Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Pepperoni Pan Pizza

I love the TV show Cook's Country which is part of America's Test Kitchen and can be found on the local PBS channels. Both shows are great because 1) you get to see the recipe made from start to finish, 2) because they try many, MANY versions of the recipe to bring it to perfection, and 3) then you can go to their website and get the recipes! Well, you can get the ATK recipes free, the CC ones will cost you.

Ever since the switch to digital (my tiny kitchen TV has rabbit ears) I cannot get the PBS channel anymore, which really makes me mad - that was my favorite channel! On Saturdays PBS would air a bunch of cooking shows and I would prep food for the week or clean the fridge or stove while learning more about ribs or pie crust or tilapia. >sigh<

Anyway, I caught an episode of CC last week (on the living room TV which has cable) and they made Pepperoni Pan Pizza. You know, the pan pizza with the delicious "fried" crust? So since I know the CC recipes are not free, I wrote down the ingredients and instructions and I will share them with you for free! Here ya go:

PEPPERONI PAN PIZZA (makes 2 - 9" pizzas in round cake pans)

2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 pkg. instant yeast
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup skim milk, warmed to 100 degrees (about 1 minute in the microwave)
8 tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 tsp. sugar

1) Preheat oven to 200 degrees and turn it off as soon as it reaches that temp.
Put flour and salt in bowl of stand mixer, mix on low 20 seconds, then add yeast and mix on low again. Pour warm milk in measuring cup and add 2 tbsp. oil and the sugar. With mixer on low speed, pour in milk mixture. Mix on low until combined, then mix on medium for 5 minutes. You may need to scrape sides of bowl with a spatula during the 5 minutes.
2) Knead dough by hand on a floured surface a few times, then place in a lightly oiled glass bowl, turning to coat dough with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in oven for 30 minutes. (While dough is rising make sauce and shred cheese.)
3) Remove dough from oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured surface, cut dough in half. Roll out each half to 7 inch diameter. Place dough on knuckles, like a pizza maker, and gently rotate and pull dough out to 9 inches. Pour 3 tbsp. olive oil each in bottom of two 9 inch cake pans and swirl gently to coat bottom - do not get oil on sides. Then put in the dough, pressing if needed to make it touch the sides of the cake pans.

Sauce & Toppings: (make while dough is rising)
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
15 oz. can crushed tomatoes
salt & pepper (I used 1/2 tsp. pepper, 1 1/2 tsp. salt)
3oz. package pepperoni
1 - 16oz. part-skim mozzarella ball/block, shredded

1) In a medium pot over low heat, cook garlic in oil for 2 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and cook for 15 minutes. Season with salt & pepper. (makes enough for 4 pizzas, so freeze the extra)
2) Line a plate with 2 paper towels, place pepperoni in a single layer on towels, cover with 2 more towels. Cook on high in microwave for 30 seconds.
3) Top each crust with 1/2 cup of the sauce, then 1/2 the pepperoni, then 1/2 the cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Let cool 1 minute before removing pizza from pans.

Whew! Zapping the pepperoni in the microwave renders a lot of the grease so your pizza isn't as greasy. The 3 tbsp. of oil in the bottom of the cake pan actually fries the dough a little and gives it that wonderful crispiness. You can use pre-shredded cheese, but that cheese has a chemical on it to keep the cheese from clumping in the bag and it does not melt as well. If you use part-skim instead of whole milk your pizza will be less greasy, but still gooey.

Now I have to say this: THIS PIZZA WAS DELICIOUS!!! It was better than take-out! The crust was wonderful, the sauce was perfect, the cheese was gooey. I cannot believe I made something SO good! I am still amazed. I might have to get a subscription to Cook's Country now.

I love pan pizza almost as much as I love deep dish pizza. I was thrilled to hear I could make pan pizza in cake pans; I have never made deep dish pizza because I do not have the deep cast iron dish that the Chicago pizzerias use and I refuse to try without one. Do you know why deep dish pizza has the cheese on the bottom and the sauce on top? Because the long, high temps needed to cook it would burn the cheese if it were on top.

Now go make this pizza because you will LOVE it!

Happy eating!


  1. that sounds delicious!! I didn't know that about deep-dish pizza why the cheese was on the bottom; I learned something new today!

    I think I'll save this recipe for the pizza for when it cools down a bit; sounds like a fun project to make with my hubby (who does most of our cooking :)


  2. What a wonderful recipe! It does sound delicious. And what a good idea to render the fat from the pepperoni, I would've never thought to do that. Thanks!

  3. I can't wait to try this, pizza in a cake pan??? What a great idea! :)

  4. I've made this recipe every week since seeing it on Cook's Country. It's delicious!