Friday, November 26, 2010

Pizza 101: upside down pizza

In the final lesson of Pizza 101 we are going to learn to make upside down pizza.  It is my grand finale to the course.  This pizza has major wow factor.  My parents took us to Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Company and everything I knew about pizza was changed forever.  They bake your pizza upside down in a bowl.  It rises and bakes into this huge bubble over the bowl and then bring it out and turn it over and uncover your pizza before your eyes.  it is so exciting, like christmas morning.  I still can't figure out how they get the dough to bake so high, but my home version tastes almost as good.  

You can use either ramekins or small bowls with handles like I have here.  Make sure you spray them with cooking spray!

My Mom and I always debate sauce or cheese first, so when I made it this time I tried both.  The red bowls have cheese on the bottom, the white have sauce on the bottom.  I can say with confidence it is cheese first.  It turns out a little prettier, but they are both delicious.  Sprinkle some oregano on the cheese.

At Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Company (CP&OGC) their sauce has green peppers and chunky tomatoes, you could add that to your pizza sauce, i just add some diced tomatoes from the can into my pizza sauce.

On top of the sauce you add your toppings.  At CP&OGC they put sausage and mushrooms in their upside down pizzas.  The mushrooms go in raw and they come out magical.  I suggest adding them even if you aren't a mushroom fan, like my hubby.  The liquid that comes off the mushrooms creates a steam inside the pizza and really makes this pizza great.  Of course you can add anything you like in here. Sausage just happens to be one of our favorites if you can't tell.  We joke that in Chicago they count sausage as a vegetable, it is in everything. Make sure you don't fill the bowl all the way to the top with your toppings.  You need to leave space between the toppings and the dough.  

Split your basic dough recipe into 8 balls.  Yes you can make 8 upside down pizzas.  Don't have 8 bowls... then make a thin crust pizza with the leftover dough.  Roll the dough large enough to it over the bowl and hang over about an inch all the way around.  When you put the dough on make sure it doesn't sag into the bowl.  You want it to lay as flat as possible.

Place on a cookie sheet and into a preheated oven at 475 degrees.  Bake for 10-15 minutes until the crust is crispy and a little brown.

This is important: let the pizzas sit for at least 3 minutes before you try to flip them.  If you flip them early they will spit molten hot pizza sauce out the sides and make a giant mess in your kitchen and burn your arm.  I learned this the hard way.  

To get them upside down place the plate on top of the crust.  Using an oven mitt, flip the bowl and the plate together so the bowl is inverted.

Use a spoon to release the crust from the bowl.  Work your way around slowly.  Use an oven mitt to pick the bowl up and reveal your pizza.  You may need to use the spoon to redistribute your toppings, sometimes they shift to one side when you flip your pizzas.

The very best part about this pizza is how crispy the crust is.  This is truly an impressive pizza to serve at a party. Everyone can make their own bowl, you can mark them with toothpicks and everyone gets their own special pizza.  

Thanks so much for joining me for Pizza 101.  I had so much fun sharing how I make pizza!!

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