Sunday, February 25, 2007

Mini Deep Dish Pizzas and Garlic Knots

Being the pizza fans that we are, but living in Northern Virginia, we have no choice but to make our own deep dish pizzas. Deep dish pizza can be quite the messy mammoth meal. To make things less messy, less mammoth, without buying fancy deep dish pans, I thought it would be interesting to try it in a muffin pan. For one pizza dough recipe, we made our mini deep dish pizzas and also garlic knots. These mini pizzas make it easy to make pizzas of different toppings with no 'contamination' for picky eaters. We used a whole wheat pizza crust to make things healthier, but you may use any crust recipe you like. The pizza sauce recipe is adapted from my good friend and ex-roommate Catherine, who learned it from her dad who used to work in a pizza joint when he was younger.

Mini Deep Dish Pizzas

2/3 recipe of pizza dough (recipe below)
approx 1 cup all-purpose flour (for working with dough)
1/4 cup corn meal
4 tbsp olive oil (for greasing muffin tin)
2 tbsp olive oil or leftover garlic knot oil (for brushing crusts)
3/4 cup of pizza sauce (recipe below)
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 cups total of whatever toppings you like - we used onion, olives, green peppers, mushrooms and fresh basil.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Liberally grease the muffin tin with the olive oil, and dust with the cornmeal.
Divide dough into 12 several sized balls. (Our muffin pan had 12 cups, adjust for your own if you have different)
On floured surface, roll out each ball into circles, about 1/8" to 1/4" thick.
Gently press the dough circles into the muffin cups, making sure the crust is pushed up the sides. Cut away excess dough if your dough circles overflow the muffin cups.
Brush edges of crusts with remaining olive oil.
Layer mozzarella cheese, then toppings, and then sauce into the mini pizzas.
Sprinkle a little parmesan cheese on top. (optional)
Bake for 18 minutes or until the crust is golden.

Makes 12 mini deep dish pizzas.
Garlic Knots

Call me silly, but I hadn't heard of garlic knots until just last year, at a pizza joint in Maryland called Mama Lucia's. Kevin being a long-time fan of pizza knots demanded we order some, and maybe it was the combination of hunger and the fact that they gave them to us for free made them taste so good. Even so, I knew I could make better pizza knots, here's my version.

1/3 recipe of pizza dough
approx 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (for working with dough)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp parseley
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Tear off a piece of dough, enough to make a 1/2" ball. On a floured surface, roll the ball into a rope about 1/4" in girth, 6" in length. Tie rope into a knot, and place on a olive oil greased (or parchment lined) baking sheet. Repeat until all dough is used.
In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, garlic salt, oregano and parsely. Brush or drizzle the olive oil mixture onto the knots.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until the knots are lightly browned.
Immediately after removing knots from the oven, sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the knots.
Let cool for a few minutes before serving. Serve alongside heated pizza sauce for dipping.

Makes about 2 dozen knots.

Pizza Dough

The recipe we've come to love is adapted from It's actually a very versatile dough, just be warned that the dough can bake up thick if you don't roll it out thin enough to start!

So for reading ease, here's the recipe with my adaptations.

1 tsp evaporated cane sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 tablespoon active dry yeast (or 1 packet of active dry yeast)
3 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

In a large bowl, dissolve sugar in warm water. Sprinkle yeast over the top, and let stand for about 10 minutes, until foamy.
Stir the olive oil, garlic salt, salt, basil and oregano into the yeast mixture, then mix in the whole wheat flour and 1 cup of the all-purpose flour until dough starts to come together.
Tip dough out onto a surface floured with the remaining all-purpose flour, and knead until all of the flour has been absorbed, and the ball of dough becomes smooth, about 10 minutes.
Place dough in an oiled bowl, and turn to coat the surface. Cover loosely with a towel, and let stand in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
When the dough is doubled, tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and divide into 2 parts. 1/3 for the garlic knots, and 2/3 for the pizzas.
Form dough into tight balls. Let rise for about 45 minutes, until doubled.

Pizza Sauce

1 6-oz can of tomato paste
1 8-oz can of tomato sauce
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1 tsp garlic salt
A few grinds of black pepper

Mix all ingredients, adding a little water if the sauce is too thick. (We don't usually add any water)


Anonymous said...

Chris says- nice photos.. too bad I refuse to cook anything besides spagetti ;)

Ruth said...

I was lucky enough to taste these delicious mini-pizzas and became inspired to do practically every dish in a muffin pan, including quiches, mini-pies, and a variety of other things, thanks for the inspiration Mai and Keven!

Wendy said...

Those mini pizzas are adorable!