Finer Points

by Gay Spencer 31. May 2012 21:39
Caraway Black Pepper Crust

Yoske: I ate the corner piece first, and it was absolutely amazing.

In Mid-February, in Philadelphia, I asserted that the final round of pizza from my Philadelphia kitchen (a Spinach Crust beauty) was the best there was. I am not inclined to argue with myself (too much), but now that I have produced the first round of pizza in my Dallas kitchen, it's tough to imagine that February effort was better than this. It's said that folks in the U.S. eat about 23 lbs. of pizza each year, but mostly that's just run-of-the mill pizza. When was the last time that you had pizza that knocked your socks off? When did you last have pizza that made you close your eyes and utter profane rhapsodies?

In times past I would ride the train from Philadelphia to midtown Manhattan and visit Maffei's Pizza on 6th Ave. at 22nd St. to get a slice of pizza that was worth making the trip. There aren't that many places that make pizza like that. Usually, it's just "okay." If you've been thinking about making a stop at Maffei's, let me know, and I might share a slice with you.

Sure, making pizza is a pretty basic thing, but if you get yourself a copy of Donna German's pizza dough book and make hundreds of pizzas over a couple of decades you'll probably be surprised at how creative and wonderful it can be. This one was a Caraway/Black Pepper crust sweetened with a generous amount of honey. I got three links of fresh chicken chipotle sausage from my local fresh market/healthy food vendor. I use about half aged provolone cheese and about half part-skim mozzarella. Put the provolone on first and cover it with the mozzarella since the more aged provolone is a little drier. Be patient and let the dough rise in the pan for 20-30 minutes before you add the toppings. It makes a worthwhile difference.

The longer you preheat the oven, the better. The the very least, give it 30 minutes. Have a pizza stone. 425F for 14 minutes is perfect, but have an oven thermometer so you know it's right.

Do not make pepperoni pizza. Try something different. You'll love it.

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