Cast Iron Pizza

Most everyone I know enjoys a good pizza on occasion, and what better way to show off a well seasoned cast iron skillet than to be able to successfully bake a pizza inside of it? As a bonus it also makes for one of the most hearty pizzas you will ever indulge in. I have baked pizza using this technique twice now, and will debut the striking dish once again this coming Saturday evening. The dough base for this pizza must be prepared several hours before you will use it, therefore I recommend crafting your dough in the morning.  I find myself in the midst of a large mess while making my dough, I wouldn’t say it is my forte. However, it makes for a darn good pizza if you take the time and effort to prepare it properly! Other than that forewarning have fun with the recipe and please, make it your own! Choose the toppings that you crave most, splurge on your cheese selection, and oh! Use lots and lots of cheese, you simply cant have enough!
[ingredients yield one large pizza]
Crust:

  •  2 1/2 Cups bread flour
  •  1 scant Tablespoon sugar
  •  2 Teaspoons kosher salt
  •  3/4 Teaspoon active dry yeast
  •  1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
  •  1 scant Cup warm water

– Mix together warm water, yeast, sugar and salt. Let this mixture sit a few minutes until slight foam starts on top of the mixture, and add flour at this time. Knead however you like, some use a mixer others prefer using their own two hands. Whichever method gets the job done is fine, however beware of over mixing your dough. Doing so will yield a tough crust, unsatisfactory for this type of dish. After all ingredients are mixed form dough into a large ball (it doesn’t have to be perfect) and coat with olive oil, now transfer into a sealed gallon bag. I leave my dough out four an hour or two before transferring to the refrigerator where I leave it to rest overnight. The timing does not have to be exact, the idea here is to let the dough rise…let the yeast go to work on your masterpiece! *Be sure to take your dough out of the refrigerator at least an hour to two hours prior to use! At this time I also place my cast iron skillet into the freezer so that it thoroughly cools.

Sauce:

  • 1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 2 (6 oz.) cans tomato paste
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp ground sweet paprika
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • Red pepper flake to taste
  • 4 TBSP EVOO
  • 2 tsp white vinegar

– I find the sauce is best if made the day before use, simply mix all the ingredients thoroughly and store in mason jars tightly sealed in the refrigerator.  This is the best way to marry the spices to the sauce, gaining a robust flavor profile.

Toppings:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               – 1/2 lb. Spicy Italian sausage                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            – Bacon
– 1/3 Cup scallions chopped
– 10-12ounces mozzarella cheese
– 2 Tablespoons fresh basil, minced

 

*Preheat your oven to 450

 

Brown ingredients prior to baking, and be sure to drain off excess oil from the meats.  After your dough has come to room temp. and your ingredients are browned, set aside and ready to go; clear enough counter space to roll out your dough and retrieve your cast iron skillet from the freezer.  LIGHTLY dust your dough ball with flour and roll out into a large circle, simply plop this circle in the center of your cast iron skillet and cut off any excess crust that raises more than an inch from the bottom of the skillet. Once you have removed the excess dough, fold the one inch remainder down to form a nice round crust extending around the entire pan.  Sauce your entire pie base to your own preference, I like a lot of sauce and others prefer a thin coating…do what you like here! Finally add your meats chives, and cover the whole darn thing with cheese! Lots and lots of cheese!

Heating this pie is done in a unique way but really helps to make sure the time spent in the oven isn’t wasted trying to heat up the cast iron skillet. Turn your stove to medium-high heat and wait a minute or two, then transfer the cast iron skillet onto the stove-top heating the pie for 2-2 1/2 minutes. Once the skillet feels warm/hot to the touch, it is ready for transfer into the oven. Mine usually takes around two minutes, but if your stove has higher heat settings it may not take the entire two minutes. Feel the edge of the pan frequently, being cautious not to burn yourself.  Bake pie in the oven for 18-20 min. and remove promptly, transferring onto a large cutting board. Wait 3-5 minutes before cutting into the pie.

Enjoy!

*photography by: Adam Barhan

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