Not that long ago, Hubby asked if I were in the mood for pizza. He knows I’m not a huge pizza fan. For him to ask meant he was the one craving a slice. Naturally, I said yes. Hubby came home with the most incredible take out pizza pie I’ve ever seen. It was one of those take and bake jobs from Papa Murphy’s – their Five-Meat Stuffed Pizza. Have you seen that monster of a pizza? It’s two meaty pizzas stacked one on top of the other with a braided edge holding the two together. I swear, it weights a ton. As I said, I’m not a huge fan of pizza, but this pizza was awesome. It reminded me of another “pizza pie” – one of my own creations. While the two pies look nothing alike, the concept is the same.
Have you seen the Sunny Spinach Pie recipe that made the rounds on Facebook a few years back? (Mine included). When I made Sunny Spinach Pie for the first time way back in the summer of 2014, it was part of a trial run for a dish to bring to a long overdue family reunion. I wanted to bring something of a sunflower nature to my sister’s first family gathering in her “new” old country home. It’s a beautiful Craftsman home located on the outskirts of a small rural town. My favorite photo of the house is her home surrounded by fields of sunflowers. The moment I saw the Sunny Spinach Pie, I knew the presentation was perfect for what was quickly becoming a very special event in our family. Like so many families, we had scattered to the four corners and, although close, we didn’t spend as much time together as we once did. When Brother Dear, as a final step toward a heart transplant, was diagnosed with small-cell lung cancer, we could not let life and excuses get in the way. Gathering as a family while we still could was all that mattered.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that Sunny Spinach Pie was the right theme, but the wrong filling. While the outward appearance of the Sunny Spinach Pie was well suited for the country table, its spinach filling simply would not do. Fine for me, I like spinach dishes. Fine for most everyone else, too. But Brother Dear (our guest of honor) and spinach were not a good mix. Give that man a Pepperoni Pizza any day, for any meal (even breakfast) and he’s doing a Happy Dance. However; should the slightest hint of green even try to creep onto his plate, and he would put as much distance between him and the green as possible. I needed to create a new Sunny Pie. One that kept the look of the original, but with a filling my beautiful (although picky) brother would enjoy. I kept the dough and the form of the Sunny Spinach Pie recipe while replacing the filling with typical pizza toppings. The Ricotta Cheese and egg were used only as binding ingredients, to help the rings hold their shape during the “twisting” and baking process. The results were a Sunny Pepperoni Pizza Pie that was both appealing to the eye as well as the taste buds of even the most finicky of eaters.
Sunny Pepperoni Twist
17 oz of flour
1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon salt
6 oz Pepperoni, chopped (reserve some whole for garnish if desired)
2 Cups Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
2 oz Ricotta Cheese
6 oz of grated Parmesan cheese, divided
3 Tablespoons Pizza Sauce
Italian Bread crumbs
1 Egg, lightly beaten
White Wine to thin SLIGHTLY
12-14 Slices Whole Pepperoni (if desired)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Using the dough hook, knead until the dough is smooth and combined. Wrap in plastic while you make the filling.
To create the filling, mix chopped Pepperoni, Mozzarella and Ricotta Cheeses. Add egg, half of the Parmesan Cheese, salt and pepper. Mix well, then set aside.
Unwrap the dough from the plastic and divide it into two equal parts. Lay parchment paper over the round baking stone (pizza stone). Dust lightly with flour. Dust rolling-pin and dough lightly with flour. Using a rolling-pin, roll the first half of the dough out to just under the side of your baking stone, or about 12 inches. Sprinkle the first disk with a little bread crumb, remove from stone by lifting with parchment paper under the disk and set aside.
Cover the baking stone with a second piece of parchment paper. Dust rolling-pin and dough lightly with flour. Roll second dish out to about the same size as the first. DO NOT sprinkle this disk with breadcrumbs. You want to keep it somewhat “sticky”. Lift with parchment paper and remove from dish.
Invert first dish onto baking stone. Sprinkle with a little breadcrumb. This will help absorb the liquid from the filling and help to keep the bottom dough dry.
On the breadcrumb dough, make two circles with the filling – an outer circle and an inner circle “mound”. Leave room between the circles and along the edge to seal the dough. Sprinkle the filling with the remaining grated Parmesan Cheese.
Place the second dough circle over the top of the filling. Seal the edges by hand, then press with a fork. Place a small bowl in the middle of the pie over the center mound, and press lightly to make an indentation in the dough. Use your fork to press LIGHTLY around the bowl.
With the bowl still in place, cut the dough into pieces approximately just under an inch. Once the outer dough has been cut, lift each section and twist back to expose the filling. Continue to lift and until each outer slice is twisted. Remove bowl and brush lightly with egg wash. If desired, decorate center of “flower” with additional chopped Pepperoni.
Transfer pizza baking stone to oven. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven, loosen with thin spatula. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a round serving platter and serve while still warm. If desired, offer pizza sauce for “dipping”.
This “snack” food got two thumbs up from Brother Dear. That’s only fitting, since he was (and continues to be) my source of inspiration.
Step by step photos