classic dishes. Stop by the original location on Wooster Street.
5. MARZILLI’S BAKERY IN FALL RIVER, MA.
Although purists would baulk at the concept of a square Trenton tomato pie, even a medium-thin crust can be made to have a satisfying crunch with a little more baking time. When you go inside the restaurant, you might expect to encounter Mediterranean influences, yet the end product has a very New England feel. This is the kind of establishment where you can sit down with the whole family and polish off a whole tray of food without taking any of it home with you.
6. ROMA SAUSAGE AND DELI IN UTICA, NY.
In contrast to the usual spherical restaurants, this one is square. As an added bonus, the crust is thicker than what you may get in New Jersey. You’ll know the tastes are spot-on when you taste the dynamic between the crust and sauce. Since the shop doesn’t have any tables, customers will have to drive away with their pizza or eat it while walking around the area. Sausage prepared at home makes a great topping. Get there early if you want to eat the New Jersey style pizza; they usually sell out.
7. WEST WINDSOR, NJ’S CLASSIC TOMATO PIES.
A relative newcomer to Trenton’s tomato pie scene, this pizzeria was named 2017’s finest by locals. Also in 2018, it was voted the greatest tomato pie in New Jersey by readers of USA Today, earning it the 2018 USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Award. Either eat in or take advantage of their free delivery service in the neighbourhood. What makes this place stand out is that you can order a gluten-free 12-inch pizza if that’s what you’re looking for.
Because the only two identifying elements of a Trenton tomato pie are the sauce on top and a thin crust underneath, the moniker tends to be more of a marketing trick than a groundbreaking culinary guidance.
New Jersey pizza fans who have been eating this way for decades might disagree. There is no other recipe in the United States that has both the juicy tastes and the crackling in the crust.
National delivery firms produce hundreds of pizzas every day in Trenton and the surrounding region, changing the face of the conventional slice and opening it up to a world of fast food alternatives. New pizzerias that stick to classic pizza recipes and methods may give this delicious food its former lustre.
Some northern New York-style pizzerias, known for their cheese, are now smashing tomatoes on top of their cheese to attract customers looking for tomato pie.
People from Trenton would argue with the idea that a pizza and a tomato pie are the same thing. There is no other pizza like a New Jersey slice.
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