Disclosure: I received a copy of Revolutionary Pizza from the lovely folks at Page Street Publishing. Any links to purchase the book on Amazon are affiliate links.
Stay tuned at the end of the post; I’m giving away a copy of Revolutionary Pizza! If you’re a pizza fan, stay tuned!
A big night for my family when I was little was going to Shakey’s Pizza, ordering large plastic glasses of fizzy root beer, listening to the player piano, and watching the magicians behind the large plexiglass window make our pizza. Dough tossed aloft on deft fists, centripetal force stretching the dough into a perfect circle. I adored watching them spread on the sauce–ladling on just enough in the center and then spreading it out in an ever-growing spiral with the back of the ladle. A rain of shredded cheese, dealing out pepperoni like playing cards. Once our order arrived, I felt very grown up as I sprinkled on my own Parmesan and Italian herbs from the shakers on the table.
I have had all sorts of pizza over the years, from huge chains, from all-you-can-eat buffets, from our toaster oven or even the occasional microwave pizza, from mom&pop shops to my own homemade and my bi-monthly Sandra Leed frozen pizzas. Thick crust, thin crust, hand-tossed, Sicilian, Chicago-style, even Ohio style and Michigan style pizzas, not to mention those rectangles of school pizza. All delicious in their own ways, or if not delicious, at least convenient. I’ve enjoyed toppings ranging from prosciutto and fig to macaroni and cheese.
I thought I knew pizza. And then along comes Revolutionary Pizza by Dimitri Syrkin-Kikolau, owner of two Dimo’s Pizza restaurants in Chicago. “Bold pies that will change your life…and dinner” promises the cover. I may have rolled my eyes. I mean, there was nothing between the covers of this book that was going to surprise me. When I opened the cover, I was immediately proved wrong in the most surprising and delicious ways. You will be, too. Just take a gander at some of the revolutionary flavor combinations from Revolutionary Pizza.
When you read these descriptions, play the game that you play when you read your fortune. Instead of finishing the fortune with the phrase “in bed,” say “on a pizza.” Over the top? Probable. Delicious? Indubitably.
- Steak ‘N’ Eggs: Grilled flank steak, home fries, seasoned scrambled eggs, cheese and hot sauce
- Fish ‘N’ Chips: French fries, beer battered tilapia, tartar sauce
- Smack ‘N’ Cheese: Jalapeno-Chipotle Cream Sauce, macaroni, pepper jack
- Beef Stroganoff: Roast brisket, mushroom cream sauce, caramelized onions, egg noodles
- Pumpkin Pie: Spiced Pumpkin Custard, marshmallows, pecans
- Jamaican Jerk Chicken: hot and spicy jerk-marinated chicken, bell pepper, onion, cream sauce, pineapple chunks
- Vindaloo: Cubed and marinated pork shoulder in pretty darned authentic vindaloo sauce, mozzarella, cilantro
- Elotes: Grilled and blistered corn (removed from cob after grilling), cilantro-lime sauce, cotija cheese
- Guacamole Burrito: black beans, Mexican rice, guacamole, sour cream, cheddar
Drooling yet? I am.
And about their crust. It has sugar in it. Blasphemy, I thought. I rolled my eyes. I knew the sugar would reduce the chew since it would weaken the gluten structure. It barely had any olive oil in it at all. It was a much lower hydration dough than I’m used to using. I usually go with about a 70% hydration for pizza dough. This one is right around 59%. What?Let me tell you that Dimo and company schooled this eye-rolling, former-pastry-chef blogger. This is one damn fine crust. The sugar allows you to get a bit of char on your crust, even at the relatively low baking temperatures in home ovens. It has the perfect amount of chew, plenty of flavor on its own, but it doesn’t fight with the topping ingredients. I’m in love. Revolutionary Pizza crust, I am sorry I doubted you.
Jalapeño Pop ‘N’ Lock Pizza
I made the Jalapeño Pop ‘N’ Lock Pizza. Sliced jalapenos steeped in beer batter, dredged in seasoned flour and then fried are crispy and light. Not heavy at all. A mozzarella (just a touch) and cream cheese base, some shredded cheddar and a garnish of crisp bacon and green onions. All the flavors I would expect from one of my favorite fried appetizers, jalapeno poppers, except living in harmony on an exceptional pizza crust. The recipe makes enough to cover your pizza wall to wall with the jalapenos. Leading to green, spicy, crispy goodness in every bite.
I followed all the measurements to the letter, wanting to make sure that the proportions of my ingredients were as close to the original as I could get it. My only complaint, and it’s a slight one, is that I wish the cream cheese were whisked together with some cream or sour cream. I felt that the straight cream cheese, as much as I love it, needed to be a bit looser in consistency since when it cools a bit, it tends to get a bit stodgy.
If When I make this again, I’ll make that one small adjustment. Otherwise, this was one excellent pie.
And Revolutionary Pizza is one I can wholeheartedly recommend. It will expand your idea of what pizza can be and hopefully inspire you to come up with your own special creations.
The crust recipe makes enough dough for 2 12″-14″ pies. I currently have an extra piece of dough, and I’m planning a lamb sausage, thinly sliced potato, tzatziki number for dinner tomorrow night. I strongly suggest you double the recipe–certainly doable in a 5 1/2 quart stand mixer–and have dough on hand either in the fridge (it’s fine for a couple of days) or in the freezer, because you will be sorry when you use it up, and you want to delay that sad day as long as possible.
I can’t share the crust recipe with you (that’s why you need to enter to win or just grab your own copy), but here’s how to make a Pop ‘N’ Lock pizza, printed with permission from Page Street Publishing (2014).
- ⅓ cup /33 g all-purpose flour, , plus extra for dipping
- 4 fl oz/118 mL of any pale lager, (You can drink the rest of the can as you cook.)
- 1 egg
- ½ tbsp /8 g salt
- ⅓ cup /79 mL buttermilk
- 6 –8 jalapeños, , sliced to form rings (you may want to seed ’em too if you don’t want it to
- be too spicy)
- Salt and pepper
- 3 –5 cups/710 mL–1L vegetable oil for frying, (enough to submerge jalapeños in pan)
- ¼ cup /28 g shredded mozzarella
- 1 cup /237 mL cream cheese
- ½ cup /57 g shredded cheddar cheese
- ½ cup /140 g thick-cut bacon, , fried and chopped
- ½ cup /25 g green onions, , chopped
- Mix ingredients for batter and submerge jalapeño slices in mixture. Set aside for 10
- Take extra flour and mix with a dash of salt and pepper. (I used about an extra cup and shook the soaked peppers in the seasoned flour in a zip-top bag)
- Preheat vegetable oil for frying to 375°F/190°C. Dip battered jalapeños into flour mixture and then into hot oil.
- Cook until browned. Using tongs, remove jalapeños and let extraoil drain. Set aside to cool.
- Top the stretched dough with mozzarella cheese and bake for 57 minutes in preheated oven at 500°F/260°C.
- Remove the pizza, but leave the oven on. Apply the cream cheese using a baking spatula. Distribute fried jalapeño slices, then shredded cheddar evenly.
- Bake for 3–5 more minutes. Top with chopped bacon and green onions.
- Slice and serve...and dance.
And now, let’s get down to Business.
Revolutionary Pizza Giveaway–Giveaway is now closed. This giveaway is open to US and Canadian readers only. Contest is open from the time I hit “publish” through 7pm Eastern Time next Monday, July 21, 2014. At that point, I’ll choose a winner using Random.org. Easy entries, friends. Please leave separate comments for each entry. Thanks! Leave a comment here letting me know what your dream pizza topping combination is. OR you can leave a comment telling me which of the pizzas I described sounds best to you and why. If you are on facebook, join the Fearless Friends Sharing Recipes group and then leave a comment telling me you did. If you are already in that group, leave a comment here telling me that you are. Like Dimo’s Pizza on facebook and then come and leave a comment telling me that you did. For two extra entries, write on Dimo’s Pizza’s wall (link above) and let them know you heard about their new book from me. Then of course leave a comment here telling me you did. And that’s it! This book is worth getting for just the crust recipe alone, not to mention the detailed explanation of how to stretch the dough. I even tossed mine a bit gingerly a couple of times since I was feeling spunky! After reading through the list of recipes here, trust me when I say there are many more I could have listed as Awesome and Must Make. I hope you win a copy of this book, and I also hope that if you don’t win, you’ll pick up your own copy. I’m glad this one is in my cookbook library, friends!