Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday Deep Dish Pizza

Sundays in our house this time of year (actually, August to February) are for football and cooking. The husband watches about 9 hours of football and I cook, read, and nap during this time. Really, do Sundays get much better?

Yesterday I said I would cook him anything he wanted for Sunday as I had been sick and bitchy all this past week- who knew a canker sore could get so bad it required not one but two prescriptions? He wanted a Canadian deep dish pizza (bacon, pepperoni, mushroom) like at Pizza Hut. I remembered a recipe from America's Test Kitchen's Best of 2007 book that would be perfect. America's Test Kitchen (they do Cook's Illustrated among other magazines) never steers me wrong. They test their recipes to perfection and their books/magazines have a paragraph about the testing process. I may or may not have read their entire 900 page cookbook cover to cover because the testing process is so interesting.

So, the pizza. Don't be afraid of making your own dough! I used to be a yeast-o-phobe, but trust me, it's a simple as mixing and then waiting for it to rise. It really was just like Pizza Hut. Yumm... a crunchy, golden thick crust and browned cheese. Not in the least healthy of course- there's a bunch of oil in the bottom of the pan and you can actually hear the crust frying in the oven plus the cheese and such. But on the plus side the thick crust is filling so I could only eat one slice. For now...

- Slightly adapted from The Best of America's Test Kitchen 2007
- Makes 2 pizzas- serves 4-6

  • 1/2 olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 cup milk, warmed to 110 degrees F (lukewarm-too warm and you'll kill the yeast)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 envelope (2 1/2 tsp) rapid rise yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 (3 oz) package sliced pepperoni (I used turkey pepperoni- if you use this you can skip step 4 below)
  • 3 slices bacon, cooked in microwave until crispy, crumbled
  • 1 cup thinly sliced white mushrooms
  • 3 cups mozzarella or provolone cheese, shredded

1. For the dough: Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat the oven to 200 degrees F. Once the oven is preheated turn it off. Now you have a warm place for the dough to rise. Lightly spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with 3 tbsp of oil each.

2. Mix the milk, sugar, 2 tbsp oil, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add flour and mix on low speed until dough comes together. Increase speed to medium and knead for 5 minutes or until dough is no longer sticky and it is smooth and shiny. If not using a mixer, mix dough with a wooden spoon, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead about 10 minutes. Shape dough into a ball and place in greased bowl. Cover dough with plastic wrap and place in warmed oven 30 minutes.

3. To Shape and Top the Dough: Divide the dough in half and lightly roll each half into a ball. Working with one ball at a time, roll each into a 9 1/2 inch round and press into oiled pan. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm spot (not in the oven) 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oven to 400 degrees F.

4. Place half of the pepperoni slices in a single layer on a large microwave safe plate linked with 2 paper towels. Place 2 more paper towels on top and microwave for 30 seconds on high. Discard paper towels and set aside pepperoni. Repeat with remaining pepperoni. This renders a lot of the fat from the pepperoni so that the grease doesn't pool on top of the pizza.

5. Remove the plastic wrap from the dough. Spread approx 2/3 cup of sauce on each round, leaving a 1/2 inch boarder around the edges. Arrange bacon and mushrooms over sauce, sprinkle each pizza with 1 1/2 cups cheese and top with pepperoni (I put the pepperoni underneath the cheese by accident). Bake until cheese is melted and pepperoni is browning around edges- about 20 minutes. Remove pizzas from oven and let them rest in the pan for a couple of minutes before removing and cutting into wedges.

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