Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pizza Hut Style Pepperoni Pan Pizzas

Wow, that's a lot of P's.  The salad pizza I showed you last time would be considered rather healthy by most standards, make it with a whole wheat crust and low fat dressing and you'd be golden.  Especially when you look at that pizza in comparison to this pan of greasy, salty goodness.  Now, just like with my children (or my appliances) I don't love one more than the other, I just love them differently.  A nice slice of pizza is welcome any time in my book, be it breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacktime, or even sometimes in the middle of the night.  If I am hungry I'll never turn my nose up at pizza.  To Hey, Babe's amazement I'll eat it cold from the fridge just as happily as hot from the oven.

All that being said, there is something wonderful about getting your own personal pan of pizza that you are not going to be expected to share and you can top however you wish.  Hey, Babe and I are nearly always in agreement over pizza toppings (thank goodness!) and if the topping in question is pepperoni Little Man is on board as well.  These all ended up being the same but still, we each had our own.  When we make these pizzas Little Man loves that he gets to smoosh out his own pizza dough and I just love how soft and tender the thick crust is.

We haven't reached the stage where we need two batches of this dough to feed us, so instead of just making 2 9" pizzas and splitting them up, I make the two it calls for plus a smaller third one for Little Man which results in slightly thinner (but still incredibly tasty!) pizzas.  Honestly, a whole 9" pizza is a bit much and we end up with leftovers for lunch (yay!).  This could easily serve 4-5 people, especially if accompanied by a salad.  When I am making Little Man's pizza, I use one of my Pyrex Storage Bowls in either the 7 cup or 4 cup size depending on how hungry he has been recently.  (Have I ever mentioned how much I love these bowls? They are awesome.  I had to get a second set because I am always using them and could probably use a third set. Good-bye plastic!)

This recipe was originally from a Cook's Country magazine, and in light of Hey, Babe's refusal to bring home "normal" pizza from work I tried it right away.  I had high expectations and was thrilled to have them met.  Since I don't quite have the sauce right I can only recommend that you use your favorite homemade or jarred tomato sauce, and feel free to mix up the toppings.  Keep in mind that this is a greasier pizza than one cooked on a pizza stone and so is is a bit less healthy.  Knowing that, I comfort myself with the fact that all the ingredients are relatively wholesome and that there are no chemicals or soy.  Go ahead and try it.  You know you want to.

Pan Pizzas
2 tablespoons oil, plus more for the pans
1 cup milk, warmed to 110 degrees
2 teaspoons sugar
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for counter
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 1/3 cups for favorite prepared pizza sauce
3 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Toppings of your choice (pepperoni, sausage, chopped veggies, etc.)

1. Evenly coat each of two 9-inch cake pans with a generous portion of oil, about 1-2 Tablespoons a piece.

2. In a large glass measuring cup, combine the warmed milk with the sugar and 2 TB of oil.  To the bowl of your mixer add flour, yeast, and salt, mix just to combine.  Attach your dough hook and on low speed slowly start adding the wet ingredients.  Increase the speed to medium-low and keep mixing the dough for about 5-6 minutes until is is smooth (if you are doing this by hand you will need to knead around 10 minutes or so).  Shaped the dough into a ball and leave it covered in a warm place until it has doubled.  This should take about 30 minutes depending on how warm a place you leave it.  I often allow my oven to preheat to around 100°F and then turn it off to let it rise in there, or I put it in my laundry/boiler room which is around 80°F at any given time, it takes a little longer to rise in the boiler room.

3. Lightly flour your counter and taking half of the dough, roll it into a ball.  Flatten it into a largish disk and then transfer it to the oiled pan, using your fingers to gently press it evenly to the edges.  If at any point the dough you are working with starts to get tough and uncooperative, switch to the other piece and allow the first to rest a little.  Cover the pans with plastic wrap and let them rise in a warm place about 20 minutes.  Don't use your oven this time because you are going to need to start preheating it to 400°F. 

4. After the dough has risen, start assembling.  Divide the sauce, cheese, and toppings evenly over the tops of the pizzas to within a half inch or so of the edge.  Bake until the cheese is melted and your pepperoni (if you used any) is browning around edges, about 20 minutes. Let the pizzas rest in pans for 1 minute after removing them from the oven before taking them out of the pan and serving them.

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