Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cast Iron Skillet Pizza (the best pizza ever)

This is probably a bold statement but this pizza was the best pizza I have ever had in my life.  And not just the best homemade pizza ever -- the.best.pizza.  This recipe is more about a method rather than the pizza toppings.  Go crazy with whatever toppings you like!  All this method takes is a cast iron skillet and a broiler, and it creates an incredibly light, chewy crust that is reminiscent of (and we think even better than) wood fired pizza.  The crust made all the difference in the world.

Oh, and this pizza cooks very quickly -- 3 minutes of active time and 5 minutes for the pizza to sit.  3 minutes!  I do highly recommend making your own crust (my favorite crust is below, also from How Sweet It Is) which does take time to rise.  However, I do have some pizza dough already in the freezer so we can pretty much have this pizza whenever we want...which will be very soon and probably very often.

The toppings I used for the pizza pictured above included crispy bacon, and sauteed chopped Brussels sprouts, garlic and onion.  There was no sauce but for cheese, I used a combination of cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan.  We really liked this combination but feel free to choose your own sauce, cheese and toppings.

Cast Iron Skillet Pizza
Taken from: How Sweet It Is
Makes 2 small pizzas with a 10-inch cast iron skillet, each pizza serving 2-3 (if you have a 12-inch skillet, I recommend using these proportions for the dough)
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pizza toppings of your choice (sauce, cheese, toppings)  -- for our pizza above, I used no sauce, a combination of mozzarella, cheddar and parmesan cheese, and then sauteed onions, garlic, Brussels sprouts (yes, really), and cooked bacon

  1. 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 1 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.
  2. 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 10-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.
the cast iron skillet method
  1. Place an oven rack directly under your broiler and preheat your broiler to the highest setting (make sure your cast iron skillet can fit on the rack under the broiler). 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. (As a caution, the second time I made pizza this way, I accidentally heated my skillet too long -- 20+ minutes -- and it burned the bottom of the pizza.  Still delicious when you scraped off the black but I'll stick to heating for 10 minutes in the future!)
  2. While the skillet is heating, begin placing your toppings on your dough. Remember, the dough MUST be on a well-floured pizza peel (or non-plastic surface, I used an upside down cookie sheet) so you can simply slide the entire thing into the skillet. Add your sauce, cheese, and toppings.  We topped our with some extra cheese on top.
  3. Place a potholder or thick towel on the handle of the skillet (it will be 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. 
  4. Remove immediately and place on the stovetop. Let cool slightly for about 5 minutes, then use a large spatula to remove the pizza.  Enjoy the best pizza.


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