|Team America Deep Dish Pizza - EFF YEAH - Photo by Wasabi Prime|
But I think there's something to be said for food cravings -- if you want something badly enough, have it, and be done with it. But I also believe it should be an educational process -- if you can figure out how to make that crave-worthy item from scratch, you can not only create this item of desire in your own kitchen, but you can also make modifications, if you're wanting to customize it or try and make it a little lighter on the waistline. Unfortunately, there's no way of really lightening up a deep dish pizza -- if anything, learning about the process makes you realize why it's such a special occasion food, and not something to be eaten on a regular basis. Cooking at home becomes like taking fruit from the Tree of Knowledge -- a little bit of know-how goes a long way towards making you realize there's a terrifying amount of butter in stuff.
But, as we all know, butter makes it better, as I learned from the deep dish pizza experience. I took to the Internets to learn more about the crust, as that's truly the foundation of what makes deep dish pizza so extraordinary. When you have it done right, the crust is like fried dough, all buttery-crispy from the direct exposure to the skillet as it cooks in a hot oven. It needs to be thick enough to hold its pie-like shape when you cut slices, but thin enough to where you get that butter cracker crispness. That's a lot to ask of a dough. I read through multiple recipes and techniques, but the one that interested me the most was from one of my favorite baking blogs, Brown Eyed Baker -- she has a great recipe that uses the method of dough lamination, which is similar to what pastry makers do when making croissants. You paint the pizza dough with softened butter and fold the dough over, like folding paper; you're not kneading the butter, you're intentionally leaving the layers of butter when the dough is rolled out and placed into your pan for baking. Yes, it takes a scary amount of butter (Tree of Food Knowledge - SIN!), but you get a super-rich pizza pie crust that bakes off flaky and pastry-like.
|Toppings overload - pan pizza madness - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
I managed to come out with two deep dish pizzas, baking a super high-walled pizza using a springform pan, and then a less insane-sized one using a glass pie dish. It was like roasting a turkey -- I had to cover the pies with aluminum foil as they baked, as the tops will of course brown faster than the time it takes to fully cook these thick pizza pies all the way through. For a first attempt, it most certainly less than perfect, but you still wind up with a delicious pile of food composed of all your favorite ingredients. Just maybe not the most picture-perfect photo for a food blog. If anything, it made me think of the 1980s Mel Brooks Star Wars spoof, Spaceballs -- Pizza the Hut, anyone?
|A bit of a hot Pizza the Hut mess, but there will be a deep dish pizza sequel, I promise! - Photos by Wasabi Prime|