I also finally did my first pie from scratch. I've been working my starter cultures into a happy state, and have made two attempts at bread. First one, using an Ed Wood recipe, was pretty good... And I'm notoriously bad at baking bread. Second, I attempted a "tweak" on a Peter Reinhart recipe, and it lacked rise, but had a nice taste.
Got a 50 lb. bag of bread flour, and decided to try my hand at pizza. And actually, I did have a brief foray with making my own crusts using, of all things, a trusty Weber grill. Those pies, mostly California type, were wildly uneven. If the temperature wasn't blazing, they didn't work as well, and my ambitions with toppings soon overwhelmed the simplicity of the pie. I lost interest.
So now, 10 years later, I'm making some preliminary forays into pie making, and it's probably best I don't have a digital camera yet. Let's just say they had "rustic charm." Made two 12" pies, one with mushrooms and one with mushrooms and pepperoni, using Ischia starter and another Wood recipe, the gas oven cranked (thermometer read 550F or slightly higher), baking stone, minimal sauce, minimal cheese (Polly-O whole milk mozz). Obviously just testing the waters and not getting into some of the fancier brands of sauce and cheese; I used 2/3 of an 8 oz. can of Contadina sauce to cover both pies, at 29 cents a can.
What I wanted to establish was a sort of crust crispiness, overall balance, and see if the flavors were passable with even canned sauce.
Let me just say I was extremely pleased. It's not the pie of my ideal -- which is something very much like the Varasano pie -- but for a trial run, it was darned good. I kept the toppings minimal, cheese thin and spread out, a little parm over all, mushrooms about 1/8", and when the pies came out everything was well cooked. The cheese and sauce melded sublimely. The crust was very thin, 1/8"-1/4". It was hard to get it consistent, and there were a couple of holes I had to patch, because the dough was so wet, but it set up beautifully, and had a nice cross of crispness/firmness to soft tooth. You could hold a piece and not have it flop, but if you wanted to fold it, you could. Of course, with a 12" pie, that's easier to attain. The edge I doubled by folding under, and it had a really pleasant flavor and texture... a little more rise would have been nice, so maybe I'll consider boosting the starter/sponge with a little yeast.
And Mrs. FW loved it as well. I think she's beginning to understand my quest. Hell, her grandfather is from Rome, you'd think she would!
Hoping to get a digital camera about the same time my pies start looking like some of the ones here.