Tuesday 15 January 2013

Deep dish pizza, Chicago style!

Is anyone else humming 'Cell Block Tango' in their head at the mention of Chicago? It's just me? Well alright then, moving on.

In what is perhaps a damaging revelation given my reputation as the healthy vegetarian, this dish comes inspired by an episode of Man vs Food, which Mr Fork is particularly addicted to at the moment.  I don't usually watch it with him as it's just plain gross, but I happened to be walking past when it was focussing on a deep dish pizza (probably eating five of them knowing the show), and something about it called to me.  I figured, we could do that, and knowing that pizza was on the menu plan for the week anyway, set about researching what we'd need to do.

I decided on the dough recipe from here, and pretty much followed the instructions to the letter, with two variations:

  • I don't own a food processor, so I made the dough by hand - there is something extremely therapeutic about this 
  • Knowing that dinner preparation time is also Ellie's fussy time, I pre-made the dough the night before we were having the pizza.  At the stage where you rest the dough in the fridge to double in size, I just left it in for 24 hours instead.  I don't think it hurt the end result at all.

The night of the pizza, all that was left to do was to let the dough heat up a little before rolling it out.  I don't own any metal baking tins, so we improvised a little here too.  Mr Fork made his pizza in a quiche dish, and I used a cast iron frypan.  My preference was for the way the frypan pizza worked out, maybe because the sides were deeper so the pizza rose more and encased the fillings whereas the quiche dish produced more of a pizza 'quiche' to be honest.

Here are the results, I think I'll let the pictures speak for themselves:
Mr Fork's creation.  I think he had pepperoni, beef mince and a whole bunch of cheese and sauce in his. As you can see, it's all one level and overflowed the pan a little (thank goodness his meaty pizza was on the bottom shelf!)

My pizza had tomato, cheese, basil, olives and a spicy tomato sauce. My crust encased the filling and looked more like a traditional, yet very deep, pizza.

Here's an internal shot, after waiting approximately 15 minutes for the fillings to cool to something less than molten. 

What worked: The dough was delicious! I've bookmarked the recipe - perfect and flaky but not oily and overwhelming. The small amount of polenta added is a genius idea. The cast iron frypan was the better cooking method, as already noted. Pre-making the dough made putting dinner together quite easy and we were able to devote full attention to Ellie while this cooked.  Leftovers are also delicious on the following days, and actually, the pizza seems to hold together better and is easier to cut when it's cool.

What didn't work: Next time I make this, I think I'll roll the dough thinner as it was a little thick in some places and took over the pizza. I need to find something else for making a second pizza in, as there was no room for Mr Fork's dough to expand and make a nice crust (he does have a tendency to overfill things though). I think there could have been more filling and less sauce as sometimes the sauce was overwhelming.

Otherwise, this was a delicious, delicious Tuesday night dinner. Will we make it again? You bet! 

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