I defrosted pizza dough and Saturday evening plans went awry. I could have left the dough for another day or so—it’s sturdy stuff, bread dough—but I decided to try the Spicy Spring from Prince St. Pizza in lower Manhattan. (The link takes you to An 11-Stop Tour of Chinatown and Little Italy for Under $15 a Head by J. Kenji Lopéz-Alt for SeriousEats.com.)
Anyway, Mr. Lopéz-Alt put together How to Make New York’s Finest Sicilian Pizza at Home for The Food Lab at SeriousEats.com. So I figured I’d use the dough and try to recreate the masterpiece, seen below, which my daughter and I enjoyed almost two years ago.
So here’s the process. Oil a cookie sheet with rims. Put the dough on the sheet, and here I learned something: let the dough rest for a little while before you try to make it fit the pan. Gluten can be ornery. Give it a bit of time to relax and it’ll be much friendlier.
Once the dough covers the pan, let it rise for a while. Then, cheese goes first. Use sliced mozzarella, and not the fresh stuff. And make sure the cheese covers the dough, except at the edges. These requirements all relate to making sure the sauce doesn’t “sog” out the dough.
Next up is the sauce. Mr. Lopéz-Alt makes his own. I like Trader Giotto’s Fat Free Pizza Sauce, really. I’ve been doing pizza for 40+ years, and have never seen fit to expend energy on sauce.
On top of the sauce goes pepperoni. I have some very nice packaged stuff, but Mr. Lopéz-Alt was very emphatic about pepperoni: “You must use a high-quality, natural-casing pepperoni, lest you fall victim to one of the two classic pizza blunders—the most famous of which is ‘Never question your pizza toppings in Asia,’ but only slightly less well known is this: ‘Never order a Sicilian when you spy flat-lying pepperoni on the line.’” So, OK, I went to Whole Foods and followed instructions, mostly. My failure? Not enough pepperoni.
On top of the pepperoni goes grated Pecorino Romano. Not too lightly.
I pre-heated my oven with its two Baking Steel slabs to 525°. Ready to slide the pan into oven, I discovered a locked oven. I guess at a certain internal temperature—30 lbs. of extra steel inside surely increased the temperature, which was my goal—the door locks. Oven off, and after a little while the steel came out, I shot for 450°, and here’s the end product. Prince St. Pizza has nothing to worry about, but I have some very tasty pie, most of which will get frozen, to become an addition from time to time to salads for dinner.