Cravings & Chicago Pizza Pies

I’m not pregnant. I promise.

I do, however, get a LOT of food cravings. I chalk it up to the rather expansive list of food-and-bakery blogs that crowd my Google Reader … I see things that I immediately want to taste and generally don’t rest until I do.

This happens a lot with Mexican food. Not because I read a lot of food blogs dedicated to cheap, hole-in-the-wall Mexican food, but just because of my general obsession with all things chips-and-salsa.

Not long ago, I faced an insurmountable craving for Chicago-style, deep dish pizza pies. I was sitting at work and read something that triggered such a deep emotional and physical response that I knew I was in trouble. For you see, Nashville has no deep-dish-pizza-pie restaurants. At least none that neither I nor Google know about. I checked around. I Yelped it. I briefly considered overnighting frozen pizzas from Giordanos or Lou Malnatis. I could taste the flaky, buttery crusts, the mounds of sweet tomatoes and melt-y piles of salty mozzarella.

Like I said. I was in t-r-o-u-b-l-e. As in, we got trouble here, friends, right here in River City.

But, as is so often the case in my journey of kitchen mishaps and marvels, King Arthur Flour came yet again to the rescue.

Though I’ve made them several times since my initial craving, this particular batch was for a surprise birthday party. I doubled the recipe you’ll see below to make 4 9″ round pizza pies.

Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza Pies
courtesy, 100%, of King Arthur Flour

Ingredients (Crust):
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
2 3/4 teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup + 2 tablespoons lukewarm water

To Do (Crust):
1. Mix together dough ingredients and knead for 7-10 minutes, until the dough is soft and not sticky.

2. Set aside, covered, and let rise until doubled (about an hour).

Rising, yeasty dough is one of my favorite smells in the whole world. Mmmm…

3. Cut the dough in half. Place balls of dough into 2 9″ cake pans that have been spread with olive oil. Spread dough around until it starts stretching back. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.

4. After the resting period, the dough will be much looser and easier to stretch. Stretch the dough around the bottom of each pan and up the sides at least 1″. Let rest 15 more minutes while preheating oven to 425.

5. Bake for 10 minutes.

Ingredients (Filling):
Don’t you love a pizza with filling instead of topping?

2 cans diced or crushed tomatoes (drained)
4 cloves fresh garlic, diced
3/4 lb of mozzarella cheese (fresh, sliced)
1 tbsp sugar
dried Italian spices (oregano, basil, rosemary, etc)
1 cup shredded cheese (parmesan, Italian blend)
traditional toppings (sausage, pepperoni, bell peppers, mushrooms, etc)

To Do (Filling):

1. Mix together tomatoes, spices, sugar, and garlic in a bowl
2. Cover the pizza crust with sliced mozzarella
3. Add toppings of choice, then cover with tomato mixture
4. Top with shredded cheese and a drizzle of olive oil
5. Bake at 425 for 25 minutes
6. Lift pizza out of pan after removing from oven to cool on rack (this will keep the crust from getting soggy). Let it set for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Craving conquered. What’s next?

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