September 30, 2011

Make Your Own Pizza - New York Crust

NY Crust Pizza recipe

Sometimes when I'm real hungry, something will happen: maybe the word 'pizza' will occur to me, or I'll get a sudden whiff of that yeasty, hot, impossible to resist baking pizza smell; and then from that moment on I can't think of eating anything besides pizza.

The pizza in Hong Kong is okay but it somehow always tastes 'Chinese' (which is okay just weird) plus it's definitely on the expensive side for the teensy tiny pizza sizes you end up with.  A large pizza here is similar in size to a small elsewhere.  And I can eat alot of pizza- my grand record being 12 large slices (real 'large' slices) in a old-styled pizza duel.  Pretty good for a skinny Chinese girl, eh?  Well, to tell the secret truth, I threw up the last couple of slices in the ladies room as fast as I could get there without being found out.

NY Crust Pizza

So, to satisfy my sometimes pizza urges, we have tried to make homemade pizza a few times but sadly our results were so-so. Until recently that is. We discovered this funny recipe that gave us dough that was more like gummy soup but promised pizza like you can get in New York. 

So having loved the pizza that we discovered when exploring the New York streets, we decided to give this recipe a chance. Boy, were we glad that we tried making our own pizza. Finally, really gorgeous pizza coming out of our little oven. And the crust!  Chewy inside, crispy outside gorgeously tasty pizza crust!  Best pizza ever!

NY Crust Pizza

The recipe is real easy, as it should be, and the only thing to beware is to prepare the dough one day in advance so that the dough can rest and develop overnight in the fridge.  And also you should prepare the tomato sauce a bit in advance so that the flavors have time to meld together.  

Other than that, you don't need any of the fancy pizza making stuff:  I used our cranky, ancient oven (or oversized toaster oven, some might say) and no pizza stone or anything, just an old beat-up baking pan and a chef's knife to slice the slices.  It still turned out excellent, one of the best pizzas we have ever had, so there's no excuse anymore:  Make your own Pizza!

NY Crust Pizza
New York Crust Pizza Recipe
(3 nos. 10" pies) Prep time: 12 hrs 10 mins  Cook time: 8 mins

    Pizza Dough
    Adapted from 'here'  (See our Improved Pizza Dough recipe here.)
    Pizza Sauce
    Pizza Toppings
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 25 slices pepperoni
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 2 cups grated mozzarella
  • 3 sprigs of fresh basil, large leaves cut chiffonade, small leaves plucked out intact
  • 1 tbsp virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Pour water in large mixing bowl, add salt, stir to dissolve, add yeast and wait a couple of minutes to make sure the yeast is active (it will foam and blossom).  Add flour and mix.  Using a hand mixer, mix on low setting for 10 minutes.

Flour your working surface and knead dough by hand, adding the extra flour a bit at a time until the dough can keep to a very soft mushy shape.  The dough will be really, really sticky, so be patient and just try to get it to form somewhat of a ball shape.

Spread the olive oil in the bottom of large bowl and drop the dough in, turning the dough to oil all sides.  Cover and put in the fridge for 10 hours or overnight.

On the 2nd day, let the dough come up to room temperature. Or you can make the dough early in the day and bake the pizza that night.  It works just fine with say two to three hours in the fridge as well but for more flavour in the dough you should let rise in the fridge for longer.  Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F (260 C).  Also heat up whatever you will use to cook the pizza in or on, ie. pizza stone, baking pan, etc.

Mix up all the ingredients for the Pizza Sauce.  Be sure to taste and adjust to your liking.  Once it tastes good and pizza saucy, let it sit at room temperature for at least an 1/2 hour.

Don't worry if the dough is still really sticky.  I think it is the wetness of the dough that makes this pizza crust rise so beautifully in the oven.  Divide dough into 3 equal pieces.  Lightly flour your working surface and roll out the dough, leaving a thicker part around the edges.  It's easier sometimes to work the thicker edges with your fingers.  Add more flour as necessary to your working surface to keep the dough from sticking.  If the dough sticks to you, lightly dust fingers with flour.  

Take the hot pizza baking pan or stone from the oven, lightly sprinkle with flour and place the rolled out Pizza Dough on.  Spread the Pizza Sauce on lightly (don't smother it with sauce), sprinkle the cheese on evenly and then put on all your toppings except the basil.  Sprinkle with olive oil and add sea salt and pepper to taste.  Try to do all this rather quickly.  

Put the pizza in the oven and bake for 6-8 minutes or until the bottom crust in golden brown.  Take out of oven and immediately sprinkle on the chopped and whole basil leaves.  Slice and eat!

(Note:  The original recipe preheats at 500 F and bakes at 500 F for 6-8 minutes.  However, as we have a grumpy ol' granddaddy of an oven, we ended up baking at 350 F for 20 minutes, and then grilling (oven top heat) for another 4 minutes to crisp up the top which worked out beautifully for us.  You just have to watch your oven.)
Have lots of pizza fun and let us know how it goes!



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