Puffy Pizza Pies

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Last week, Bill and I tried a new pizza recipe! Instead of our usual cuisinart, thin-crust pizza, we tried this recipe for cast iron skillet pizza! There were two things that intrigued me: 1. The cast-iron skillet bit. I’m totally in love with mine! 2. Brussels sprouts on pizza!

The pizzas turned out pretty awesome, but I have to say, I’m probably going to stick to my thin-crust from now on. These babies were FILLING! We made two: one traditionally caprese and one with shaved brussels sprouts and sausage (above.) They were great leftovers, but they were also sort of messy. This is definitely fork and knife pizza.

This actually reminds me of some pizza I had at an amazing American pizza place in Tallinn, Estonia. It was the most authentic American experience I had in my 4 months in Russia/Eastern Europe, and it looked like this:

Pizza Americana, Tallinn, Estonia, November 2008.

Pizza Americana, Tallinn, Estonia, November 2008.

This definitely brought back memories. I loved my little weekend in Tallinn. I was there in the middle of my study abroad experience in St. Petersburg, Russia. One weekend it was looking super grim in Russia, so I decided to take a little vacation all by myself. It was amazing to have a free weekend to just do whatever I wanted! I had Estonian food, African food, American food, and Italian food. After three months of Russian food, I was in HEAVEN.

But back to this pizza… here’s the recipe!

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Cast Iron Skillet Brussels Sprouts Pizza
From How Sweet It Is

Note: We obviously changed up the ingredients, but her version also sounds pretty great! We just didn’t have any bacon around (shame on us!!)

Ingredients:

crust (NOTE: this recipe makes TWO doughs for skillet pizza)
1 1/8 cups warm water
3 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt

pizza (NOTE: these ingredients are for ONE pizza)
6 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
1 shallot, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 pound brussels sprouts, stems removed and thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 ounces provolone cheese, freshly grated
4 ounces fontina cheese, freshly grated
2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

crust
In a large bowl, combine water, yeast, honey and olive oil. Mix with a spoon, then let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add in 2 1/2 cups flour and salt, stirring with a spoon until the dough comes together but it still sticky. Using your hands, form the dough into a ball and work in the additional 1/2 cup flour, kneading it on a floured surface for a few minutes. Rub the same bowl with olive oil then place the dough inside, turning to coat. Cover with a towel and place in a warm place to rise for about 1 1/2 hours.

After the dough has risen, punch it down and place it back on the floured surface. Sometimes I work in a few more sprinkles of flour if the dough is sticky. This amount of dough yielded 2 pizza crusts for my 12-inch cast iron skillet. If you’re using an 8-inch, you may get 3 doughs, but you also may just want to stick with 2 thicker doughs. Divide the dough evenly in half (or thirds). Place one dough on a well-floured pizza peel and roll into a round about the size of your skillet.

make the pizza + the cast iron skillet method
Heat a large skillet (preferably NOT the skillet you are going to cook your pizza in) over medium heat and add bacon. Fry until crispy and fat is rendered. Remove crispy bacon with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of bacon grease from the skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low and add shallot. Cook for 5 minutes until soft, then add garlic, sliced brussels, salt and pepper, stirring well to coat. Cook for 6-8 minutes, tossing occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.

At this point, place an oven rack directly under your broiler and preheat your broiler to the highest setting. Additionally, place your cast iron skillet on the stovetop burner, turning the heat on high. You want to heat the skillet for 10 minutes. If it begins to smoke a lot, you can reduce the heat a bit. But you want it HOT.

While the skillet is heating, begin placing your toppings on your dough. Remember, the dough MUST be on a well-floured pizza peel (or surface) so you can simply slide the entire thing into the skillet. Add about 2-3 ounces of cheese to your dough, then cover with the brussels sprouts mixture and the bacon. Top with the remaining fontina, provolone and parmesan.

Place a potholder or thick towel on the handle of the skillet (it will be sooo hot). Carefully slide the pizza into the skillet, dough side down. Don’t worry if a few toppings or pieces of cheese slice onto the surface – it will be totally fine. After about 30 seconds, turn off the burner, grab the skillet and pop it in the oven, right under the broiler. Broil for 1 minute, the using the potholder, grab the handle and rotate 180 degrees, broiling for only 1 more minute. Remove immediately and place on the stovetop. Let cool slightly for about 5 minutes, then use a large spatula to remove the pizza. INDULGE!

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1 Comment

Filed under Pizzas

One response to “Puffy Pizza Pies

  1. Karla M.

    Wow, these look really tasty. I love the addition of brussels sprouts. I had no idea cooking pizza in a skillet was like flash-cooking it under a broiler. That is great if you don’t want to heat your oven to 415 degrees for 30 minutes, especially during the warmer months. Such a good idea, thanks!
    : )

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