All my previous attempts at deep dish were edible. All involved a cornmeal crust, cheese on the bottom, then sausage and a tomato concoction with grated parmesan cheese dusted on the top. The best recipe came from the ChiTrib food section. While it was ok there was no comparison to Gino’s East or Uno’s (I did not include Lou Malnatti’s or Giordanos because they are not worth including, IMHO).
Yesterday afternoon after re-reading the article and accompanying recipe I knew this would be a two to three hour prep so I started early. The magic (and work) is in the crust, as all pizza is. To me, cooking is easy and baking is not. Pizza is a combo of both.
It’s necessary to have a good stand mixer. We have had this Kitchen Aid top of the line mixer for more than 25 years. We have used it to make everything from bread to cookies to grinding meat for home made sausage and chili. It is worth every penny, if you like to cook.
The Cook’s secret to making the crust is to roll out the flour/cornmeal dough, spread softened butter on top and then roll it up. This is a pastry maker’s trick. It leaves layers of hard butter in the dough making a flaky crust. Sounds good to me. Then the dough is divided in half and set to rise in a bowl in the refrigerator so the butter never melts.
Their sauce concoction was superior to most. I could put that into a bowl and eat it by itself.
We cooked the sausage before adding it to the pizza. I think removing as much fat and grease is good. Chicago deep dish places do not, they let the sausage cook on the pizza in the oven.
The Cook’s recipe did not recommend using a stone and they also recommended cooking in an oven at 425 degrees. More on that later.
What I like about cooking at home over restaurants is that cooking is an activity I enjoy and it can involve others in a social activity. I think of it as entertainment. It costs less in most cases. You shed the guilt of tipping for poor service and less than expected quality. You can enjoy a cocktail and some wine and not worry about driving home and getting pinched. But above all it is most rewarding when the results are spectacular, and that happens most of the time for me.
This deep-dish turned out great. I may tweak a few things next time. The crust could have been crispier, maybe I will try using the stone. 1lb. of cheese was not enough divided between two 13” pies. Next time I will use more mozz cheese and add in some provolone.
All in all the results were what I have come to expect from Cook’s Illustrated. At LITGM we do not shill for anyone, as Dan likes to say. But shilling for Cook’s is not bad, hell, the magazine has no ads. It’s more like Consumer Reports and they don’t shill for anyone either.
UPDATE: I offered to send a copy of the recipe to readers. A few have requested it. Sorry, but common sense (and the law) prevailed. It would be a copyright infringement for me to send scanned pages from the publication. At LITGM we obey the law.
If you want the full recipe you may obtain it here.
They offer a free 14 day trial so it should not cost anything.