When Bubba and I lived in Illinois, we were blown away by a small restaurant we stumbled into one day in St. Charles. We were looking for a cheap place to sit down and eat after running around all day, and Gino’s East fit the bill.
It was our first time to experience a true Chicago style deep dish pizza and from our first wide eyed bite, we were in love. If I could’ve married it; I would have. We ate there as often as we could, savoring every bite, until we received word that we were moving to Utah.
After our move, we became saddened by the fact Utah only offered us Dominos.
Homesick for our beloved pizza, I began what would turn out to be years of trial and error to recreate the famed pizza. I failed every time. The pizza’s tasted well enough, but the crust was always wrong. I gave up until two months ago when I happened upon a recipe that claimed it was the EXACT recipe the restaurant itself uses.
With a claim that bold, I had to give it a whirl. The first time I made it; it was close, but not quite as buttery as I remembered. (or at least wanted) So I kept trying.
Three times later and I think I have finally come as close as a home baker can get.
Ginos East Pizza Crust Recipe
slightly adapted from Food Com
- 2 1/4 C bread flour
- 3/4 C ground yellow cornmeal
- 1 C hot tap water
- 1 package of instant yeast
- 1 t salt
- 1 t sugar
- 6 T melted butter, cooled
Preheat oven to 475*F and prep your cast iron skillet with vegetable oil (about 1/2 T oil) –Simply rub the oil over the bottom of skillet and up the sides.
Grind the cornmeal as fine as possible. I don’t own a grinder so I use a mini food processor. After grinding, sift the cornmeal into the bowl of a stand mixer.
Pour hot water, cooled melted butter, yeast, sugar, and salt into the bowl with the cornmeal. Using the whisk attachment, whisk on low speed for ten minutes.
Switch to the dough hook attachment; set the speed to low. Slowly add the flour until the dough comes together in a ball. The dough should not be sticky; add more flour if it is. You may not have to use all the flour so pay attention to the texture of the dough as your adding the flour slowly. You want a dough that you can handle with your hands but not be sticky. It should not be sticking to the sides of the bowl but still feel soft.
Knead the dough by hand for five minutes. You should NOT need any additional flour to knead.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Set bowl in a warm place and let it rise until it has doubled in size.
Punch down dough, then roll out the dough with a rolling pin. Place into skillet and form the dough around the edges. Cover with towel and let the dough rest for 10-20 mins.
Once the dough has rested, it’s time to build the pizza. Prick the dough with a fork all over the bottom and sides. Then spread a 1/2 inch layer of mozzarella cheese on the bottom. (Sounds backwards but it works!) Then add your toppings. After your toppings, add an even layer of sauce over the top. Not too much or it will make your pizza soggy. Sprinkle the top of the sauce with a little Parmesan.
Bake for 15 mins at 475 then reduce the heat to 400*F and bake for another 10-20 mins. The cheese should rise to the top and brown. The crust will also be brown. Let the pizza cool for a few minutes before cutting.
Now grab a fork and dig in to a classic Chicago pie!