All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014
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This effort was not a 100% success. Right off the top – the suggestions I must make that vary from what I tried are:
Use much more pizza dough & build a pretty decently thick crust. Thin crust – not good for deep pizza as it cannot support the weight of the contents. This is less of an issue if you use a deep pie pan & not a springform pan – but still. This much stuffing needs more bread than a sparingly-topped normal pizza.
Also – maybe don’t make your pizza 2-3 inches deep. Thatsa lotta stuff to try to hold together through the trauma of slicing.
I was terrified of making a dried out pie & added several ingredients for their moisture factor as much as anything else. MISTAKE. My very first deep pizza is kind of a runny mess. It tastes really yummy but it isn’t the prettiest thing on earth & I don’t think it could take many more slices being cut out before it collapsed entirely.
Maybe consider not removing the springform ring until you cut into your pizza & can assess its free-standing worthiness.
You would think I would have learned from my wet spinach-feta pizza cupcakes that maybe spinach & feta are wetter than they seem during assembly. Or maybe the mushrooms I used released all their moisture during the baking process – so – I think the next time I attempt a deep pizza – I shall eschew the spinach AND the mushrooms….or save the mushrooms for only the very top where the heat of the oven will evaporate their moisture.
Anyway – I am not going to post a formal recipe here because I don’t think this pie warrants it. I just threw everything I had (meaning ingredients) into it & hoped for the best. I will experiment more & when I perfect it – I will post the recipe here.
Yesterday – with no recipe in mind – I roasted some sliced onion in olive oil at 450 for about 30 minutes – stirring them about once or twice in the process. I also drizzled olive oil on whole garlic cloves & baked them wrapped in foil – along with the onions.
Once the garlic cools – you can squeeze each clove & the gooey, nutty garlic comes out in a creamy texture – like soft toothpaste.
I then treated some multi-colored peppers & jalapenos to the same olive oil & roasting treatment.
Once they were good & blackened & while still very hot, I put them in a bowl & topped it with plastic wrap. Once they were cooled – I peeled the charred skin off under cool running water & got this delicious result:
I made a spinach pesto using
2 packed cups fresh spinach
40 almonds, crushed & toasted for 5 minutes or so
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup olive oil
water for added smoothness – all blended in a food processor.
Today – I decided I’d experiment with the deep dish pizza thingy. I already had about 1/3 of my pizza dough recipe leftover, and settled for that. In the future – I’d use the entire dough recipe & make a MUCH thicker crust.
I also had sauteed mushrooms, black olives, extra peppers, feta cheese, lots of spinach, grated pizza blend cheese, half a tomato and a few slices of mozzarella.
PREHEAT YOUR OVEN TO 400
I sprayed a springform pan with cooking spray & lined it with my TOO LITTLE pizza dough. I let the dough come up over the rim to anchor it upright.
My next step SHOULD have been a layer of grated cheese – but I opted for the spinach pesto.
I then added half of a two inch cube of feta & the roasted onions.
I then added grated cheese & mushrooms
then I added some arrabiata & the roasted peppers
then some chopped mozzarella & the roasted garlic
then a layer of spinach & then more feta & mushrooms
then chopped tomatoes & more arrabiata
then I got crazy with raw bell peppers & black olives
I put chopped peppers inside each ring – using the two colors the ring was not. For example: red & yellow chopped pepper in the orange rings & so on.
I baked this for about 30 minutes.
I let it set for ten minutes & removed the springform ring. I let it sit another 5 minutes but I was anxious to cut into it while it was hot so the melted cheese would still be soft & gooey. I had to saw very gingerly with a finely serrated knife – as if I was cutting glass – to keep my FAR too fragile thin crust from shattering. The contents spilled out – FAR wetter than I’d anticipated. But – even in Chicago – this is a knife & fork dish, not something you eat with your hands. I put my very sloppy slice on a plate & sampled it. It really does taste pretty amazing! Just a tad disappointing on the presentation angle. Note that the liquid is brown – not red (from the tomato sauce). This makes me think the roasted peppers & the mushrooms are my main culprits wetting the bed here. But even so – the most significant failing on this version is the way too thin crust. Don’t try that at home, kids.
If you endeavor to make one of these – please go big or go home with the crust & try to limit wet ingredients to a minimum. With these adjustments – you should do fine. And you can put any old things in these guys: cooked meats, a second layer of crust in the middle, any of an infinite variety of vegetables & cheeses. So get creative!!!