A few years ago, after we moved back to Sioux Falls, we noticed a newspaper ad insert for Papa Murphy's. For those of you not familiar with Papa Murphy's, they specialize in "take and bake" pizzas. You buy a ready-for-the-oven pizza at their store and take it home to bake it. It was close to Halloween and they were advertising a jack-o'-lantern pizza. I looked at the ad and thought "I can do that". Since then, making a jack-o'-lantern pizza for Halloween has become a tradition at our house.
To make the jack-o'-lantern pizza, simply form a "stem" at the top of the pizza when rolling the dough out on the pan. It's really quite easy to do! Use strips of green pepper to make it look more like a stem. After spreading the cheese on top of the toppings, make a jack-o'-lantern "face" using pepperoni, black or green olive slices or any other toppings. If you have young children at home, it's a lot of fun to let them make the jack-o'-lantern face. We've also used the mini pepperoni to spell out "Boo!" and "Eek!" on the pizza. Just use your imagination!
My youngest son, Adam, made the pizza this year!
Makes 2 - 12" pizzas or 1 - 16" pizza
2 3/4 - 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 pkg. (2 1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. dry Italian seasoning
1 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
1 cup lukewarm water (slightly cool to the touch)
2 tbsp. cooking oil (can also use olive oil, if you prefer)
Pizza Sauce (my family prefers the Ragu Original Pizza Quick Sauce, but I've included a good recipe for homemade sauce below, if you're in a pinch or want to make your own sauce)
Toppings - whatever you and your family likes to have on their pizza!
In a large bowl, combine 1 1/4 cups of flour, the yeast, salt, seasoning, and parmesan cheese. Add the warm water and oil. Beat with an electric mixer (or you can also use a whisk, if mixing this by hand) on low speed for 30 seconds. Scrape bowl and continue mixing on a higher speed for 3 minutes. Using a spoon (or dough hook, if using a machine), stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead in enough remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic - about 6 minutes. Place dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel. Let the dough rise for approximately 30 minutes.
|All ready for the pan!|
|Adam doing a GREAT job rolling out the dough!|
Spread pizza sauce over the crust (be careful it you pre-baked the crust) and layer on any other toppings you and your family likes. Finish the pizza with a generous layer of mozzarella cheese (shredded or slices - whatever you and your family likes). If you're feeling adventurous, try blending the mozzarella with parmesan, provolone, romano or asiago cheeses.
|Now for the sauce . . . .|
1 - 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 - 7 1/2 oz. can undrained diced tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tbsp. dried basil (use 1 tbsp. if using fresh basil)
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. dried oregano (use 1 tbsp. if using fresh oregano)
2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 tsp. pepper
Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes or until the onion is tender.
And, if you find yourself really pressed for time or if making a pizza from scratch just really isn't your thing, then check out Papa Murphy's. They make a pretty good pizza!
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