After making a pizza last week for my Craving Ellie group, and failing pretty miserably at making my crust from scratch, I wanted to show everybody that I actually am capable of making a knockout pizza! I actually made this Pepperoni Deep-Dish Pizza about two weeks ago, but for some reason I'm just now getting around to posting about it. Please don't think for a second that I forgot about this recipe, because it's been quite the opposite. We're all still thinking about that pie, and my son keeps wanting to know when I am making "that really yummy pizza" again. I'm hoping the answer is soon!
I keep my back issues of Cooking Light magazine for at least six months, if not longer. I remembered recently that they had done a special feature on pizza back in their May issue, and there were several things that had caught my eye. Plus, I really had been wanting to graduate from pizza dough made in my bread machine to a more complicated, from-scratch dough that required a bit more from me. So I decided to try my hand at deep-dish dough, just to get my feet wet.
The dough was actually much easier to assemble than I thought it would be. In fact, the most challenging thing about it was the fact that you need to refrigerate the dough for 24 hours before using. Just add warm water and flour to a stand mixer with the dough hook attached, mix together, then add a mixture of water and yeast, along with some olive oil and salt. Allow all of this to mix together for about 5 minutes, then it can be covered and kept until the following day.
Once the dough has come to room temperature, it can be pressed into a 9x13-inch baking pan. In this particular recipe, the secret to a perfect crust with no soggy middle is the cheese. You divide the cheese so that most of it is layered underneath the sauce, thus protecting the dough from coming into direct contact with the liquid. The pepperoni covers the sauce, then the cheese tops it off. The pie is baked all the way on a rack in the very lowest part of the oven, further ensuring that the crust will be baked through completely and evenly.
This pizza tastes like heaven. It's an amazing blend of creamy, tangy, spicy, and savory, all on an abundant crust that tastes too good to be homemade. I think if I served this to company, they would have a hard time believing it came out of Cooking Light. It just tastes way too good to be healthy (but it totally is!). I think part of the reason is because I swapped out the recipe's basic pizza sauce, and subbed in a tried-and-true sauce that has been a winner here every time. My son thought the sauce was really pretty spicy, and it is. But it can always be toned down to please more sensitive palates, and in the end it didn't stop him from gobbling down two big pieces! Oh, one more thing: I used turkey pepperoni instead of the recommended "regular" pepperoni, and we didn't miss a thing. Dare I say, I actually made the recipe even healthier than Cooking Light did?
Pepperoni Deep-Dish Pizza
adapted from Cooking Light
makes 6 servings
1 cup warm water (100 to 110 degrees F), divided
12 oz. bread flour (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 tsp.)
4 tsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 1/4 cups (5 oz.) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1 1/2 cups pizza sauce
2 oz. turkey pepperoni slices
2 Tbsp. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1. Pour 3/4 cup warm water in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add flour to 3/4 cup water; mix until combined. Cover and let stand 20 minutes. Combine remaining water and yeast in a small bowl; let stand 5 minutes or until bubbly. Add yeast mixture, oil, and salt to flour mixture; mix 5 minutes or until a soft dough forms. Place dough in a large bowl coated in cooking spray; cover surface of dough with plastic wrap lightly coated in cooking spray. Refrigerate for 24 hours.
2. Remove dough from refrigerator. Let stand, covered, 1 hour or until the dough comes to room temperature. Punch dough down. Roll dough out to a 14x11-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Press dough into bottom and partially up sides of a 9x13-inch metal baking pan coated with cooking spray. Cover dough loosely with plastic wrap.
3. Place a baking sheet in the oven on the bottom rack. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
4. Arrange 3/4 cup mozzarella evenly over dough; top with pizza sauce, pepperoni, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella. Place pan on baking sheet in oven; bake at 450 for 25 minutes or until crust is golden. Cut pizza into 6 rectangles and serve.