What can I say?
The Pie was... GREAT
We really liked it. We found the crust surprisingly different, due to the cornmeal. The bottom had a light crisp that was easy to break. The texture was not dense or tough. We never had a Chicago Pizza before, but we liked it very much.
I used DKM's latest Chicago Recipe by weight. I added a bit more salt though (1/2 tsp more) and used 50/50 Classico Olive oil and Maizola Corn oil. After mixing the dough I placed it right into the Fridge for an overnight rise (17 hours altogether) and made the pie for Lunch today. The dough was very easy to work with, had no problems forming a disc out of it and placing it in the lightly oiled pan. Forming the rim was very easy as well.
Steve gave me some tips long ago for the sauce and I decided to go for it. Kept the sauce simple and not pre-cooked:
- 1 850ml(28oz) can of tomatoes
- 2 cloves of garlic
- fresh basil
- a tad of fresh and dry oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- and 2 dashes of fresh ground black & white pepper
I added some tomatoe paste to get the right consistency (if you use the 6-in-1 Brand ground tomatoes, they are in a heavy puree already; see the footnotes for more info).
For this first Chicago pie, I decided to go just for Sausage as the topping and since I have never seen Italian sausage ever sold anywhere here in Hamburg, I made it myself with ground pork.
I used the first recipe of 4 that Focacciaman kindly posted here on the Forum (search for Sausage). I've made meatballs on hundreds of occasions before for Pasta and other recipes, I never before used fennel seed though, which is apparently a key ingredient for Italian Sausage. For those who have never made some themselves, give it a try. I found them very tasty, the fennel gives a distinct note.
I found it interesting how everything blended very nicely with each other. The sauce being on top allows the different tastes to mix more with each other. I have never eaten an "authentic" Chicago Pizza, but DKM's was really
Many thanks to Steve, DKM, Randy, Focacciaman and our other members (in no specific order
) for their input and tips... Notes:Tomatoes:I've tried over the last months 8 or 9 different Brands of tomatoe paste and as many brands of canned tomatoes available in Germany until I found the ones with the best taste. Steve & his wife were so kind to send me a can of 6-in-1 Brand tomatoes per Post, which has not yet arrived. I am sure that they will surpass anything that is available here in Germany and I'm anxious to try them out. I will put them to good use! Sauce:This was interesting as well as it was by far the best pizza sauce I made yet, most of the sauces I made before were too heavily spiced. All I can say is that a pizza sauce is not a pasta sauce, don't over spice, don't make the sauce too heavy and rich as a pasta sauce. Sausage:I added just a shot of milk to the recipe to get everything blended a bit more together and to make forming the Sausage meatballs easier. I also precooked the sausage a bit in some olive oil, because I was not sure if they would cook thru enough on the pie this first try.Dough:The overnight proofed dough had a weight of 1005 grams which would vary for everyone a bit. After forming and placing the dough in the lightly oiled pan it seemed to me to be a bit too much so I trimmed about 150-200 grams off the rim and formed the center and rim again. I think I got the thickness almost right.Pan:I used a 14" pan with a 1&3/4" high rim. It was a bit tedious getting the finished pie out of the pan. A large flexible spatula would probably be helpful.Baking:I baked the pie in a preheated oven at 225°C for 25 min. Although the bottom of the crust had a golden hue, the top edge or rim was a bit darker. I'll adjust for that a bit and see how the results are next time.