Ultimate Stuffed Pizza

The Inspiration

I've had good results using 9" cake pans, the following recipe makes 3 pizza''s using these pans. You may notice in the pictures that the pans are doubled. Cooking a deep dish Chicago pizza without overcooking the crust can be tricky, I''ve had better results when I double the pans. One of these will satisfy 2 (very) hungry pizza eaters. 3 will fit in my oven, allowing everyone in the family to get their favorite filling.

The Crust

imgI found a Giordano''s-style recipeonhttp://www.pizzamaking.com, and adjusted the amounts up to make enough for mythree 9" pies:

5 cups Flour (King Arthur unbleached)
2 packages Yeast
1-1/2 Tbs Brown Sugar
1-1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup Canola Oil
5 Tbs Olive Oil
1-1/2 cups + 2 Tbs Warm Water

  1. Mix the yeast in the warm water, set aside while you mix the other ingredients.
  2. Mix the remainingdry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Add the oil, mix. You''ll get a crumbly mixture.
  4. Mix in the water/yeast. Do not overwork the dough, just get everything blended together. Add a little more flour as necessary to get a nice dough consistency.
  5. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap, set asidefor a few hours to rise.

img

While the dough is rising, prepare the sauce and other ingredients (recipe follows).

While you''re completing ''assembly'', preheat the oven to 450 degrees (f).

Mix about 2 Tbs warm margarine or butter with 2 Tbs olive oil. Spread about 1 Tbs in each pan, save the rest. The crust already has a lot of oil and won''t stick, but this step is important. (I think the added oil in the pan affects the heat transfer.) The extra oil is one of the secrets to getting the right crust texture.

Separate about 1/3 of the dough, set aside for the tops. Split the remaining 2/3 into three equal balls, one for each crust bottom. Roll each out to form a thin crust, a few inches larger than the pans, allowing for the crust conform to the sides of the pan, with a little hanging over the edge. Roll around your rolling pin and transfer to the pan.


img

Carefully work the crust to conform to the bottom of the pan(s). Don''t stretch the crust out, instead pull the excess from around the edges into the pan until there is no space between the pan and the crust.


img

Here''s my three pans ready to load. Layer in cheese, chosen ingredients, more cheese. Repeat as necessary. The pan''s I use should be about 2/3 to 3/4 full of ''stuff''. If you look at my pictures below, you''ll see that I don''t use just mozzarella. I usually use about 2/3 mozzarella, then make up the difference with a little cheddar, provolone, colby-jack, and smaller portions of parmesan and swiss. Makes a zesty cheese combination that we enjoy. If you''re a purist,use mozzarella with a little parmesan.


The ''Stuff''

Add your ''stuff''...
and more stuff....
img
and more stuff.....
img
and even more stuff!
img

Split the dough you set aside earlier into portions for the top crusts. Roll out (a little thinner than the bottoms). Spread a little of the butter/oil mixture to the inside of the top before you close it up.

Gently press the top crust down to eleminate as much air as possible. You''ll have less air inside if you use sliced cheese, but I get good results with grated cheese. Crimp the edges and remove the excess. You should have a small crust lip running up to the top edge of the pan. Cut a couple small slits in the top to help let air/steam escape.

img

Assembly complete, before adding the sauce:

img

...and after adding the sauce:

img

The Sauce:

(1) 28oz can Contadina crushed tomatoes
(1) 8 oz can tomato sauce
2-3 cloves crushed garlic
1 Tbs dried Basil
1 Tbs brown sugar
1-2 slices onion, chopped very fine
Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients, let them mellow together while the dough rises and you prepare the pies. Will make more sauce than you need for 3 (9") pizzas.

Baking

Place in a preheated 450 degree oven for about 35 minutes.

Check for air bubbles every 10 minutes or so, pierce with a knife as needed to release any air/steam.

The Results

After they''re done, remove and let them set for about 5 minutes before serving...

img

Slice and Enjoy!

img