Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sometimes they just don't work, friend.

This has happened to me several times. I get an idea in my head to make something I haven't made before and I spend countless hours Googling recipes and comparing them and reading the reviews.
It's no secret that I love pizza. I prefer New York-style but  was nagged by the urge to make a Chicago deep dish pie. I did my typical exhaustive research before deciding on the recipe below.
This pizza is supposed to be a clone of  Giordano's World Famous Chicago Stuffed Pizza.
Giordano's website claims: "Giordano's Pizza was chosen 'Best Pizza in America' by NBC. Chicago Tribune writes 'Giordano's pizza is a must when in Chicago.' New York Times posts, 'The Ultimate Pizza.'"
Blasphemy on the part of the New York Times, if you ask me.

There were 27 reviews and the average rating was 4 and a half out of five stars.
This is the review that convinced me: "Its not often that I am compelled to review something but this recipe is incredible! I've made it once a week for 4 weeks now."
All I can say is, why, oh, why?
I usually don't follow recipes exactly after I've made them at least once the way they are intended- I improvise to tweak them to better suit our taste, but it always irks me to read reviews where the reviewer says instead of this I used that or I didn't have pepperoni so I substituted broccoli and it turned out just great.
So I followed the recipe faithfully as it appeared online. I'm not usually good at following instructions - considering how this pizza turned out, that might not be such a bad thing.

Double Crust Stuffed Pizza


1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar

1 cup warm water (100 degrees F/40 degrees C)

1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 (8 ounce) can crushed tomatoes

1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

1/2 pound bulk Italian sausage

1 (4 ounce) package sliced pepperoni

1 (8 ounce) package sliced fresh mushrooms

1/2 green bell pepper, chopped

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped


1.Combine the white sugar and the warm water in a large bowl or in the work bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle the yeast over the warm sugar water, and let stand for 5 minutes until the yeast softens and begins to form a creamy foam. Stir 1 tablespoon olive oil into the yeast mixture.

2.Stir 1/2 teaspoon salt into the flour. Mix half of the flour mixture into the yeast water, and stir until no dry spots remain. Stir in the remaining flour, a 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes (or mix with dough hook in stand mixer).

3.Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a light cloth, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
4.Combine the crushed tomatoes, brown sugar, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon olive oil, and salt in small saucepan. Cover pan, and cook over low heat until tomatoes start to break down, about 30 minutes.

5.Preheat an oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough into 2 equal pieces. Roll one piece into a 12 inch thin circle. Roll the other half into a thicker, 9 inch circle.

6.Place the 12 inch dough round into an ungreased 9 inch springform pan. Sprinkle dough with 1 cup of cheese. Shape sausage into a 9 inch patty and place in pan on top of the cheese. Layer pepperoni, mushrooms, green pepper, red pepper, and remaining cheese on top of sausage patty. Top with the 9 inch dough round and pinch edges to seal. Cut several 1/2 inch vent holes in the top crust. Spread sauce evenly on the top crust, leaving a 1/2 inch border at the edges.

7.Bake pizza in the preheated oven until the crust is set, the cheese is melted, and the sausage is cooked through, 40 to 45 minutes. Let hot pizza rest for 15 minutes before cutting into wedges and serving.

As you can tell by the picture, this pizza looked good - you might even say it looked tasty, sadly, it was not.
I made two of these nasty things at the same time thinking that if they were are good as they were cracked up to be, one might not be enough.
We didn't touch the second one so I wrapped it up in aluminum foil and made William take it to work.
He gave it to some friends of ours. William is very leery about my ability to judge my own cooking so he passed it on without warning them that I thought the thing was a disaster - several emails were exchanged about this particular "gift."
The recipients tried very hard to be polite and not say how much it sucked.

My next installment of "don't try this at home" will be the mushroom cannelloni that Emily and I made when she was home. Like these pizzas, they sounded like a good idea at the time.