Monday, February 28, 2011

Thin Crust White Pizza

We eat pizza fairly often for dinner, and while I change up the toppings pretty regularly, I always stick to the same crust.  I've just never really felt the need to deviate from my standard pizza crust, but when I saw Annie of Annie's Eats rave abut thin crust pizza, I was sold.  I had actually seen this recipe in the previous month's Cook's Illustrated, and while it did catch my eye, I forgot about it soon after reading about it.

The nice thing about this pizza crust is that the recipe makes enough for two pizzas.  It also calls for the dough to be chilled in the refrigerator anywhere from 24 hours to 3 days.  So you can either make one and freeze one, or make one and save the other to make in the next few days.  For the first pizza, I made the classic cheese pizza that Annie posted, but for the other, I made white pizza.  I absolutely love ordering white pizza when we go out for pizza, but I had never made it myself.  Now I'm afraid I'll never order it out again; this one was so good that any other version is going to have a hard time living up to it.  The sauce is a mixture of ricotta, egg, herbs and spices, and then it is smothered in mozzarella, parmesan, and more ricotta.  So incredibly rich and delicious.

As far as the dough goes, I was a bit apprehensive when I prepped it, since it was very very sticky and kind of hard to handle.  But after the overnight chill, it turns into a smooth and silky dough that is easily rolled and stretched into a perfectly circular pizza crust.  Since the dough is prepped so far in advance, this pizza comes together quite quickly. 

I know there are many other variations of thin-crust pizza I could make, but after this white pizza, it's going to be hard to try anything new.

Thin-Crust White Pizza
adapted from Cook's Illustrated, Jan 2011

  • 3 cups (16 1/2 oz) bread flour, plus more for work surface
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/3 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 1/3 cups ice water
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
White Sauce
  • 1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 Tbs heavy cream
  • 1/2 large egg yolk
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 1 tsp minced fresh oregano
  • 1/2 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 scallion, minced, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup shredded whole milk mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup finely shredded Pecorino-Romano cheese
For the dough:  In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the flour, sugar, and yeast.  Pulse to mix well.  With the processor running, pour the water through the feed tube.  Continue to process until no flour remains and the dough is just combined, about 10 seconds.  Allow the dough to rest 10 minutes.

Add the oil and salt to the dough and process until a smooth, satiny ball forms that clears the sides of the workbowl, about 30-60 seconds.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface, and knead briefly.  Pat the dough into a ball and transfer to a a lightly oiled bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 24 hours, or up to 3 days.

For the sauce:  Whisk all the ingredients together in a medium bowl.  Set aside.

To bake the pizza:  Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide in half.  Smooth it into a smooth, tight, bowl, and cover with lightly-oiled plastic wrap.  Allow to sit at room temperature for about 1 hour.  Return the other half to the refrigerator. 

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees, and adjust the oven rack to the second-highest position.  Place the pizza stone on the rack and heat for at least 30 minutes.

Coat the dough with flour and flatten into a 8-inch disk, leaving a 1-inch border around the edges that it slighly thicker than the center.  Transfer to a large square of parchment paper that is lightly sprinkled with cornmeal.  Lifting the edge, use your knuckles and the back of your hand to pull and stretch the dough into a 13-inch circle, turning the dough a quarter of a turn as you stretch.  Use a rolling pin if necessary.

Brush the outer edge of the dough with olive oil.  Use a spatula to spread the white sauce over the dough, leaving a 1/4-inch border around the outside.  Sprinkle the Pecorino cheese over the white sauce, followed by the mozzarella.  Using a 1/2-teaspoon measuring spoon, drop the ricotta over the mozzarella.

Transfer the pizza (on the parchment) to the heated pizza stone, and bake 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese is melted, browned, and bubbly, rotating the pizza halfway through.  Remove the pizza and sprinkle with the reserved scallions.  Allow to cool 5-10 minutes before serving.


Joanne said...

When I was little I hated tomato sauce and so my dad used to make me a white pizza just like this! SO many good memories. And I'm loving that crust!

Laura said...

My mom would buy us "white pizza" from this little pizza place by our house. My heart sunk the day it moved locations. I have yet to find a recipe that wins my heart. I am going to give this one a try. Fingers crossed.

alison said...

We just tried that pizza crust for the first time on Friday. It was wonderful, but with this white sauce, I can only imagine how delicious!

Sara said...

Wow - thin crust pizza is one of my favorite foods. I remember reading about this in CI, but I'd also forgotten about it. But now I'm bookmarking this so that won't happen again! Thank you for the delicious inspiration.

Lindsay @Eat, Knit, Grow said...

Saw this on tasteologie! Looks so amazing! I have to try it!

Annie said...

I can't wait to try this variation!

Taylor said...

Mmm white pizza is my favorite! This crust looks amazing...definitely putting this on my list of things to make :)

oneordinaryday said...

White pizza with spinach is my very favorite. Thanks for sharing the recipe. Looks delicious.

guipipia said...

I've never had this specific crust, or white pizza at all, and I think I am now in love with it <3!!!

Sarah from 20somethingcupcakes said...

Yum Josie this looks perfect! There's nothing like a perfect thin crust.

Anonymous said...

I am a huge fan of white pizza and I am addicted to your white sauce recipe!! I no longer make my standard cheese pizza lol. Thank you so much! I look forward to trying more of your recipes :)

Dani @ Cloud 8½ said...

I apologize in advance for what is probably a very stupid question, but is a food processor necessary for the dough, or can I just make it in my KitchenAid like I do other pizza doughs?

Josie said...

Dani, I can't say for sure because I've never made it that way, but I'm sure it would be fine. Good luck!

is2day TUESDAY said...

Thanks for this great recipe! It really is delicious. I just recommended this to a Y! contributor who was trying to think of a great meal for her bf..hopefully she'll enjoy it as much as I did.

Lissa said...

Hi Josie: I just found your site and am loving it. I made the chili with quinoa last week and it was so delicious. I'd like to try this pizza, but had a quick question about the 2nd half of the crush dough. After it has been in the fridge for at least 24hours, do I just wrap it up and put it in the freezer?

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