Thursday, February 23, 2012

the crust I've been seeking?

It certainly seems to be!

For several years now, I've been trying to perfect homemade pizza crust. While I love my usual, it lacks the crispy crunchy char that I greatly desire, that I see on cooking shows and got at Broadway Pizza when I visited New York City. It's tender, great tasting, and easy, and not much wrong with it except - no char. I've cooked it so many different ways, I can't keep count. Increased temperature, preheating stones for half an hour, pre-cook before topping, and so on and so on.  Still never completely satisfied.

Tonight, thanks to the March 2012 issue of Martha Stewart Living and the 'cooking skillet pizza' article, I have found char.  Crispy-sweet, crunchy perfection.  

Now if this technique will just work on my homemade crust, I'll be ecstatic. 

Skillet Pizza
(adapted from recipe in Martha Stewart Living magazine, March 2012)

One store-bought crust (from the refrigerated section)
Olive oil
Your choice of sauce (tomato, pizza, pesto, whatever you like)
Your choice of toppings
Your choice of cheeses

Preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.  Brush a teaspoon of olive oil on the bottom of a 12-inch cast-iron skillet.  Unroll the pizza dough and spread it around the bottom of the skillet evenly. Brush the edge (about an inch or so) with a little more olive oil. Top with sauce, toppings (personally, I believe less is more), and cheeses. 

Over a medium high heat, on your stove (yes, you heard right), cook the pizza until the bottom is turning golden, approximately 4 minutes. Put in the 500 degree oven and bake until the edges are golden brown and the cheeses are bubbling, about 10 minutes. Remove the very hot skillet carefully from oven, loosen the edges if needed with a knife, and run a spatula underneath - then lift or slide out onto a wooden cutting board or other serving/cutting platter or board. Let cool for a minute or so and then slice and serve and pretend you're on a NYC sidewalk...

This one is Dillon's - he put tomato sauce, pepperoni, and a combination of cheddar and mozzarella cheeses on it.

Trust me - although the bottom looks burnt, it did not taste that way. It had a wonderful charred flavor and although next time I might cut back a half a minute or so on the stove top, it was delicious.

This one is mine - tiny bit of tomato sauce, roasted broccoli, and goat cheese. Mmm. I cooked it in a cast-iron skillet that was smaller and deeper than the 12 inch skillet that we used for the pepperoni - definitely use the 12 inch size, the crust was thinner and crispier for sure.


  1. You're probably going to cry when you find out I don't have a cast iron skillet. But this recipe and technique is a strong temptation. The idea of a crisp -- really crisp -- crust sounds fantastic :-) And welcome back to blogging! I've MISSED you!

  2. :) I MISS YOU TOO! And miss blogging! :) I need to email you with all that's been going on!

    And I need to remedy your cast iron situation!

  3. And I found you at nikkipolani's and I HAVE a cast iron skillet! I'm saving this for my weekend treat - any chance you'd be willing to share your crust recipe? Either crust, I'm looking forward to trying this!

  4. Oh, man, I didn't even realize I had another comment! I don't mind sharing my crust recipe at all; however, I think that with the cast iron method, a store-bought one works better. The char on the bottom provides a bit of sweetness while getting to the char is more difficult on my homemade crust and tends to make a drier crust as well. I do like the homemade crust for a more traditional oven method though! Here is a link to an old blog for you. Thanks for stopping by! I'll be checking out your blog!