Pizzas Benedict and Deep Dish Pizza Cupfakes

by Julie Ruble on October 17, 2010 · 174 comments

YOU PEOPLE ROCK! Willow Bird Baking is one of only 72 blogs in Round 5 of Project Food Blog, and it’s all because of you! Virtual high-fives, y’all! I can’t say thank you enough.

Challenge #5 was to take a traditional dish, pizza, and remix it to create something inventive. I brainstormed for a week to find something creative, fun, delicious, and maybe even a little magical. I asked a billion (give or take a few) folks to weigh in with their pizza favorites. I laboriously googled (okay, that part was easy) and read recipe after recipe. Finally, I reached a conclusion. I appreciate your votes and I hate to let them go to waste, but . . .

FORGET PIZZA. I made cupcakes instead.

I’m tired, I’m whiny, I’m challenged-out, and cupcakes are tasty.

Just kidding, just kidding! ME, challenged-out? NEVER. The whiny part was true, but I’m always up for a challenge.

The title of this post probably gave me away — of course I made pizza . . . with a big twist. I chose to create two pizza remixes for this challenge, actually, representing two times of day when you aren’t “supposed” to eat pizza: dessert and breakfast.

I’ve been eating pizzas at all the wrong times since my childhood. Cold leftover pizza for breakfast was a delicacy. Midnight snack pizza was one of my favorites. What can I say? I’m a rebel. And I have a feeling more than a few of you are rebellious in the exact same way.

My “dessert” pizzas are a little sneaky, because they aren’t cupcakes at all — they’re cupfakes! They’re actually mini Chicago-style deep dish pizzas stuffed with mozzarella, goat cheese, pepperoni, and some of the best pizza sauce I’ve ever tasted. They’re then “frosted” with ricotta cheese, topped with colored salt sprinkles, and crowned with grape tomatoes in the place of cherries. Apart from being utterly delicious, they turned out to be the cutest little pizzas on the block!

I broke out the razorblades, cardboard, ribbon, cardstock, and glue gun to create an asymmetrical cupcake tower to showcase these cuties. Cue amusing exchanges on Twitter and Facebook:

My favorite cupfake incident was when I took a few of these to my neighbor (hi, neighbor!) and asked if he’d like some leftover homemade pizza. He looked at what seemed to be a plate of cupcakes in my hand with a slight pause. I wasn’t sure if he was going to ask why I didn’t know the difference between a pizza and a cupcake or just assume I was crazy, so I quickly explained. Mustn’t have the apartment complex thinking I’m nuts — any more than they already do, that is!

I was originally only going to create the cupfakes, but this morning I woke up and decided that for Round 5 of this competition and with only 72 blogs left, I had to go all out. I made a whole new batch of pizza dough to create my breakfast pizzas and some even tinier deep dish pizzas for later. So three batches of dough, a whole package of mozzarella, and scads of pepperoni later, I’m ready to fall over.

It was worth it.

I’ve affectionately named my breakfast pizza Pizzas Benedict. These had a heartier crust made with part whole-wheat flour to mimic an English muffin (okay, it was because I thought I’d run out of all-purpose flour. I later found a bag of it in the living room because, you know, that’s where normal people keep their flour).

The Pizzas Benedict were stuffed with a mixture of scrambled eggs, spinach, bacon, goat cheese, and cheddar cheese, and topped with fresh Hollandaise sauce. The egg mixture didn’t stay stuffed into the crust like it was supposed to, so in some of the pizzas, it was more of a topping and the crust was like a muffin base — but they were still delicious! Next time I might add even more of the stuffin’.

This turned out to be an exhausting, dangerous challenge. I shattered a glass all over the kitchen floor and sliced my foot as I was mixing my first batch of dough — a batch that ultimately ended up in the trash. I was up until the wee hours of the morning with my razorblades and hot glue. And at one point, I looked up from creating my Chicago-style deep dish pizzas and realized that my New Yorker roommate was sitting on the couch watching a Yankees game.

Barbara is not just any New Yorker, y’all. She makes a yearly pilgrimage to New York for Italian food and baseball. She has Yankees paraphernalia all over her room. She has like 8 superstitious rituals she completes for each baseball game — including lighting tealight candles, snuggling under her Yankees blanket, and wearing her lucky necklace.

She’s going to kill me, but I told her there was no way I wasn’t going to tell you about the time she ran into my room in a panic, pleading, “Can you please help me get this necklace on?!” I thought she just really loved jewelry until I realized it was her Yankees necklace and the game was starting. Yeah. She’s that kind of New Yorker. And here I was busily creating some Chicago pizza in our kitchen. I started planning escape routes.

Turns out I needn’t have worried — Barb appreciates good food as much as she appreciates New York. She loved the pizza sauce and forgave the crust. She declared that you should vote for me — and she has such good judgment. I’m just sayin’.

In addition to being exhausting, dangerous, and sometimes painful, this challenge was amazing! It allowed me to tackle new techniques (making homemade pizza dough), which is something I’m passionate about. It also provided an arena to do the things I already know I love: playing with food, making it adorable, and making it fun.

I hope you’ll make some pizza cupfakes and surprise someone you love. Or why not have a pizza day, complete with a pizza breakfast, lunch, dinner, and “dessert”? Have fun!

Deep Dish Pizza Cupfakes



Recipe by: Willow Bird Baking, compiled and adapted from the following sources:

- Recipe Pizza (crust) with help from Annie’s Eats
Strawberry Hedgehog (pizza sauce)

Yield: about 13 cupcake-sized cupfakes

Crust Ingredients:
1 package active dry yeast
2 teaspoon sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water
2 3/4 cups all−purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

Pizza Sauce Ingredients:
1/2 can tomato sauce (8 oz)
1 can tomato paste (6 oz)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

“Toppings”:
pepperoni
mozzarella
goat cheese
ricotta cheese
grape tomatoes
kosher salt mixed with a few drops of food coloring to create “sprinkles”

Directions:
To make dough, sprinkle yeast and sugar into the warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer (you can also use a hand mixer for this, or just mix by hand); allow stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the flour, cornmeal, oil and salt to the yeast mixture and knead on a high speed for 7-10 minutes (you could also do this part by hand on a floured surface). You may need to add more flour here (I added about a cup and still had a wet dough, but I left it at that).

Turn dough into a large bowl coated with olive oil. Cover with a dish towel and let rise in a warm spot until it has doubled in size, about 1-1.5 hours. To create a “warm spot,” I turn my oven on to 100 degrees F for a few minutes and then turn it off and open the door. When it has cooled to just barely above room temperature, I place the dough in and close the door, eliminating the possibility of drafts.

Prepare a muffin pan. Preheat the oven to 475 (with a pizza stone in it, if you have one – I just used a baking sheet). Coat each well with olive oil and a sprinkle of cornmeal. Punch risen dough down. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and let rest for 10 minutes. Using floured hands, pinch off about 2-inch balls of dough and place them in each prepared muffin well (you can freeze any leftover dough in a ball). In each well, poke a few pearls or slices of mozzarella cheese, some goat cheese, one or two pepperoni, and, finally, a big spoonful of sauce. In fact, I’d layer the sauce between each topping and then really stuff as much as you can on top — it’s the best part! Push each topping down so that the crust rises around the side. I use a spoon to gently press the sauce down at the end, so the entire thing resembles a deep dish pizza. Bake for 15-17 minutes. Let cool in the pan for at least 5 minutes before cooling on a cooling rack. If you’re making cupcakes, let them cool completely (otherwise, serve them warm).

To “frost,” pipe ricotta cheese onto each cupfake. Top with a grape tomato and salt sprinkles. You can heat each cupfake about 30 seconds before serving it. Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Pizzas Benedict



Recipe by: Willow Bird Baking, compiled and adapted from the following sources:

- Recipe Pizza (crust)
Tyler Florence (Hollandaise sauce)

Crust Ingredients:
1 package active dry yeast
2 teaspoon sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water
2 1/2 cups all−purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

“Toppings”:
about 8 scrambled eggs
spinach, torn into small pieces
cooked bacon, torn into small pieces
cheddar cheese
goat cheese
garlic
butter for scrambling eggs
salt and pepper to taste

Hollandaise Sauce:
4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
Pinch cayenne
Pinch salt

Directions:
To make dough, sprinkle yeast and sugar into the warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer (you can also use a hand mixer for this, or just mix by hand); allow stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the flour, cornmeal, oil and salt to the yeast mixture and knead on a high speed for 7-10 minutes (you could also do this part by hand on a floured surface). You may need to add more flour here (I added about a cup and still had a wet dough, but I left it at that).

Turn dough into a large bowl coated with olive oil. Cover with a dish towel and let rise in a warm spot until it has doubled in size, about 1-1.5 hours. To create a “warm spot,” I turn my oven on to 100 degrees F for a few minutes and then turn it off and open the door. When it has cooled to just barely above room temperature, I place the dough in and close the door, eliminating the possibility of drafts.

As dough rises, beat eggs, garlic, salt and pepper, and spinach together. Place a teaspoon or so of butter in a skillet over medium high heat and scramble egg mixture. Pour into a bowl and add cheddar cheese, goat cheese, and bacon.

Prepare a muffin pan. Preheat the oven to 475 (with a pizza stone in it, if you have one – I just used a baking sheet). Coat each well with olive oil and a sprinkle of cornmeal. Punch risen dough down. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and let rest for 10 minutes. Using floured hands, pinch off about 2-inch balls of dough and place them in each prepared muffin well (you can freeze any leftover dough in a ball). Place a heaping spoonful of egg mixture in the center of each well, pressing it down into the crust dough. Bake 15-17 minutes until crust is golden. Let cool in pan for at least 5 minutes. Serve warm with Hollandaise sauce.

Make the Hollandaise sauce while your pizzas bake: Whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice together in a stainless steel bowl and until it is thickened and doubled in volume. Place this bowl over a saucepan containing barely simmering water that does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Whisk rapidly and constantly, being careful not to let the eggs get so hot that they scramble. Drizzle melted butter in while continuing to whisk. Whisk until the sauce is thickened and doubled in volume. Remove from heat and whisk in cayenne and salt. Cover and place in a warm place until ready to use. If the sauce gets too thick, you can whisk in a few drops of warm water before serving.

Just for fun, here’s the list of ideas I considered for this challenge. Maybe you can grab one of these ideas and run with it!

  • Iconic Luxury Dish Pizza: Beef Wellington and Tiramisu Pizzas
  • Pizza Pie (a pie made with pizza ingredients – a take on tomato pie)
  • miniature pizzas with super accurate-looking toppings (e.g. tiny, tiny pepperoni!)
  • pizza pockets
  • dessert pizzas
  • a “pizza parfait” with layers of crust, sauce, cheese, toppings, basil in a parfait glass
  • a “waffled pizza” cooked on a waffle iron (this idea comes straight from the waffleizer blog, so not very original)
  • pizza cups — crust cups filled with sauce, cheese, and toppings and served as little appetizers
  • pizza muffins (muffins baked with cheddar cheese, pepperoni, etc. in them, and a mozzarella cheese ball in the center — sauce on top)
  • pizza nachos
  • pizza panini
  • fried pizza balls (not sure how I’d do this… somehow put pepperoni and cheese inside batter and fry the outside, and dip in sauce? Kind of just like mozzarella sticks, I guess)

What creative version of pizza can you think up?

If you liked this post, please:
-Subscribe to Willow Bird Baking
-Follow Willow Bird Baking on Twitter
-Follow Willow Bird Baking on Facebook
-Give this post a thumbs up on StumbleUpon


ShareOther ways to share this post with friends!

Print Friendly
Or you can share this post:
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stumbleupon
This post is published on Willow Bird Baking. All rights reserved by Julie Ruble.

If you liked this post, please:
-Subscribe to Willow Bird Baking
-Follow Willow Bird Baking on Twitter
-Follow Willow Bird Baking on Facebook

{ 172 comments… read them below or add one }

Leave a Comment

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: