This dish I made on a whim, since we had some pizza dough defrosting in the fridge from a big batch I had made a while back. We had recently had some pizza with the first batch of dough, and I didn’t want to make the same thing twice in one week. I remembered my cast iron skillet, so I decided to use it to make a deep dish pizza. I improvised on the fillings, using what I had on hand (of course), which was mushrooms and ricotta cheese. First I cut up the mushrooms and cooked them for 15-20 minutes on low heat to let their juices out and caramelize a bit. I looove cooked mushrooms. They smell so earthy and yummy.
As the mushrooms were cooking, I shaped the dough to the dimensions of the skillet, pushing it up the sides similarly to normal pie crust. I layered the ricotta cheese first, and then added the mushrooms on top, then tomato sauce, and I finished it off with some cheddar cheese I had on hand. I wasn’t sure how the cheddar would turn out, as compared to mozzarella, but to my surprise I didn’t mind the flavor of the cheese, and I don’t think it took away from the pizza, even though it’s not a type of cheese I would think would taste good on pizza. I guess you never know unless you try.
My only misstep on this dish was not to look up how long and at what temperature it should be baked. Since I normally bake pizza at 450, I set the oven for that and let the pizza bake for about 15 minutes, until the crust was golden and the cheese melted. However, since it was a deep dish, you can probably tell, that the crust was not fully cooked through. When we went to cut it, it was still dough-y on the bottom part of the crust. It was at this point that I looked up what temp/time deep dish should be baked at. I found a few different times/temps, so decided on 375* for another 10 minutes. However, after this round in the oven, the pizza crust was very crisp and very browned.
Next time, I’ll set the oven lower, probably at 350 and let the pizza bake for 30 minutes so that it will turn out softer, and hopefully closer to what I know as deep dish pizza — soft and chewy crust.