Sunday, August 9, 2009

Cast Iron Pizza Pan

Last week I tested my new cast iron pizza pan. I bought this model mainly because it had the shortest handles. Cast iron is a brittle metal which is why cast iron pans always have shorter handles than their stainless and aluminum counterparts. I have yet to meet anyone who has broken a cast iron pan handle but I'm sure I could do it. After all, I've already blown up a pressure cooker (a fava bean incident), burnt the enamel completely off a Le Creuset Dutch oven (brown rice), and I broke the kick plate on my brand new bottom-freezer refrigerator the very first day I had it. I'm just lucky that way I guess.

Anyway, I am not that thrilled with my new pan. The theory was that you could put the cast iron pan on a stove burner, slide on your pizza, then put the entire thing under a preheated broiler to get nearer to the really high temperatures found in commercial pizza ovens. What I found is that the pan gets really hot only right above the burner so I ended up with a crust that was burnt in the center and not even cooked near the edge. It is also kind of a pain transferring the really hot pan and pizza to the broiler. This first pizza has a semolina crust with tomatoes and pesto and some non-dairy cheeses.

For the second pizza I tried a technique similar to how you grill a pizza. I put the dough in the cast iron pan without the toppings, then I flipped the dough and added the toppings. I don't think the pan was hot enough though so I ended up having to put it under the broiler anyway to try to melt the non-dairy cheese. This pizza has my favorite fast pizza sauce - equal parts tomato paste and extra-virgin olive oil with minced garlic.

DH liked the crust on these but I was hoping for a nice blistered crispy crust. I need to try this again - perhaps there is a learning curve. If all else fails I can use it as a pizza stone substitute.


Andrea said...

Those pizzas certainly LOOK good! I've found my very best pizza crusts are cooked directly on my pizza stone. I preheat it in a 450˚ oven. I cook the pizza for 4 minutes at this temp then lower the temp to 350 to finish cooking. You get a blistered, crispy, puffed up, chewy crust that tastes great.

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Nanette said...

Thanks Vincent - I'll check out your web site very soon!

Nanette said...

Andrea, I will try your method soon although I admit I keep breaking my pizza stones. LOL I can get my oven a little hotter than 450 but I dream of a brick pizza oven some day.

Nanette said...
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