Monday, February 25, 2013

Xan: Pan Pizza!

At last.  AT LAST.

This is the pizza I have been trying to make all this time.  Easy and delicious pizza with a thick, oily crust.  This is not deep dish; it's Pizza Hut pizza.

I like Pizza Hut crust a lot.  I have tried to replicate it by incorporating oil into the pizza dough, and by brushing oil onto the crust right before cooking.  But it never came close to working.  The crust needs to fry in oil.  Not that much oil -- a tablespoon will do -- but enough that a pan is required.

In addition to the crust, the toppings were excellent.  This is the first cheeseless pizza I have ever eaten that didn't seem to be missing something...and it didn't even have meat on it!  (Of course Catherine's side still had cheese).  And I didn't have to make pizza sauce!  The toppings in this case were: crushed tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, olives, caramelized onions, and panko bread crumbs.  These are all things I have lying around my kitchen, but if you don't have caramelized onions in your freezer, you'd have to add that to the process. Or just use more typical toppings.  I mean, if you aren't lactose intolerant, it's easy to make a pizza that doesn't seem to be missing something.

I am indebted yet again to Kenji.  Here is the basic pizza recipe:

and here is the recipe with approximately the toppings I used:

I would highly recommend this pizza to anyone, but especially to a home cook who is just starting out and aspires to make great pizzas from scratch.  There is no kneading of the pizza dough, and no nonsense with shaping the pizza or getting it into and out of the oven.  This is a pizza that's really easy and consistent as long as you have the right equipment, and all of the equipment is a good investment if you are looking to build up a versatile kitchen inventory.  You will find useful a digital kitchen scale (I can recommend this one) and a 10-inch cast iron skillet (e.g. this one), both of which are a lot more versatile than pizza peels and baking stones.

Did you know the amount of flour in a cup can vary by as much as 50% (!) depending on how packed it is?  (Weighing the flour eliminates the guesswork).

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