ITALIAN

CAST-IRON PAN PIZZAS

By Sam | 4 April, 2020

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Short of your own personal pizza oven, Cast-Iron Pan Pizzas may well be the best way to achieve a Pizzeria quality Pizza at home. Using a two-step process, whereby you cook your pizza over a high heat on the hob for a few minutes  before transferring to the top shelf of a screaming-hot oven makes for a very good rendition of a pizza oven. The secret, of course, is the Cast-Iron Pan – these pans really hold the heat and allow for the extreme temperatures required to cook your dough in just a matter of minutes.

Don’t believe us? Try it – We guarantee you’ll  think twice about your next delivery.  

This recipe yields enough dough for four medium sized pizzas – as far as toppings are concerned, we have suggested four classics with a little added personality thrown in for good measure. These are merely suggestions however – it’s more about getting the method nailed. Once you have the hang of it, we actively encourage you to experiment!  

MARGHERITA – Tomato, Mozzarella, Basil Oil

FUNGHI – Tomato, Mozzarella, Porcini, Shitake, Pecorino, Hazelnut Pesto 

DIAVOLA – Tomato, Mozzarella, N’Duja, Salami, Chili Honey

NAPOLI – Tomato, Mozzarella, Anchovies, Olives, Capers, Gremolata

  • Author: Sam
Scale

Ingredients

THE DOUGH

500g Strong White Bread Flour, plus extra for dusting

10g Instant Yeast,

10g Salt,

400ml Tepid Water,

Fine Semolina, for dusting

THE SAUCE

1 x 400g Tin of Peeled Plum Tomatoes, San Marzano ideally

1 Small Garlic Clove, finely sliced

56 Basil Leaves,

Generous Pinch of Salt

THE MARGHERITA

50g Buffalo Mozzarella, per pizza

Pinch of Salt and Pepper

BASIL OIL

1 Large Bunch of Basil, about 25g

50ml Olive Oil,

Pinch of Salt and Pepper

THE FUNGHI

50g Buffalo Mozzarella, per pizza

5g Pecorino, shaved, per pizza

Small Handful of Shiitake Mushrooms, broken into 2-3 pieces, per pizza 

Small Handful of Porcini Mushrooms, broken into 2-3 pieces, per pizza 

Pinch of Salt and Pepper

HAZELNUT PESTO

20g Hazelnuts, blanched

10g Pecorino, grated

1 Small Bunch of Basil, about 10g

1 Small Bunch of Parsley, about 10g

50ml Olive Oil,

Pinch of Salt and Pepper

THE DIAVOLA

50g Buffalo Mozzarella, per pizza

20g ‘Nduja, broken into small chunks, per pizza 

34 Large Slices of Cured Salami, such as Calabrian or Pepperoncino, per pizza 

CHILI HONEY

2 tbsp Runny Honey,

½ tsp Chili Flakes

THE NAPOLI

50g Buffalo Mozzarella, per pizza

58 Anchovy Fillets, per pizza 

Small Handful of Black Olives, destoned

Small Handful of Capers,

Pinch of Salt and Pepper

GREMOLATA

Zest of ½ a Lemon,

1 Small Clove of Garlic, minced

1 Small Bunch of Parsley, about 10g

Pinch of Salt and Pepper

METHOD

THE SAUCE

  1. Place the tomatoes, basil leaves, sliced garlic, olive oil and salt into a food processor and pulse a few times until a coarse sauce is achieved but there are no large pieces of tomato remaining.   

THE DOUGH

TIP – This is a very wet dough and using a mixer with a dough hook will make life much easier. If you do not own one, you can absolutely make the dough by hand, you will just need to make sure you use plenty of olive oil when kneading the dough, both on your hands and on the work surface.

  1. Place the flour into the bowl of a mixer with a dough hook fitted and add the yeast to one side of the bowl and the salt into the other.

TIP – It’s very important not to place the salt directly in contact with the yeast as this can prevent the yeast from working.

  1. Make a well in the centre of the flour and add in ¾ of the water. Start the mixer on a low speed until the dough has started to come together. Slowly, add the remaining water to the bowl and then increase to a medium speed. Mix for 5-8 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.     
  2. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise for 1-3 hours until at least doubled in size. 

TIP – At this point, you can place the dough into the fridge and leave overnight – this will actually improve the flavour and texture of the dough but is not a necessity. 

  1. Once risen, turn the dough out onto a well-oiled surface, knocking back the dough. Divide the dough into 4 and shape into 4 equal balls. Dust a proofing box or deep-sided tray with fine semolina or flour and set the 4 dough balls inside. Cover and leave to rest for 1-2 hours. 

THE MARGHERITA

MAKING THE BASIL OIL

  1. Place the basil leaves, olive oil and a pinch of salt into the glass of an immersion blender or food processor and blitz until a smooth, bright green oil is achieved.

MAKING THE PIZZA

  1. Preheat the oven to 220Cº or it’s highest setting, and set the tray of your oven to the very top of the oven. You want to do this about 30 minutes before you start cooking the Pizza.
  2. Place a large, ideally cast-iron, Frying Pan over a high heat. 

TIP – we use a cast-iron crepe pan which works extremely well as crepe pans tend to have a larger surface area and the low sides make transferring the dough easier. 

  1. Generously dust your work surface and hands with flour and transfer one of the rested dough balls to the work surface. Dust the top of the dough ball with flour and then using your hands, flatten out the dough into a classic pizza base large enough to just fit inside the pan you are using. Ideally, you will want to leave the edges of the dough thicker and then no more than 3mm thick towards the centre. 
  2. Generously dust a wooden chopping board or pizza peel with fine semolina and transfer your dough on top. The semolina will act like tiny ball bearings and ease the transfer of the dough onto the pan. 
  3. Making sure the dough is not sticking to the board, add 2-3 tbsp of the tomato sauce to the dough, followed by the mozzarella, torn into small chunks.  

TIP – Whilst adding the toppings to the dough, turn the dough 90º every now and then to ensure the dough isn’t sticking to the board, if you feel like it is sticking, gently tease one of the edges up and dust some more semolina under the offending spots.

  1. Once the topping is in place, transfer the dough onto the hot pan. This is the most difficult part of this recipe and may take the first couple to get the hang of. I have found you can work more slowly than you might think in sliding the dough into the pan, letting gravity do the work for you. Once in the pan you can always slightly rearrange the edges as it begins to cook.   
  2. Cook the pizza on the hob for 30 seconds to a minute, until you can start to see air bubbles forming in the dough. Then transfer the pan to the top shelf of the hot oven. Cook the Pizza in the oven for about 2-3 minutes, until the edges of the dough have puffed up and the mozzarella has melted. 
  3. Once cooked transfer to a wire rack and repeat the process until the dough is used up. Once you get the hang of it, you can usually prepare the next Pizza whilst the other is cooking in the oven. 
  4. Serve the Margherita with a generous drizzle of the basil oil  

THE FUNGHI 

MAKING THE HAZELNUT PESTO

  1. Place the hazelnuts, basil, parsley and pecorino into a food processor and blitz until well minced. Add the olive oil and blitz again until a pesto is achieved. 

PREPPING THE MUSHROOMS

  1. Place a small pan over a high heat with a splash of olive oil. Add the mushrooms into the pan and leave undisturbed for a couple of minutes until they start to take on your colour and develop some slight crispness. Stir and saute for a further minute before setting aside to be used on the pizza.  

MAKING THE PIZZA

  1. Repeat the same process as outlined for the Margherita, adding the mushrooms and pecorino shavings along with the mozzarella.  
  2. Serve the Funghi topped with a few dollops of the hazelnut pesto.      

THE DIAVOLA

MAKING THE CHILI HONEY

  1. Combine the runny honey and chilli flakes and mix together.

MAKING THE PIZZA

  1. Repeat the same process as outlined for the Margherita, adding the ‘nduja and salamis along with the mozzarella.  
  2. Serve the Diavola topped with a drizzle of the chili honey.

THE NAPOLI

MAKING THE GREMOLATA

  1. Combine the Gremolata ingredients on a chopping board and dice together until finely minced together.

MAKING THE PIZZA

  1. Repeat the same process as outlined for the Margherita, adding the anchovies, olives and capers along with the mozzarella.  
  2. Serve the Napoli topped with a sprinkle of gremolata.

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