Family Advent Calendar : Make Deep Dish Pizza and Watch a Festive Movie


Tonight, it’s a party! We’re going to make our famous Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizzas and settle down to watch a festive film or two. I really want to cheese it up this year, so I’m rooting for White Christmas with a side of Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer. Though, I might be persuaded to watch Santa Claus Conquers the Martians one more time. No matter what, later tonight, I want to finish watching Rare Exports – this absolutely crazy cool Christmas Horror movie [with a kid-hero] from Finland! 

Here’s a reprint of our recipe for our Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizzas, which we first introduced in our amazing, Intergalactic March Break of 2015 – now in recipe card form.

Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizzas
Our homemade tribute to Chicago, where two kids fell in love...Makes 2 pizzas in 9-in spring-form or 9x2-in circular cake pans.
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  1. 2 9-in spring-form or 9×2-in cake pans
  1. 1 1/3 c warm water [95-105 degrees]
  2. 1 [.25 oz] packet active dry yeast
  3. 1 tsp sugar
  4. 3 1/3 all-purpose flour + a bit to season the pans
  5. 1/2 c cornmeal or semolina [we use cornmeal] + a bit to season the pans
  6. 1 tsp salt
  7. 1/4 c vegetable oil [corn oil]
  8. 1/4 c unsalted butter, melted and cooled [or more oil]
  9. olive oil to coat the bowl
  10. For the deluxe, more elaborate crust
  11. 1/3 c unsalted butter, room temperature
  1. [enough for two pizzas, and then some]
  2. 1 tbs butter
  3. 1 tbs olive oil
  4. 1 small onion, finely diced
  5. [optional] 2-6 anchovies in oil from a tin
  6. [optional] .5 tsp red pepper flakes
  7. 1-3 tsp grated garlic [chopped in oil is fine]
  8. 1/4 c red wine or water
  9. 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes or 1 28-0z diced tomatoes drained and blitzed in food processor
  10. 1 tsp sugar
  11. [optional] 1-2 tbs chopped fresh basil
  12. salt and pepper
  13. spices to taste: dried basil, oregano, parsley, fennel seed, etc.
  1. 1 lb mozzarella cheese, grated. [At least 2-3 cups for each pizza]
  2. .5 c parmesean cheese for on top of the sauce
  3. Toppings to taste such as pepperoni, green olive, hot salami, ham, prosciutto, blue cheese, goat cheese, sundried tomatoes, capers, oil - whatever you fancy...
  1. a sauceless pizza with pepperoni and half green olive
  2. and a saucy pizza with hot salami, prosciotto, sun-dried tomatoes in oil, blue cheese, capers, and green olives
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a mixing bowl, combine the 1 1/3 c warm water and the 1 teaspoon of sugar.
  2. With a small spoon, stir gently to combine.
  3. Sprinkle the package of yeast over top, stir gently for just a moment with the spoon, and allow to proof for about 5 minutes.
  4. Attach the dough hook to the mixer.
  5. Turn the mixer on low [or use a spatula and mix by hand].
  6. To the wet ingredients, add 1 1/3 cup of the flour, the 1/2 c corn meal, and the 1 teaspoon of salt and combine.
  7. Add the 1/4 c oil and the 1/4 c cooled melted butter until combined and smooth.
  8. Gradually add the remaining 2 c of flour until the dough comes together but is sticky.
  9. Remove from the bowl and knead gently to form a ball.
  10. Coat a large bowl with oil.
  11. Place the dough in the bowl and rotate to coat all sides.
  12. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm, dark place until doubled in size. [about 1 hour]
  13. Prepare your sauce [or open up a can!], shred your cheese [or open up a sac], and ready your fillings.
  14. If you’re in a rush, skip this next part…and divide risen dough into two equal halves or into the portions you would like to serve your guests.
  1. After the dough has risen, remove it from the bowl and punch it down.
  2. Roll out flat into a large round or square, the size of a cookie sheet.
  3. Slather with the 1/3 cup of softened butter.
  4. Roll dough into a spiral as you would a cinnamon roll.
  5. Slice dough in halves or in the portions you would like to serve to your guests.
  6. Gently form each spiral into a ball.
  7. Replace in the oiled bowl and cover once again.
  8. Let rise on the counter for at least 45 minutes as you prepare you pizza ingredients.
  1. In a sauce-pan, heat the 1 tablespoon each of oil and butter.
  2. Add the small, diced onion and cook until just beginning to brown.
  3. Add the [optional] 2-6 anchovies and stir until disintegrated.
  4. Add the 1-3 teaspoons garlic and the 1/2-teaspoon pepper flakes and cook for just a minute. [Do not let the garlic get brown.]
  5. Add a few splashes of wine or water to deglaze.
  6. Add the 28-oz can crushed tomatoes to the pan.
  7. Add the 1 teaspoon of sugar, stir, and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  8. If you find the sauce is not thick enough, add a bit of tomato paste and simmer for 5-10 more minutes.
  9. Add a few tablespoons of chopped fresh basil and stir just before adding to the pizza.
  1. Heat oven to 450.
  2. Brush pizza pans with olive oil or rub with butter.
  3. If desired, sprinkle the bottom of each pan with a bit of flour and cornmeal
  4. One pizza at a time: Roll dough into a twelve-inch circle [for 9x 2 or 3 in cake or spring-form pans].[For ten inch pans, roll to a 13-in circle. For smaller pans, roll to 12 inches and then use a pizza wheel to cut the dough such that you have the diameter of your pan +3 inches for the sides.
  5. Reserve the remaining dough for breadsticks or mini pizzas. I’ve used a large biscuit cutter to make a lovely hors d’oeuvre pizza or side.]
  6. Press the circlet into the pan.
  7. If you really need to, trim overhang from the tops of the pan. [We don’t bother.]
  8. Brush the dough with olive oil.
  9. Repeat with other pizza crust[s]
  10. Place the grated cheese on the crust [about 2 cups each pie], reserving a bit for on top of your toppings.
  11. Place your toppings on top of the cheese.
  12. Add the small bit of reserved mozzarella to the toppings.
  13. Ladle about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of sauce on the top of the pizza toppings on each pie.
  14. If desired, sprinkle about 1/4 cup parmesean cheese on the top of the sauce.
  15. Lower the temperature of the oven to 425.
  16. Bake the pizzas for about 15 minutes.[While the pizza was baking, we cut mozzarella slices with a small, star-shaped cookie cutter for garnish.]
  17. Cover pizzas with foil.
  18. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, until crust is brown and pizza is cooked through.
  19. If desired, about 3-5 minutes before you pull the pizza out of the oven for good, remove foil and top with additional garnish toppisn like pepperoni or salami bits. [If crust is super-brown, replace foil].
  20. Remove pizza from the oven. [At this point, we topped with our mozzarella stars for fun.]
  21. Let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.


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