26 March 2011

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza for Invite a Blogger to Your Table

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza
For my challenge this month for Invite a Blogger to Your Table I wanted to relive the past and recreate a pizza I used to order as a teenager at Mother's Restaurant growing up in Southern Ontario. Although I love the crispy Napoli-style pizzas of today I was longing for a deep dish pizza. You know the kind, where you have no choice but to eat your pizza with a knife and fork, because it has an inch of extra rations of stringy cheese and your favourite toppings. Back in the day this was known as Chicago Deep Dish Pizza but since I have never eaten pizza in Chicago I don't know if it was truly authentic, all I know is that I have been craving it lately!! I decided to enlist my friend Giz of Equal Opportunity Kitchen to recreate these memories with me for this event. It was fun cooking with you Giz!!!! Thanks for sharing a table with me.

I don't know about you but I love to challenge myself. Your assignment, if you choose to accept it, is to "Invite a Blogger to Your Table"! This is a fun event and an outlet for us each to challenge ourselves and create stronger bonds within the blogging community. Nothing is more intimate, or more effective at creating friendships than cooking and sharing meals together, even if it is virtually. But hey, if you live in the same area as another blogger what's to stop you from gathering in your own kitchen for your challenge.

 With this ongoing event I will challenge myself and one blogging friend at a time throughout the year as the seasons change. I hope this inspires you to make new friends in the blogging community as well as create something you have been itching to try.Your choice of recipe can be anything you would like it to be.

 There is nothing to join, you just grab a friend and the avatar link back to More Than Burnt Toast and get cracking! Is there something you have been wanting to make and need feedback and encouragement from a friend to create on your blog? Is there a special dish that you just have to share sweet or savoury? Do you just want the fun of collaborating with other bloggers to come up with a tasty dish you feel you and your readers might enjoy. This is a fun event that creates friendships throughout the blogosphere. Invite someone you have followed for years or a perfect stranger. It is up to you!

Here are the "rules" as I see it for now.

1) Choose a dish to prepare and invite 1(one) blogger to create that dish with you. You can source your recipe from a cookbook, magazine, blog or any other source. Your dish can be sweet or savoury; easy or complicated.

2) Decide upon a date that you can both mutually post your recipe within a 4 week time frame.

3) Link back to More Than Burnt Toast http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com/ somewhere in your post as the caretaker of this event.

4) Please feel free to use the Avatar/Badge above "Invite a Blogger to Your Table".

5) Once you have made your dish with your blogging friend or friends and posted it, you can choose to STOP or CONTINUE on and "invite another blogger to your table" to make something DIFFERENT on a mutually agreeable date within the next 4 week time frame.

6) If you would like to please e-mail Val at bloggerstable(AT)gmail(DOT)com for no other reason than to let her know you have participated. She would love to see what you have accomplished.

7) Cut and paste these instructions into your post and contact a friend. Let magic happen and let's get cooking!!!

Who knew that deciding to make authentic Chicago Deep Dish Pizza I would come across such controversy on the Internet. Most recipes I found used cornmeal in the crust but it has been proven time and time again that corn meal never has been part of the crust recipe of any of the great Chicago deep-dish pizzerias.  But I also read that some people like cornmeal added in their crust and I have no problem with that either. Each to their own! To please all sides of the equation my compromise was to add a sprinkling of cornmeal to the bottom of the pan and not in the crust for two reasons...so that the crust does not stick as well as adding a slight crunchiness to the crust.

I opted for a recipe based on a recipe by Cook's Illustrated for the dough and sauce. They are known for perfecting their recipes. I added my favourite toppings and used a combination of provolone and mozzarella sliced cheese and omitted the cornmeal. In my research I read that the cornmeal gives the crust a very undesirable sandy and gritty texture unlike any pseudo Chicago deep-dish pizza that I have ever eaten so I just felt I did not want to take the chance. If you enjoy cornmeal in your crust please feel free to add it in.

The lamination technique described herein and on their website looked interesting. The method for the recipe is not very time consuming. It involves spreading one layer of butter and a few quick folds, so it only added a few minutes to the dough preparation. Nothing like making croissant dough or puff pastry!!! The goal is NOT to get the paper-thin layers of a French pastry, merely to introduce a few layers to the crust. I thought the texture was pretty close to what I have had in the past but quite a bit different than the more bread-like crust of my favourite pizzeria in my hometown. The recipe is an excellent starting point to tinker with, and I think the lamination process adds a lot.

The Verdict: It wasn't the pizza of my dreams since I prefer a nice chewy crust like my local pizzeria, but it did take me back in time to when I was a teenager enjoying a Mother's pizza with my friends and needed to eat pizza with a knife and fork.

Also don't forget that today is Earth Hour where we shut our light off at 8:30 PM around the world.

**Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza**

Makes two 9-inch pizzas, serving 4 to 6.
Published January 1, 2010. From Cook's Illustrated.

Place a damp kitchen towel under the mixer and watch it at all times during kneading to prevent it from wobbling off the counter. Handle the dough with slightly oiled hands, or it might stick. The test kitchen prefers Dragone Whole Milk Mozzarella; part-skim mozzarella can also be used, but avoid preshredded cheese, as it does not melt well. Our preferred brands of crushed tomatoes are Tuttorosso and Muir Glen. Grate the onion on the large holes of a box grater.


3 1/4 cups (16 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
1/2 cup (2 3/4 ounces) yellow cornmeal (if you want to add it and enjoy it in your crust)
2 teaspoons sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 1/4 cups water (10 ounces), room temperature
3 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted, plus 4 tablespoons, softened
1 teaspoon plus 4 tablespoons olive oil
Sprinkling of cornmeal


2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
dash of salt
2 garlic cloves , minced
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Ground black pepper


1 pound mozzarella cheese , sliced (I used a combination of mozzarella and provolone)
1/2 ounce grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/4 cup)
Toppings of your choice: mushrooms, onions, peppers, pepperoni, capiocolla, feta.....)

FOR THE DOUGH: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook mix flour, salt, sugar, and yeast on low speed until incorporated, approximately 1 minute. To your dry ingredients add water and melted butter and mix on low speed until fully combined, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping sides and bottom of bowl occasionally. Increase speed to medium and knead until dough is glossy and smooth and pulls away from sides of bowl, 4 to 5 minutes. (Dough will only pull away from sides while mixer is on. When mixer is off, dough will fall back to sides.)

 Coat  a large bowl with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Transfer dough to bowl, turning once to oil top; cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in volume, 45 to 60 minutes.

FOR THE SAUCE:  In medium saucepan over medium heat melt butter. Add grated onion, oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated and onion is golden brown, approximately 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and sugar, increase heat to high, and bring to simmer. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced to 2 1/2 cups, 25 to 30 minutes. Off heat, stir in basil and oil, then season with salt and pepper.

TO LAMINATE THE DOUGH: Adjust oven rack to lower position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Using rubber spatula, turn dough out onto dry work surface and roll into 15- by 12-inch rec-tangle. Using offset spatula, spread softened butter over surface of dough, leaving 1/2-inch border along edges. Starting at short end, roll dough into tight cylinder. With seam side down, flatten cylinder into 18- by 4-inch rectangle. Cut rectangle in half crosswise. Working with 1 half, fold into thirds like business letter; pinch seams together to form ball. Repeat with remaining half. Return balls to oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise in refrigerator until nearly doubled in volume, 40 to 50 minutes.

5. Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with 2 tablespoons olive oil each. Transfer 1 dough ball to dry work surface and roll out into 13-inch disk about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer dough to pan by rolling dough loosely around rolling pin and unrolling into pan. Lightly press dough into pan, working into corners and 1 inch up sides. If dough resists stretching, let it relax 5 minutes before trying again. Repeat with remaining dough ball.

6. For each pizza, sprinkle 2 cups mozzarella evenly over surface of dough. Spread 1 1/4 cups tomato sauce over cheese and sprinkle 2 tablespoons Parmesan over sauce. Bake until crust is golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove pizza from oven and let rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison. Best Blogger Tips


  1. A scrumptious pizza! So mouthwatering.



  2. Mother's! I had forgotten about Mother's. My husband and I used to eat there quite a bit when we were first married, almost 30 years ago. I made this pizza last year, I quite enjoyed it. You're making me crave a slice now and it's only 8:35 a.m., lol. Have a great weekend Val!

  3. Val this pizza look amazing and delicious! perfect! gloria

  4. That time frame is about right Brenda!!!

  5. That is a nice pizza Val. I don't know the last time I had Chicago style pizza. Now I like thin crust pizza and I usually add cornmeal in my crust. Looks yummy.

  6. It was a fun challenge - we should do it again. Your pizza turned out really well and wasn't the sauce amazing???

  7. I think the closest I've come to making a deep dish pizza is when I used my cast iron skillet, and it wasn't close to anything like this. Now you've got me craving it!

    What a lovely idea you have with your invite a blogger to the table event. I'm wondering right now about who and what. :)

  8. Interesting bit here
    about the various geographical pizza styles. Lots of folks think Uno's is a cheezy franchise, a la Applebee's, but they really did invent the deep dish pizza back in the '40s. Cheers!

  9. I know this is kind of heretical seeing as how I'm a NY-er and all...but I LOVE Chicago pizza! This looks fantastic!

  10. I don't think I've ever had chicago style pizza. And I'm embarrassed to admit that.

  11. I'm equal opportunity when it comes to pizza- I like all kinds. This one looks delicious! :)

  12. Your pizza looks so delicious. I favor thin crust but this looks so inviting

  13. I'm not from Chicago, but it sure looks delicious to me. I remember making this type of pizza a lot about 20 or so years ago. I think I'll resurrect my old Chicago-style pizza pan.

  14. Oh, the pizzas of Napoli ... you make me long for a simple tomato/mozzarela pizza baked in a stone oven and eaten in the street on my way to Pompei ...

  15. I love the deep dish pizza - it looks awesome!

  16. perfect pizza pie just the way we love it! Thanks for your visit and letting me know about the blog, its so frustrating.... love htose pepper scones going to check them out and make those soon they look wonderful!

  17. This looks as good as it gets Val...truly delish! Thankfully the lad made sure we all remembered to turn the lights off on the 26th!

  18. Home made pizza is regularly on the menu for dinner at my house, but I've never thought to make the deep dish version. Thanks for this reminder of an old favorite through this yummy recipe. Must try!

  19. Your pizza looks wonderful and the recipe comes from a great source. Chicago deep dish is a nice pie, but not always the manna that it is cracked up to be. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  20. Wow, it does look delicious, even though I am a crispy, thin-crust, pizza lover, myself.

  21. You know I love this challenge and will definitely be doing it again - when I start to cook again (after Eat Alberta)... and this looks like a really fun challenge! I am a thin crusted gal - but would never say no to this! YUM. Were you aware that Heavenly Housewife did the pasta invited a blogger to your table with two others?
    You will find it on her site a couple of weeks ago. She did cite you, but didn't exactly follow the rules of including the photo and the instructions for the challenge - which I thought was too bad. But, was thrilled to see she followed through! Knew she would - and what a story it was.

  22. That pizza looks so thick and good!

  23. so much cheese--gah! it looks good. no offense to ny pizza, but it's a snack while chicago-style is a MEAL! :)

  24. Chicago-style, New York-style, Napoli style . . . I'll take any of them ANY day. Yours looks delicious, Val!

  25. Your pizza looks delicious! I used to live in Chicago, and my favourite kind is the stuffed pizza. One piece is as thick as a wedge of cheesecake--a meal in itself. There are actually TWO layers of dough, with the sauce on the very top. Not for the faint of heart...


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