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Cookbook Review of the Month July

Pizza Cookbook coverA cookbook of my favorite food as a kid has taken the next step into the adult world. This is a fabulous cookbook with more than 60 recipes for every kind of pizza you can imagine. It is divided into the following chapters:

  1. The Basics for the Home Pizza Maker
  2. Neapolitan-Style Pizza
  3. New-York Style Pizza
  4. Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza
  5. California-Style Pizza
  6. Pizza on the Grill
  7. Quick and Kid Friendly Pizza
  8. Dessert Pizza

One of the authors, Tony Gemignani is a five time pizza tossing champion of the world, and I’ve seen him toss – he’s the best! The book is very easy to understand because it breaks pizza making down step by step. The are definitions of the ingredients needed to make a great pizza, guidelines for the tools to mix and prepare the dough, equipments for baking, serving and eating the pizza, and the type of ovens used.

This book is also good for vegetarians, as many of the pizzas contain no meat. The dessert pizzas make you want to take a bite of the page…from Cannoli Pizza, to Sweetheart Pizza, to the Fourth of July Berry Pizza; it makes it difficult to choose one to make.

The main course pizza include a Garlic marinated shrimp, sweet onion and roasted red pepper pizza, Chicken Caesar Salad Pizza, Lasagna Pizza, and of course your basic Pizza Margarita, among the many choices. There are also kid friendly pizzas and breakfast pizzas…who knew you could do so much with pizza????

I also like the fact that the book contains a Table of equivalents, and a three pages of sources for everything from Pizza tossing instructional videos to flour, to cheeses, to pizza ovens. There is nothing left out of this book.

The books is certainly a great buy of you love pizza, if you are a cookbook collector, or just want a beautifully photographed coffee table book for the kitchen. You won’t be disappointed, definitely buy this book!

Sample Recipe from the book (in honor of the fourth of July):

July 4th Triple-Berry Pizza

Makes one 14-inch pizza
Serves 8

Ingredients Berry Pizza Image
  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 1 portion (22 ounces) dessert pizza dough, at room temperature
  • Unbleached bread flour for dusting
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) coarsely shredded whole-milk or part-skim milk, low moisture mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (½ pint) fresh raspberries
  • 1 cup (½ pint) fresh blueberries
  • 8 large strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  1. Position an oven rack on the second-lowest level in the oven and place a baking stone on the rack. Position another rack in the upper third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 500°.

  2. Coat a 14-inch pizza screen or perforated pizza pan with cooking spray. Remove the dough from the plastic bag and place on a lightly floured work surface. Lightly dust the dough with flour. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 10-inch round without rolling over the edges. Lift the dough to make sure the dough isn’t sticking to the work surface. Shake the excess flour from the dough. Following the Dough-tossing technique on page 22, toss the dough until it is stretched to a 14-inch circle and place it on the prepared screen or pan.

    Alternatively, Lay the dough on the prepared screen or pan and gently stretch the dough into a 14-inch round. Scatter the mozzarella over the

  3. Place the pizza in the oven on the upper rack. (Work quickly to slide the pizza into the oven and close the door sp the oven temperature doesn’t drop too much.) Bake the pizza until the crust is crisp and a deep golden brown and the cheese is golden, 10-12 minutes. Using a pizza peel, lift the pizza off the screen or pan and place the crust directly on the baking stone. Using the peel or wearing thick oven mitts, remove the screen or pan from the oven. Bake the pizza until the bottom crust is golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Using the peel, remove the pizza from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. (Cool the pizza at room temperature for 5 minutes or up to 2 hours before adding the toppings.)

  4. To top the pizza: Spread the mascarpone cheese in a thin even layer the pizza crust, leaving a 1-inch border. Scatter the berries artfully over the cheese, and then sprinkle the lemon zest evenly over the berries. Using a fine-mesh sieve, dust the top of the pizza, including the crust, with powdered sugar. Slice the pizza into wedges and serve immediately.

Dessert Pizza Dough

Makes 44 ounces
Enough for 2 14-inch dessert pizzas

  • 1 package (2¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup lukewarm water (90° to 100° F)
  • 1 cup ice-cold water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon table salt or 1½ tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 5 ¼ to 5½ cups unbleached bread flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ tablespoon freshly grated nutmeg
  1. In a small bowl, using a fork, stir the yeast into lukewarm water. Set aside until the yeast dissolves about 5 minutes.

  2. In another small bowl, combine the cold water, sugar, salt, olive oil, and honey. Stir to dissolve the sugar and salt.

  3. To make the dough by hand: Place 5¼ cups of the flour in a large bowl. Add t e cinnamon and nutmeg and stir to combine. Make a well in the center of the flour and stir in the yeast mixture along with the cold water mixture. Using a wooden spoon, mix the dough, incorporating as much of the flour as is possible. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured work surface and knead until soft and elastic, 10-12 minutes. It will still be a little sticky but shouldn’t stick to your hands. Add only a minimum amount of flour to the work surface to keep the dough from sticking. To make the dough using a mixer: Fit a heavy duty stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. Place 5¼ cups of the flour in the mixing bowl. Add the cinnamon and nutmeg and mix on low speed to combine. Add the yeast mixture along with the cold water mixture and mix on low speed until the flour is incorporated and the dough gathers into a coarse ball, about 4 minutes. Let rest for 2 minutes and then mix on medium-low speed until the dough is smooth and not sticky, about 6 minutes longer. (if the dough begins to climb up the dough hook toward the motor drive, stop the mixer and push it down. If the machine labors and the motor feels hot, stop and wait a few minutes for the motor to cool down.) Turn the dough out on a well-floured work surface and knead for 1 to 2 minutes until it forms a smooth ball, adding up to ¼ cup of additional flour, if necessary.

  4. Cut the dough in half to form two even portions, ech 22 ounces. With floured hands, pick up one portion of dough and pull the opposite edges together, wrapping then underneath toward the center to form a tight smooth ball. Pinch to seal. Repeat with the second portion. Place each portion in a 1-gallon lock-top plastic bag. Squeeze out all the air and seal the bags, allowing enough room for the dough to double in size. Refrigerate at least 10 hours or up to 2 days. Remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before using to allow the dough to come to room temperature. Proceed with any dessert pizza recipe.

Book Title: Pizza
Authors: Diane Morgan and Tony Gemignani
Category: Pizza (as a main course and as a dessert)
ISBN: 0-8118-4554-0
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publisher address: 88 Second Street, San Francisco, California 94105
Website or e-mail of publisher:
Published: 2005
Edition: 1st Edition
Description: Paperback
Illustrated: Small illustrations near directions
Photographs: Beautifully photographed by Scott Peterson with full color pictures of many of the recipes
Price: $18.95
Reviewed by: Elise Feiner
  June 13, 2006


Used with permission of Chronicle Books LLC, San Francisco


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