Monday, July 18, 2011

Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza

One of my favorite tv shows is Drinking Made Easy. Its a show about three friends that visit different cities in the US and explore the local drinking culture. As a girl with many guy friends and a fascination with unique drinks and restaurants, this show makes me laugh. The guys try to out drink each other and beat each other at food challenges in the city they are filming in.

They explore bars that have unique drinks, eating challenges or cool locations such as behind center field at Fenway or a speak easy you enter through a hotdog stand. One of their food challenges in Chicago inspired me to make a homemade deep dish pizza. I have also been looking for an excuse to make homemade pizza dough.

Chicago style deep dish pizza starts off with the crust. Its really important you knead the dough correctly.  When kneading dough you want to stretch the fibers in the dough but be careful not to tear the dough. Tearing it will cause the dough to be tough. Kneading your dough the right way will cause your dough to be light, fluffy and delicious. If you have a deep baking pan great, but I made do with a spring form pan. It worked perfectly.

Chicago style deep dish is made with the sauce on top. Among all the recipes I read, the general consensus was you MUST start with the cheese. I used a block of mozzarella and sliced it. Using pre-grated cheese will work too but I once read somewhere that the cheese is treated with something so that it will keep better but it doesn't allow the cheese to melt as well as block cheese.

For the pizza filling

1 can tomatoes with garlic and onion added
1 can gourmet pizza sauce
1 8oz block of mozzarella cheese
Pepperoni, other various toppings (I just used canadian bacon)
1 8 or 9 inch springform pan

I prepared the pizza dough as directed but I cut the recipe in half and had plenty of dough for my 9 inch springform pan.

After I got my dough in the pan I started with the mozzarella cheese I sliced it with a cheese slicer then added a package of canadian bacon. For the sauce I combined a can of gourmet pizza sauce I got at Target and a can of tomatoes for texture. Then I sprinkled with parmesan cheese and baked until it was ooey gooey goodness.

After you take your pizza out of the oven let it sit for about ten minutes so the filling has time to set. If you slice it too soon it will become a mess. Still tastes amazing but a mess. Also keep in mind if you are using a dark springform pan you want to lower the baking temperature about 50 degrees or you will burn your crust. Unless of course you're into that sort of thing.

You can find the pizza dough recipe here.
To check out Drinking Made Easy click here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Margarita Cupcakes

These cupcakes seemed almost too good to be true when I found them. Margaritas and cupcakes, two of the things I love together at last!

I used the Margarita Cupcake recipe from Brown Eyed Baker. I have tried several recipes from her blog and while her results look delicious I have never had a successful venture using a recipe from her blog. This was completely different.

I did however use a slightly modified icing recipe because I personally don't care for the taste of buttercream.

This recipe also contains tequila in the cupcakes, on top of the cupcakes and in the frosting. :) 
This cupcakes was a little denser than what I was used to but was still delicious. The tequila is however, optional but it does make the Margarita Cupcakes well more Margarita-y.

I wish I had a zester to get some really good lime zests to garnish with but all I had to work with was a hand grater. I also used sugar crystals to decorate with instead of salt as the recipe calls for.  I used a 1M star tip to frost the cupcakes with. 

The cupcake and frosting recipe can be found here.