I would like to share a version of Chicago Deep Dish pizza with all of the Chicago-philes out there. My brother turned me on to Pizzamaking.com, and while I've always felt that I was the most detailed oriented home cook on the planet, from this site of dedicated pizza lovers, I've come to learn that I am far from that! I've read some pizza posts that have put me to shame, and it is thrilling me to no end. So much to strive for-------honey, I'm home!!!
Regarding the following recipe and pics, I could kick myself for failing to take a picture after every stage of assemblage. Oh well, I'll learn for the future. The pics denote my Pepperoni variation of the original recipe, and they consist of a "pre-bake" photo of the assembled pie before baking, a "post bake" photo to show how the Pepperoni crisps up, and the final photo shows the pie out of the cast iron skillet. My justification for the last photo was to illustrate that in a well seasoned cast iron skillet, it becomes almost "non stick", hence a very easy pie removal.
I hope that this pie resonates with some of you.
Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Pie
1 3/4 cups flour (7.7 oz.)
1/4 cup cornmeal (40 g.)
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 package dry yeast
1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 tb. water (4.75 oz.)
1/2 cup plus 1/2 tb. water (4.25 oz.) and 1/2 oz. crushed garlic (this crust is my deviation from the original recipe)
3 tb. Olive oil (42 g.)
Assemble the above as you would any yeast dough, and let it rise once. I like to let the dough rise overnight in the fridge.
An alternate method of preparing the dough is one that I use for most of my pizza recipes.
Into a standard sized food processor, place all of the dry ingredients, including the yeast.
Pulse the dry ingredients to combine and then pour the combined wet ingredients through the feed tube in a stream.
When the dough forms a ball, let the dough process for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, enough heat is generated to activate the yeast.
Put the dough into a non-reactive container, cover and let rise. If time permits, let the dough rise in the fridge overnight. I’ve never bothered to bring the dough back to room temperature before assembly and baking the pizza, and I have yet to be disappointed with the results.
Into an oiled 10 1/2 inch cast iron skillet, pat or roll the dough out dough to cover the bottom, and about 1 and 1/2 inches up the sides. If the sides of the dough don’t want stay up, and they tend to shrink back down, don’t worry. As the topping ingredients fill the pizza during assembly, it is easy to push the sides back up, by pressing down into the “corners” of the skillet. The filled pizza will keep the sides in tact.
In the order given, layer the following ingredients into the dough.
1/2 pound of shredded cheese (I use equal parts of aged Provolone or Asiago, whole milk Mozzarella, and Jack)
1/2 pound cooked crumbled sausage
2 chopped cloves of garlic (of late, I now thinly slice garlic with abandon, and probably end up using 6 or more cloves, which is about an ounce.
One 14 ounce can of chopped tomatoes, drained well in a strainer.
1 1/2 tsps. dried Oregano, crumbled
2 tb. (.5 oz) Parmesan cheese
If desired, you can completely assemble the pie, and keep it in the fridge for hours before baking.
Place cast iron skillet onto the middle rack of a COLD gas oven. Turn the heat to 500. When it reaches that temp, turn the oven down to 400, and let the pizza bake for 30 minutes. In a gas oven, only the bottom heating element is used during the preheat, and the toppings will not burn during the fairly long preheat to 500 degrees, and the 30 minute bake time at 400 degrees.
I am not sure if this deep dish pizza baking technique will work in a standard electric oven, as the preheat cycle may make the bottom and top broiler elements both heat the oven. But if you have an electric oven which has a “pure convection” mode (where the heat comes only from behind the back of the oven), I have had excellent results. I have a Dacor convection wall oven that has one convection fan. I also have a Wolf convection range, which has 2 convection fans, and they perform in a slightly different manner.
For my Dacor wall oven, I place the assembled pizza into the middle rack of the COLD oven. Set the temperature to pure convection 475. When the temperature reaches this point, reduce the heat to 375 pure convection, and time for 30 minutes.
For my Wolf range with 2 convection fans, I place the assembled pizza into the middle rack of the COLD oven. Set the temperature to pure convection 450. When the temperature reaches this point, reduce the heat to 350 pure convection, and time for 30 minutes.
The above recipe, I’m told is standard for a Chicago Deep Dish Pie. I have particularly been impressed with the concept of chopped canned tomatoes, versus a sauce. Somehow the chopped canned tomatoes seem to meld into a different texture, and they are not watery at all.
After making this pizza for years, I now have my own rendition of a Chicago Deep Dish.
I omit the cooked crumbled sausage.
In order I place the following ingredients:
Cheeses from the above recipe
Tomatoes from the above recipe
Garlic from the above recipe
Oregano from the above recipe
Parmesan from the above recipe
Sliced black olives to taste
Sliced mushrooms (I used canned, well drained) to taste
3.5 oz. of thinly sliced Pepperoni, fanned out in concentric circles, to completely cover the pie.
Baking in the cast iron pan, with the intense heat transfer, creates the crispiest, yummiest pepperoni you’ve ever had, as long as you put it on last. It’s like Pepperoni “bacon”.