Non-Traditional Deep Pan Margherita Pizza
I know, I know it’s not the perfect circular pizza but then again most of us don’t lead a ‘perfect’ life and the rustic approach I’m sure you’ll agree has its own charms.
Deep pillow-like bread base, topped with rich oregano-heavy tomato sauce, that’s right no basil! but feel free to add some if you have it to hand.
Once out of the oven
it they (recipe makes two 9 inch pizzas) get topped with freshly grated mature cheddar, yes British cheese on an Italian-American pizza, don’t worry I’m sure it’s been done many times before, but again use any cheese you like.
Many people top pizza with cheese before it goes in the oven but this way the cheese melts but remains smooth and silky, those pools of fat just scream eat me! Also it’s the way Algerian’s (i.e. my husband’s influence on my pizza making) do pizza except they grate over frozen soft cheese, i can tell you Algerian pizza is the best I’ve ever tasted yet I’ve never thought about repeating the soft cheese thing myself. Maybe I should.
A few words of homely advice before pizza making:
Before shoving that deep pan margherita pizza in the oven – place your pizza pan, baking sheet , pizza stone on the lowest shelf and leave it there while the oven preheats to its highest temperature and you shape those pizza bases.
Shaping pizza – Once you have rolled the dough into a rough circle, pick it up and stretch it from the center to the edge allowing gravity to do most of the work for you. The center should be thinner than the edge (yes I know the picture of the slice looks opposite to what I said but honestly I did stretch it! Remember when I said it isn’t P.E.R.F.E.C.T). You can go back to rolling after stretching and repeat the process until you’re happy with your circle. Make the bases a bit bigger than 9inch as they will retract slightly while resting.
This stretchy business is necessary so that the pizza base will be cook all the way through instead of having a soggy raw center. I promise you I’ve had no training in a pizzeria, it’s all about confidence and I’m sure you can do it!
Deep Pan Margherita Pizza
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Yield: 2 x 9 inch pizzas
Serving Size: 3-4
A trio of delights American pizza base, Italian tomato sauce and British cheddar cheese.
- 350 grams strong bread flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 teaspoon fast-action dried yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- hand-warm water
- cornmeal(polenta) or semolina
- glug of olive oil
- 1 x 400 gram tin tomatoes (i use cirio brand, chopped)
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon oregano, dried
- fine sea salt
- black pepper, ground
- freshly grated mature cheddar or cheese of choice
- Pizza dough: in the bowl of your stand mixer or a large bowl put flour, add salt and stir together with a knife. Add yeast and sugar, stir again. Make a well in center add olive oil and 3/4 cup hand-warm water and stir to form a dough, adding more water if needed. Knead for 5 minutes in a stand mixer or 10 minutes by hand. Leave dough to rest in a lightly oiled bowl at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Pizza sauce: In a medium sauce pan over low-medium heat warm a glug of olive oil then add tomatoes, sugar, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper and cook over low heat until the sauce had reduced to desired consistency, about 5-10 minutes remember it will thicken slightly whilst it cools. set aside
- Shaping pizza bases: Once the dough has doubled in size, knock the dough back by kneading for a minute then divide dough in 2, cover and set aside for 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile Place baking sheets / pizza pans on lower racks of oven and preheat oven to it’s highest setting. Dust work surface with polenta then working with one base at a time, roll out to a rough circle about 6inch/ 15cm diameter then pick up the dough and quickly but carefully go all the way around the bases stretching from center to the edge allowing gravity to do most of the work for you until you crust is thicker than the center. Put back on the work surface and roll out to tidy up the circle aim for just over 9 inch 23cm
- Cooking pizza: wearing oven gloves remove backing sheet / pizza pan from oven, dust with polenta/semolina then on with the pizza base, top with the sauce and into the oven to cook for 12-15 minutes. On removing from oven top with grated cheese. Slice & Serve.
Make sure you use an authentic Italian brand of tomatoes such as cirio, it makes a huge difference to the sauce. Failing that, make sure to add some tomato paste to the sauce. No bread flour? no problem, use plain / all-purpose but make sure to knead it for 5-10 minutes more. By all means cut the recipe in half to make 1 pizza to serve 2 or make the full amount of dough and after it’s risen pop a portion into a freezer bag and freeze to use at a later date. Allow the dough to defrost before shaping.