Thick or thin?
Chicago is famous for thick crust pizzas, right? New York for thin crust? Well yes….and no. You see there’s also Bar Pies and Grandma’s……….read on:
In fact he very first Chicago ‘deep pan ‘pizzas had incredibly thin bases designed as a bar snack to stop you going home for your dinner and to keep you right there in that bar.
It appears the very first one was offered by Rudy Malnati in 1943 and the idea was carried on by his son Lou, who started his own chain of pizzerias. Today his sons Mark and Rick run a huge number of outlets of over 50 pizzerias….and every one offers the original Deep Dish Malnati Chicago Classic with sliced cheese at the bottom, lean sausage on top of that and chucky tomato pieces on the very top. It has a buttery, light and very thin crust:
Nowadays lots of Chicago pizzerias offer thick crust deep pan pizzas that have a lot of thick filling pizza base….so there’s a big difference between deep dish and deep pan…but both tend to always have the cheese at the bottom and the tomato on top:
Here’s a big thick old deep pan: They tend to need a lot of oil in that base to make it digestible….it’s almost fried bread…….
Thin crust isn’t just New York, it’s more specifically New Jersey…and some of them are as thin as a flour tortilla! They too were first offered as bar room snacks and in New Jersey they are invariably called Bar Pies.
Famous pizzerias there include Kinchleys, opened in 1937 using an incredibly thin crust and sliced cheese.
Then there’s Patsy’s, with a crust so thin it has to be rolled with a rolling pin.
There’s also the Star Tavern that cooks its thin, thin pies in a deep dish with half the rim cut off, or they’d never get it out of the pan.
‘Tavern’ huh? That reminds me…outside of downtown Chicago most Chicago pizzerias and bars offer a ‘Tavern Style’ pizza…thin crust, round base….cheese on top…the main difference to New York is that they are cut into squares for serving, not wedges…… Confused? It gets worse!
This is a thin square base covered in sliced cheese and has chucky tomatoes on top made from whole torn tomatoes. It was invented by Umberto Corteo….it kind of looks like it might be a Malnati original, but don’t tell anyone….Umberto’s is from New York…….though it’s out towards Long Island, not New Jersey.
Cold Cheese Pizza.
This one’s quite simple……it was invented at Tonio’s to save the roof of the mouth of inebriated students from burning! A bit of an ‘acquired taste’……it doesn’t matter when you’re drunk…..
The Crazies and Instagram
Put up a picture of an amusing pizza on Instagram and you just might find yourself so busy you need to open more outlets! That’s what happened to Vinnies when Sean Berthiaume uploaded an image of a pizza….topped with pizza. This thing nearly broke the internet with almost 9 million views.
So they started thinking up crazy new pizzas and it just snowballed from there. Here’s the Pizza Box Pizza…the box and its top, are pizzas too!
In fact, so barking mad are they at Vinnie’s, you might enjoy their menu:
Got half an hour? Have a look at Vinnie’s Specials Boards
So it doesn’t really matter how you like your pizza or what you want on or in it…Thin Crust, Deep Crust, Deep Pan, ‘to the edge’ topping, Cheese at the bottom, Cheese on top, Square Crust, Round Crust, Calzone or Stromboli……it’s out there and it’s legit……and I’ll soon have recipes for all of them on the blog.
All of the new recipes, uploaded after today, 31.1.2018, will be real genuine recipes for Pizzas from Over The Pond from real North American pizzerias….first will be the Malnati Original Deep Crust of course……Nice one Lou!
Some US pizza factoids:
The industry is worth almost half a billion pounds annually, that’s £M490,000,000,000 or $B70.
These figures do not include the readymade pizzas sold in supermarkets or the ingredients they also sell to make your own at home!
Almost 61 percent of that market belongs to the ‘big four’; Dominoes, Pizza Hut, Papa John’s and Little Caesar’s…but almost 40 percent of that massive market is made up of little independent pizzerias and the local chains that have grown from them.
Such independents are unknown in the UK, though Franco Manca might be the closest we have.
But of course, pizza is from Italy, specifically Naples, or Napoli in Italian. Here it is a simple thing, supposedly created to test an oven’s temperature and dedicated to the new Queen Margherita, consisting of tomato sauce and torn chunks of mozzarella cheese on a thin base of bread, proved with a sourdough starter and possibly topped with torn basil leaves and perhaps an anchovy.
In Rome they go a little further all sorts of toppings and even simple pasta sauce cacio e pepe consisting of Pecorino Romano cheese and lots of ground black pepper…this stuff nearly crashed the internet again in 2016.
Now that’s got to be the easiest pizza in the world to make!
I mentioned sourdough starters just then….and this is I think the ‘secret’ to thin crust pizza bases….you don’t want a powerful baker’s yeast giving you a bread base….you want something thin and barely risen.
I’ll be doing a sourdough starter pizza soon, but in the meantime, those ready made doughs from the supermarkets might just be a better option than you might think…the dough is a little tired…the yeast almost asleep…it isn’t going to rise too much. They are FAR better then the early ‘pizza mixes’ we were sold in the Seventies that basically gave you a base of dry bread.
For example, the Malnati original deep dish pizza, the Chicago original……..works perfectly with an ASDA 400gm ready made pizza dough! Recipe to follow soon…….
Coming soon!: Deep Fried Pizza ( Panzerotta or Calzone Fritti) and Belgian Pizza ( Flamme Kueche or Tarte Flambeé)