International Pizza Pie Incident: One Dough, Four Ways

Some of the best pizza I’ve ever eaten is from NYC. I haven’t been to Chicago, so I can’t compare the two, but NYC pizza, in my eyes, is pretty damn tasty. Even the so-called “pedestrian” street offerings are worlds above the pizza served in Vancouver.

Mike and I sampled some delicious pies in NYC and I’ve been wanting to make pizza at home again ever since, so when Penny from jeroxie.com invited me to a pizza pie party, I didn’t hesitate to say “yes!” The last time I made home made pizza was last summer on the barbecue, so I was long overdue for another pizza making session.

I started with a simple Mario Batali yeast based pizza dough that I kneaded with my Kitchen Aid and set to proof in my oven. The dough was supposed to proof for 45 minutes, but in reality I proofed it for over an hour while I was out buying toppings.

We decided on four different kinds of pizza and headed out to Whole Foods to buy pecorino, bocconcini, pepperoncinis, crushed tomatoes, and a basil plant. The staff at Whole Foods was super helpful, as usual. When we couldn’t find pepperoncinis, the deli people sold us some of their own supply that they use strictly for sandwiches and the cheese dude was happy to slice off a tiny slice of pecorino for us. As a bonus, I found a wedge of my favourite ever cheese: le dauphin, a super-soft, creamy, delicious cheese.

If you’ve made pizza at home, you know that the thing most home-made pizza makers are worried about is soggy pizza. With that in mind, I didn’t bake the pizzas on pizza stones or baking sheets, instead I put the pizzas on parchment paper and put them directly on the oven racks as a precaution against soggy bottoms. Thankfully, all the pizzas ended up with firm, crisp crusts.

The four pizzas we made were: a sauceless, cheeseless, spicy pizza; a classic margherita pizza; a pecorino and egg pizza; and a prosciutto, pineapple, and caramelized red onion pizza.

I started out with the take on aglio e olio by topping one of the rounds of dough with olive oil, sliced garlic, and sliced thai red chilis and pepperoncinis. This pizza was Mike’s favourite, he liked the simple spiciness of the peppers with the fruity olive oil.

The margherita pizza was simply crushed tomatoes, fresh basil leaves and baby bocconcinis. This is one of my favourite flavour combinations and on pizza it’s delicious.

The pecorino and egg pizza was the least favourite of the bunch. I’ve had delicious egg-topped pizzas before, but the simplicity of this one just didn’t work.

My favourite of the night was the prosciutto, pineapple, and caramelized red onion pizza. The saltiness of the prosciutto and the sweetness of the pineapples and red onions was perfect.

Pizza Dough Recipe adapted from foodnetwork.com

1 cup warm water
1/2 ounces instant yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups all-purpose flour

Combine the water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl and stir until dissolved. Add salt and 1 cup of the flour and mix with a wooden spoon to make a loose batter. Add 2 more cups of the flour and stir with the spoon for 2 to 3 minutes to incorporate as much flour as possible.

Bring the dough together by hand and turn out onto a floured board or marble surface. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes, until you have made a smooth, firm dough. (I used my Kitchen Aid with the dough hook and it worked fine)

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a towel. Set aside to rise in the warmest part of the kitchen for 45 minutes.

Cut the risen dough into 4 equal pieces and knead each portion into a round. Cover again and let rest 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450˚F.

Dust a clean work surface lightly with flour. With your fingers and palms, flatten one of the dough rounds into a 10-inch oval about 1/4-inch thick.

Top the dough with your favourite pizza toppings and bake in the oven for 15-18 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. (I baked my pizzas on parchment paper directly on the oven rack, but this recipe works with a pizza stone as well).

Note: I rolled the pizza dough with a rolling pin, but you’re not supposed to do this because it compresses the carbon dioxide in the dough, making it more cracker-like during baking. The pizzas were on the very-thin crust side, and next time I will be hand shaping/stretching the dough.

Thanks for hosting the pizza party Jeroxie! Happy Birthday! We have a ton of leftover pizza in the fridge now, but sometimes I think it almost tastes better the next day! Now comes the real challenge, deciding between hot or cold pizza the next day! Opinions?

39 Comments add yours

  1. yum!! I love the look of your pizza!

    Thanks!

    steph on April 18th, 2010 at 9:47 am
  2. Lovely photos, lovely pizzas. I was going to make pizza tonight, but discovered my yeast is dead. :(

    I like your idea of using parchment paper. I haven’t made pizza in years. I have a perforated pizza pan that’s supposed to prevent soggy crust. I think I’ll give that a try tomorrow (after I buy some more yeast); if it doesn’t do a great job, I’ll try your parchment paper idea next time.

    Aww, I hate it when yeast dies!

    Good luck with your pizzas!

    steph on April 18th, 2010 at 9:47 am
  3. Terrific pizza creations for our party!

    Thank you! The party was fun!

    steph on April 18th, 2010 at 9:48 am
  4. Gosh! So many new pizza ideas. Thanks for coming to the party!
    Please head over to http://jeroxie.com/addiction/international-incident-party/ to grab the banner and the badge.

    YAY!

    Thanks for inviting me!

    steph on April 18th, 2010 at 9:47 am
  5. I agree with you – I lived in NYC for 8 years, and the pizza there is the BEST. This stands up for sure – I want the margherita pie PLEASE!!! Gorgeous pies, really great.

    Thanks! I’m craving NYC margherita pizza right now!

    steph on April 18th, 2010 at 9:48 am
  6. I think pizza always tastes better the next day!

    Me too! It’s something about the flavours all melding together, right?

    steph on April 18th, 2010 at 9:48 am
  7. What a great idea! I was just thinking of making pizza. Of course, being a single guy, this means that between now and Judgment Day I will consider really doing it.
    I’ll be using a cast aluminum griddle in place of a pizza stone.

    I grew up an hour and a half from Chicago and I will say preference is a matter of taste. I do think that the NY style pizza is easier to get right. You need a good thin crust and some good toppings. Think means you won’t overload it.
    With Chicago style, you must first like bread, lots of it. A deep dish pizza means that you will have a lot more bread than topping. It is also fried – at least 1/4 cup olive oil in the pan. So the crust is also oily. Then people are tempted to overload the pizza with heavy toppings.
    Don’t get me wrong, it can be very good. But there are more places where it can go wrong.

    I want to try doing pizza in a griddle and I want to head down to Chicago for pizza too. I hear Chicago is an excellent city for great eats! I’ll have to ask you for recommendations for pizza places when I finally do head down there!

    steph on April 18th, 2010 at 9:49 am
  8. I love all the flavors. Now, we’re really having a pizza party. If I’m really really hungry, I think I would eat it cold. :)

    I used to eat pizza cold all the time for lunch when I was a kid! It’s not bad!

    steph on April 18th, 2010 at 9:50 am
  9. Oh that caramelized onion looks amazing! Four great pizzas, lovely work! :)

    Thank you! I love the sweetness the caramelized onions added.

    steph on April 18th, 2010 at 9:50 am
  10. I think I’ve found the perfect meal for my Chilli-mad, Pizza-loving housemate :) Nice creations. Wish I could try an NYC pizza

    I hope your housemate likes it! It’s not saucy, so if they’re a sauce lover, feel free to add sauce too!

    steph on April 18th, 2010 at 9:51 am
  11. Great tip for a crispy crust that is not soggy. I have to admit my favorite is the same one you mentioned with proscutio

    The proscuttio one was amazing and I was pleasantly surprised that my parchment paper trick worked out.

    steph on April 18th, 2010 at 9:52 am
  12. I must say that I’m partial to Chicago-style, but mainly because we lived there and have had more of it than NY-style. Frankly, I love pizza. Period.

    Your four ways are all fantastic! Although the egg-topped one didn’t match others you’ve had, I’ve yet to try one and would love to do so. These are all great!

    Thanks!

    I really want to try Chicago-style pizza. Hopefully I will get to soon. Or maybe I should try making it at home!

    steph on April 19th, 2010 at 9:39 am
  13. You’ve done four pizzas in one shot, good work. They look like a pizza feast, very tempting.

    Thanks Christine! It was a pizza fest!

    steph on April 19th, 2010 at 9:40 am
  14. Love the colours in your pizzas. Yes it would taste good the next day am sure!

    Day-old-pizza is the best!

    steph on April 19th, 2010 at 9:41 am
  15. Four! I can’t believe you put in all that hard work! This is amazing. Am loving the look of them. Also good tip on the parchment paper. I have been thinking about buying pizza stones, or do you reckon I should forget about those and just get parchment papers?

    I’ve heard really good things about pizza stones, but I haven’t tried them so I can’t really tell which would be better! Parchment paper worked just fine for me, but I wouldn’t mind giving a pizza stone a try too.

    steph on April 21st, 2010 at 12:18 pm
  16. You’ve done four pizzas in one shot, good work. They look like a pizza feast, very tempting.

  17. These look amazing! You’re totally inspiring me to try making pizza. I’m from Chicago. I miss the pizza there so much! The thing about the Chicago style deep dish crust is that it has corn meal in it, as well as wheat flour. This gives it a nice crunch. And the cheese is on the bottom,w/ lots of whole peeled tomatoes on top. You will love it!

    I love pizza crust with a nice crunch! I must try Chicago pizza one day!

    steph on May 14th, 2010 at 10:35 am
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