Deep-Dish Chicago Style Pizza Pie

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ppp 10/09/2018

Here’s how to make authentic-tasting Chicago deep dish pizza. Complete with the buttery crust, slightly sweet tomato sauce, and a thick layer of cheese.

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Ingredients:

Pizza Crust (makes 2):

  • For the pizza dough:
  • 450g strong white bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon caster sugar
  • 2 x 7g sachets fast action dried yeast
  • 300ml warm water
  • 2 Tablespoons good olive oil

Tomato Sauce for Both Pizzas:

  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, grated (about 1/3 cup)1
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional, but recommended)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • one 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes1
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar

Toppings for Both Pizzas:

  • 4 cups coarsely grated smoked Scamorza cheese (or mozzarella if you can’t find it)
  • 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • optional and what I use:handful of pepperoni or chorizo per pizza,
  • additional optional toppings, add enough to suit your tastes:cooked and crumbled ham, thinly sliced green peppers and/or onions, sliced mushrooms

Directions:

  1. You will need two deep dish 9×2 inch round cake pans if you are making both pizzas at the same time. You can also use 9 inch spring-form pans.
  2. For the crust: Place salt, garlic powder, dried thyme and flour into a large bowl. Add the sugar and yeast but do not let the yeast directly contact the salt.
  3. Pour in the water and olive oil. Mix together with your fingers.
  4. Work the dough into a soft warm ball then slap it onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until soft and elastic.
  5. Place the dough in a lightly oiled, large bowl and lightly oil the dough itself so a crust does not form. Cover the bowl with foil and leave in a warm place for about an hour until the dough has doubled in size.
  6. For the sauce: Place butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat and allow it to melt. Once melted, add the grated onion, salt, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Once the onion has slightly browned after about 5 minutes, add the garlic, tomatoes, and sugar. Turn the heat down to low-medium and allow it to simmer until it’s hearty, fragrant and thick- about 30 minutes. You’ll have about 2 and 1/2 cups of sauce at this point. If you have more than that, keep simmering until the amount has reduced. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to be used. You may store the sauce in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days if planning to make the pizza another day. You may freeze this sauce for up to 2 months as well.
  7. Preheat oven to 200C degrees.
  8. Assemble the pizzas: After the dough has risen, divide it into two halves. Keep one ball of dough in the refrigerator as you work with the first one. Roll it out on a lightly floured work surface, working it into a 12-inch circle. Using your rolling pin as a guide, place over a 9×2 inch deep dish cake pan. Using your fingers, press the dough into the cake pan. Make sure it is nice and tight fitting inside the pan. Trim any excess dough off the edges with a small knife. Repeat with 2nd dough. Brush the top edges of the dough with a little olive oil, which gives the crust a beautiful sheen. Fill each pizza with 1/2 of the cheese (about 2 cups per pizza), then your toppings which I’ve listed as optional in the recipe ingredients. On top of those optional toppings is the sauce. Pour about 1 and 1/4 cups of sauce on top of each. Sprinkle each with 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese.
  9. Place the cake pans on top of a large baking sheet, which will catch anything potentially spilling over the sides of the pans. Bake for 20-28 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Feel free to loosely cover the pizzas with foil after the 15 minute mark to prevent any heavy browning and uneven baking. Remove the pizzas from the oven and allow to cool in the pans placed on a wire rack for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, slice, serve, and enjoy.
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Stromboli

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strom 16/11/2017

Italian Stromboli loaf loaded with artichokes, olives, sausage, gooey mozzarella and rich tomato sauce. I seem to be making a lot of stuff under the guise of baked bread stuffed with cheese recently but it’s not something I plan to change any time soon. This is a really satisfying, comfort food. It takes a while to put together but is surprisingly simple and totally worth the effort. You can put whatever you want in the middle. Jalapeño and chorizo is another winning combo. My little brother even likes ham and pineapple in his.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 quantity pizza dough (see my recipe for pizza dough on ‘pizza’ post)
  • 1 jar pizza topping sauce
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • 3/4 cup artichoke heart pieces, drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped green olives
  • 1/2 pound cooked Italian sausage, crumbled
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • Cracked black pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Roll out the pizza dough on a piece of parchment paper, into an 11 X 15 inch rectangle.
  2. Spread 1/2 cup pizza sauce over the dough, leaving a 2 inch border around all sides.
  3. Top the tomato sauce with fresh basil leaves. Layer the sausage, olives, artichokes and cheese over the basil leaves.
  4. Then lifting the parchment paper, gently roll one short end toward the other short end, creating a log with the seam facing down.
  5. Brush the loaf with melted butter then sprinkle with pepper. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. Allow the Stromboli to rest 10 minutes before slicing. Serve the remaining pizza sauce in a bowl to dip the Stromboli slices into.

Fatayer

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fatayer 15/11/2017

Fatayer is a pizza-like dough stuffed with a herby cheese filling in this case. They are found throughout North Africa and the Balkans in differing variations and are traditionally served during breakfast or as a snack with a hot drink.

The combination of the salty cheese, fresh parsley, fresh mint, and nigella seeds makes these fatayer irresistible. I used feta cheese since it is more readily available but if you wish to make the fatayer more authentic, use akkawi cheese.

I have also tried a combination of ricotta and mozzarella cheese, using half of each, which was equally tasty but more subtle and creamy. Experiment with different cheeses and see what you like best. I prefer the tart tanginess of feta.

Tip: Shape the fatayer as soon as the dough finishes resting. To keep the fatayer from puffing up too much and losing their shape, it is important to bake them right away. I made the cheese fatayer into boat-like shapes, which is the way they are traditionally made, but you can use any shape you prefer, including making them into mini pizzas.

Makes 6-8

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 450g strong white bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon nigella seeds
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon caster sugar
  • 2 x 7g sachets fast action dried yeast
  • 300ml warm water
  • 2 Tablespoons good olive oil

Filling:

  • 200g crumbled/grated cheese of choice (I used 100g feta, 50g parmesan, 50g boursin)
  • ½ bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ bunch of mint, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced
  • Freshly grated black pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 large egg

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Method:

  1. For the dough: Place salt, caraway, nigella seeds and flour into a large bowl. Add the sugar and yeast but do not let the yeast directly contact the salt.
  2. Pour in the water and olive oil. Mix together with your fingers.
  3. Work the dough into a soft warm ball then slap it onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until soft and elastic.
  4. Place the dough in a lightly oiled, large bowl and lightly oil the dough itself so a crust does not form. Cover the bowl with a plastic bag and leave in a warm place for about an hour until the dough has doubled in size.
  5. For the filling and constructing: Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well until combined.
  6. Divide the dough into 6-8 equal pieces.
  7. Roll out into an oval shape.
  8. Put 1½ teaspoons of the filling in the middle and spread.
  9. Lift one edge and press the ends. Do the same with other edge making a boat-like shape.
  10. Place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and bake in a preheated oven at 200C for 15-20 minutes. Serve warm.

Khachapuri

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kachapori 14/05/2017

The recipe is very loosely adapted from traditional Georgian versions but makes use of what I had in at the time. First, for a lack of Georgian cheese supplies, I used a more generic assortment of cheeses including parmesan and mozzarella, which yielded a satisfactory gooey-ness and savoury flavour.  Instead of mixing them with egg before baking, as is traditional, I used a thick bechamel sauce because I thought it would be a nice change and provide a creamier filling. You can substitute the sauce for egg if you like or even crack one on top when baking! The added tapenade really gave the bread another depth of savouriness and flavour. Rip off the crust and dunk it into the gooey centre for ultimate yum!

Makes 4 large breads.

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 450g strong white bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon caster sugar
  • 2 x 7g sachets fast action dried yeast
  • 300ml warm water
  • 2 Tablespoons good olive oil

Filling:

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • ¾ cup milk, cold
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg, plus more to top
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 320g of equal parts of grated mozzarella and parmesan cheese
  • 4-6 tbsp black olive tapenade (recipe in instructions)

 

Method:

  1. For the dough: Place salt and flour into a large bowl. Add the sugar and yeast but do not let the yeast directly contact the salt.
  2. Pour in the water and olive oil. Mix together with your fingers.
  3. Work the dough into a soft warm ball then slap it onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until soft and elastic.
  4. Place the dough in a lightly oiled, large bowl and lightly oil the dough itself so a crust does not form. Cover the bowl with a plastic bag and leave in a warm place for about an hour until the dough has doubled in size.
  5. For the filling: While the dough is proofing, cook/stir butter and flour in a pan over medium heat for 1 min. Add the cold milk and whisk the mixture continuously until it starts to simmer and thicken. The consistency should be like mayonnaise. Add the grated nutmeg then season with a bit of salt and black pepper. Let the sauce COOL COMPLETELY then evenly mix in the grated cheese (the cheese should not melt). Set aside.
  6. If you’re making your own tapenade: In a food-processor, combine 155g pitted black olives, 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 3 cloves of garlic, 3 anchovy fillets, 3/4 tsp white wine vinegar and 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper. Puree the mixture as smoothly as you can. Set aside.
  7. To bake the bread:Preheat the oven on 250C, with a pizza-stone or large inverted cast-iron pan in the middle.
  8. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a large oval with pointy tips then transfer to a piece of parchment paper. Rub 1-2 tbsp of tapenade over the dough, then pile ¼ of the cheese-mixture across the middle. Fold the dough over to partially cover the cheese, then bring the 2 ends together and tuck the tips underneath itself, then pinch at the bottom so it sticks. Repeat with the others.
  9. Slide the parchment with the bread on top, onto the pizza-stone or inverted cast-iron pan. Bake for 10 min until golden browned on all sides.

Tortilla Pizzas

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p 08/02/2017

So ridiculously easy, tasty and healthy. I think I even prefer these to actual pizzas. Put what you like on top. A particular favourite of mine is spinach and feta.

Makes 2 ‘pizzas’

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tortillas
  • 2 Tbsps Tomato puree
  • 100g spinach
  • 50g feta
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, salt and pepper

Method:

  1. To make the spinach and feta mix, wilt the spinach in a pan of shallow water for 2 minutes. Squeeze the excess moisture out of the leaves and roughly chop the spinach.
  2. Crumble the feta into a bowl. Add the spinach and the seasoning and stir well to combine. Set aside.
  3. For the tortillas, place in a frying pan over a medium heat to crisp the bottom of the tortilla then spread 1 Tbsp of tomato puree over each tortilla. Half the spinach mix between the tortillas. Spread out evenly.
  4. Place the tortillas on a baking tray and bake for 3-4 minutes in an oven pre-heated to 180C.
  5. Remove from the oven and slice and enjoy!

Sourdough Pizza

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Screenshot_2016-07-07-20-27-25-1[1] 07/07/2016

I have left the instructions for toppings very vague as you can really go to town and add whatever you like. One of my favourite pizzas is with plain tomato sauce, mozzarella and fresh basil. So simple but so tasty. The pizza pictured was created as I didn’t have those things at the time and resorted to defrosting the leftovers from a spicy meatball meal with some jalapenos, chorizo slices and cheddar cheese thrown into the mix. Again, a fantastic combo but the star of the show is really the pizza base. Sourdough starter gives the dough a light, fluffy inside and crusty outside with a flavourful tang and great chew. Perfect for dunking into a healthy portion of garlic mayo too!

Makes 3-4 pizzas

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 300ml lukewarm water
  • 120-200g starter dough, depending on how liquid yours is (see my sourdough starter page for the recipe)
  • 10g salt

METHOD:

DAY BEFORE BAKING:

  1. Prepare the dough one day ahead. In a large mixing bowl mix the flour, water and the olive oil. Cover with a cloth and set aside for 30 minutes. Add the active sourdough starter and sea salt. Start to knead with your hands. Knead 15 minutes.
  2. Let the dough proof in a bowl, covered with a cloth for 5 hours at a room temperature (18 – 25°C).
  3. Divide the dough onto four parts, each weighting around 250g. Shape in a small round shape. Put the dough on a tray, cover with cloth and reserve in the refrigerator. The dough is now ready for baking. It can rest in the fridge for up to 72 hours.

DAY OF BAKING:

  1. Preheat the oven to the highest temperature. Twenty minutes before baking lightly dust a work surface with flour and stretch the dough in a pizza shape.

TIP:

Use a baking stone for baking pizza, if you have it. The stone also needs to preheat. Line the baking stone with parchment paper, bake the pizza directly on parchment paper.

  1. Add your favourite topping and bake for 8-12 minutes on a baking tray/pizza stone, lined with parchment paper, on the highest temperature.

Spicy Sausage Calzones

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IMG_20160414_224340[1] 15/04/2016

Make a batch of clever, cook-from-frozen calzones to pull out of the freezer anytime and have a house filled with fresh doughy aromas and an amazing dinner with no fuss.

Oozing, gooey cheese mixed with subtly spiced chorizo and comforting tomato sauce is encased in crunchy, fresh pizza dough that will easily beat any take-out favourites!

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Use full-fat mozzarella. The high water content in the low-fat versions leaks out when cooking and leaves you with a soggy calzone. No one likes a soggy calzone.

Ingredients:

  • Your favourite pizza dough recipe or 500g ciabatta bread mix
  • Olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 150g cooking chorizo, diced
  • 1 red chilli, sliced and deseeded if a milder flavour is desired
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 4-500ml passata
  • A small bunch of basil, chopped
  • 150-200g mozzarella block, cut into large cubes
  • Fine semolina or plain flour, for dusting

Method:

  1. Make a batch of your pizza dough (see my pizza dough recipe-I’d love to provide a link but haven’t got a clue how to do it). Alternatively, make the bread mix following packet instructions. I always add 1 tsp of dried herbs and some garlic powder for added flavour. Leave it to rise while you make the filling.
  2. Dry fry the chorizo chunks in a frying pan until they begin to brown and release oil. Drain half of the oil and set the chorizo aside. Fry the onion in the remaining oil until soft. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Return the chorizo to the pan with the paprika, chilli and passata. Simmer for 20 minutes until the sauce has thickened and reduced. Stir in the basil and season well. Allow to cool a little
  3. Cut the mozzarella block into large cubes. If you can’t find the hard mozzarella blocks, you can use the ball but drain really well in a sieve before using.
  4. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces on a work surface dusted with fine semolina or flour. Roll each piece out to make ½ cm thick rounds about 20cm wide. Put a generous spoonful of the sauce onto each base and spread over half the dough leaving a 3cm border around the edge. Scatter a few chunks of mozzarella on top.

IMG_20160414_223859[1]       5. Fold the dough over the filling and pinch the sides together making sure to seal the whole edge. Fold the sealed dough over and crimp to make sure no sauce leaks out when cooking. Make a steam whole in the top of each. Carefully transfer the calzones to a baking paper-lined baking sheet and freeze until solid then individually wrap in cling film.

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6. To serve, heat the oven to 200C. Unwrap the frozen calzones, put onto a baking tray and bake for 30 minutes or until the dough is puffed and golden. Stick a metal skewer into the steam hole to check the filling is piping hot before serving.

Serve with salad and your favourite sauce to dunk the crunchy, doughy crust into.