We were addicted to the deep dish pizza made by Edwardo’s on the South Side of Chicago in the 1980s, and after leaving that part of the country we went to great lengths to learn how to make deep dish pizza at home. We even purchased an enormous specialized pan purposed for making stuffed pizzas. Fast forward a few decades and sadly a gluten free deep dish pizza seemed like an impossible dream. But continue on, dear reader, because you can have a reasonable deep-dish pizza, gluten free, if you have a cast iron or Le Creuset skillet available to you. The crust will be little chewy, somewhat denser than an ideal crust, but flavorful because of the potato flour in the dough. It will have unique characteristics which make it worth eating, even though it is gf.
Cut a 12″ diameter circle of parchment paper to line a 10 inch heavy cast iron skillet (ours is the enameled Le Creuset designed for use in a hot oven – some of the Le Creuset skillets are not meant for very hot ovens, so make sure yours is – the enamel on the inside of the pan should be black). A flat circle must be creased a few times to line a 3 dimensional pan, so flatten the paper against the bottom of the pan, and pleate and crease it up the sides to make it “fit”. Make one recipe of the pizza base dough from Darina Allen and Rosemary Kearney’s Healthy Gluten-Free Cooking. This is a rice flour, potato flour and tapioca flour dough that contains dried milk and an egg as well – but no bean flour. Note that the recipe calls for potato flour, not potato starch. Weigh the ingredients using a kitchen scale because the book is written using Irish measurement units. I encourage you to purchase the cookbooks mentioned in my articles, to support the work of fellow recipe writers in the hope that they will produce more useful books for us!
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. When the oven is hot, roll out the dough between two sheets of waxed paper dusted with sweet rice flour (mochiko), and line the pan with the dough (the entire recipe’s worth of dough). Prick the dough all over with a fork and bake it (unfilled) for 10 minutes, remove the very heavy pan from the oven using two hands and oven mitts to grab the handle and edge of the pan. Set the hot pan aside and prepare the filling. I always leave an oven mitt on the handle to remind me that the handle of the pan is hot, hot, hot! That handle is 400 degrees, and you don’t want to grab it without an oven mitt!
1/2 pound of mushrooms
1/2 pound gluten free italian sausage – spicy is nice – omit for vegetarians
1 large spanish onion, sliced (don’t use “sweet onions” as they don’t brown nicely)
1-2 bell peppers, sliced
6 cloves garlic, minced
Fry the mushrooms in olive oil for 4 minutes without stirring. Remove the mushrooms from pan and set aside. Season with salt and pepper.
To the same pan, add the gluten free sausage, onions, peppers and garlic and fry for 10-12 minutes until cooked through.
Mix the sausage mixture with the mushrooms and add a 1/2 pound of full-fat mozzarella, hand grated, a half cup of canned diced tomatoes (fresh if you have them), 1/2 cup of chopped basil or 1-2 Tablespoons of gluten free homemade pesto sauce. Test the filling to see if it needs additional salt and pepper.
Spread the filling in the prepared pre-baked crust, Sprinkle with another 1/2 pound of grated mozzarella, sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese, raise the temperature of the oven to 450 and bake the pizza for 30-35 minutes. Remove the very very hot pan from the oven using oven mitts. Serve immediately or cool slightly first.
Make sure all your ingredients are gluten free!
The filling is based on one in the October 2005 issue of Cuisine at Home. Ham and pepperoni have been eliminated, and the option of using prepared pesto in place of basil is added. You can tinker infinitely with the ingredients in the filling. Use what you have available – spinach, other types of cheese, omit the peppers and double the onions, whatever you like!