Pumpkin Deep Dish Pizza

>> Thursday, September 19, 2013

I've regained my appetite (good sign) + the food must go on! I stay sane by stepping into the kitchen to cook. We've been enjoying our freezer meals, but I've made stuff from scratch more than I intended to this month simply because I needed that time to think. To knead dough and zone out. Those of you who love cooking and baking understand. Kitchen therapy for the win!

So, it started way back when with pumpkin garlic knots then pumpkin pizza then pumpkin pesto rolls. Now I'm dishing up deep dish pizza with a new crust recipe that lends better to this style dish. I've made three different variations, and this is the one that has worked the best. If I haven't yet convinced you to try pumpkin in your dough, this might be the time to trust me.

For those of you new to my favorite crust: Why put pureed pumpkin in place of water? Is it just jumping on the fall trend train? Nope. It adds nutrition, obviously, but also a great moisture content and more complex flavor.

I could just be crazy, though. Probably.


PUMPKIN DEEP DISH CRUST
enough for two 10 inch pies

What you'll need . . .
  • 1 package yeast (2-1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1/4 cup warm water 
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (or homemade)
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup 
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 2 cups bread flour (give/take)
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Method . . .

  1. In a large bowl, combine the yeast with the water and let proof (get frothy)
  2. Then add in the pumpkin puree, oil, and maple syrup. Whisk well until totally combined. 
  3. Fold in the flour and salt and eventually work to kneading with your hands for several minutes. Start with 1-1/2 cups flour and work up to more until you form an elastic, non-sticky ball. 
  4. Then place back in the bowl, drizzle with some olive oil, cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel, and let rise for 2 hours. 
  5. Punch down, divide into two balls -- use one per pizza. Dough stores in the refrigerator for two days or freeze it for a month.


// DEEP DISHIN'

To make deep dish pizza -- you flip your notions about this dish upside down. The cheese actually goes on FIRST and is then covered with sauce of your choice.

Whoa.
  • Preheat your oven to 475 degrees F. Lightly oil a 10" (or 8" if you want a lot of crust overlap) pan. I used a springform pan for a few of the pizzas and like how it worked better than a standard cake pan. Just my preference!
  • Take your dough and press it into the pan, distributing evenly and working up the sides almost like you'd do for a pie crust.
  • Start with a layer of provolone cheese covering the entire bottom. This will help keep the crust beneath from turning soggy. Then sprinkle with shredded mozzarella.
  • Add a layer of sauce just a bit thicker than you'd normally use on a traditional pizza. You want to cover the cheese below, but not drown it.
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan or other cheese and then bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until edges are browned and cheese is melted (you can cut to check).
  • Let cool 5-10 minutes before slicing.
  • It took me a few goes for my pizza to turn out "right" -- so don't be surprised if you're first try yields too-thick crust or not-crisp-enough, etc. You'll get the hang of it quickly. It's just a different animal.

What sauce you use is up to you.

Here are a few suggestions -- pesto works great, too:
The weekend is a perfect time to try out new recipes, especially pizza recipes, so I hope you'll consider this one for a go.

Happy Friday, everyone!

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