$4.99 CAD/796 ml. can at my local supermarket.
My very first foray into the world of high-end tomatoes. This came about after somebody who I'd asked to critique my pie told me that my sauce tasted "home made" and "epic fail", and after a recent visit to a respectable pizzeria made my realize that the problem stems from the fact that I've been using inferior tomatoes (my standard pizza is equal or superior to theirs in every respect save the sauce, which I quicky realized was made with tomatoes that are a lot better than what I use).
They come packed in a thick, almost puree-like juice. The amount of tomatoes in the can was generous. Some were damaged, presumably in transit.
In order to evaluate them, I decided to make a plain tomato pie based on a Sicilan dough of about 75% hydration, parbaked for 8 minutes at 450, topped with the tomatoes (which I ground for about 15 seconds in a food processor after having reserved all the puree-like juice), and baked for 12 more minutes, again at 450. In order to force the tomatoes to show what they can do on their own, I added nothing except 1/4 teaspoon of salt and another 1/4 teaspoon of sugar, then a drizzle of regular olive oil on the topped pie, and finally a dusting of dried oregano when it was taken out of the oven.
I am just astonished at how well the pie turned out. Had I done the same with the low-end Canadian tomatoes I typically buy (or even the mid-end Italian tomatoes I sometimes buy), the result would have been a combination of tasteless and nasty.
One thing that stood out was a strikingly fruity, almost jam-like flavour on the finished pie that I imagine wouldn't suit all tastes or all styles of pizza. Another thing was that they seemed to be very slow to cook. After 12 minutes of bare baking in the oven at 450, my ordinary tomatoes turn into something very much like sweet tomato paste. Some parts of this DOP-based pie, by contrast, actually tasted raw. I have no idea whether this is some sort of one-off artifact of my oven or an inherent property of the tomato. If the latter is the case, then it's no suprise that the Neapolitans use them for the pies they bake in 800 degree ovens. However, for the guy baking fully-loaded pies at 550, some pre-cooking of the sauce may prove necessary.
Overall, this product is about a million times better than what I ordinarily use. Epic win. I can't wait to see what it'll do in a fully-prepared pizza sauce.
I would be very interested to hear from those with experience how the Pastenes compare to the other brands, and about the typical characteristics of DOP tomatoes in general.