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Delta Delicious with Martha Hall Foose

By Martha Hall Foose

Delta Delicious with Martha Hall Foose

Delta deep dish pizza

This chewy, cheesy pizza is a cross between Detroit-style pan pizza and focaccia. Now, if it’s the weekend, and I think I can scoot through without a trip to the grocery, I’ll whip-up a batch of this dough and pile whatever is around on top. (I highly recommend warming a big square of this pizza then topping it with a cracked egg and running it under the broil for a dynamite breakfast.)

Reversing the order of toppings by putting the cheese directly on top of the dough and then adding toppings and then, if desired, spooning a few light stripes of sauce over the toppings gives these pizzas a wonderfully crisp, almost fried crust.

Aside from the classic pepperoni and such, I like to top mine with some “Delta-style” toppings like crawfish tails, venison sausage, barbequed pulled pork, smoked brisket, even tablespoons of pimento cheese. Mix and match, add sauce, or just go full on cheesy.

This dough can be made by hand by following the same steps and times.

 

Ingredients
4    cups all-purpose flour
1    package (4 ounce) instant yeast (Rapid Rise)
2    teaspoons sugar
2    cups warm water
2    tablespoons kosher salt
4    tablespoons olive oil
Assorted toppings

 

In the bowl of a heavy duty stand mixer, combine the flour, yeast, and sugar. Attach the dough hook and add the water. Mix
on low speed for 2 minutes or until dough begins to form a shaggy dough. Turn off the mixer and cover bowl with a damp tea towel or cling wrap. Allow dough to rest for 10 minutes.

Remove the covering and mix dough on medium-low, sprinkling the salt over the dough. Increase speed to medium and
mix for 10 minutes occasionally pulling the dough off the hook.

Pour two tablespoons of olive oil into two 9 x 13-inch metal baking pans. Tilt the pans around to get oil all over the bottom and slightly up the sides of the pans. Cut dough into two equal pieces and place a hunk of dough in each pan. Press dough to form a thick rectangle and cover with a damp towel or cling wrap. Place in a draft-free warm spot. (I put mine in the closet with our hot water heater.) Let dough rise undisturbed for 2 hours.

Press, stretch, and pull dough to cover the bottom of each pan. The dough may shrink back a bit. Cover again and let dough rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Once again, press the dough, dimpling the surface to cover the bottoms of each pan.

Heat oven to 500 degrees and arrange an oven rack in the lowest position.

Top each pizza with shredded or sliced mozzarella cheese making sure to sprinkle cheese all the way to the edges of the pans. Add toppings.

Bake pizzas 15 to 20 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly or beginning to turn dark brown around the edges. When pizzas are out of the oven, run a sharp knife around the edges to loosen the cheesy crust. Let pizzas cool for 5 minutes and enjoy.

Makes two 9 x 13-inch-deep dish pizzas

 

Chock-A-Block chewy chocolate cookies

These are so easy and impressive! With the help of some old friends on all sorts of apps (that I’m not sure how to use) I cobbled together a close approximation to a cookie served at a beloved deli that closed years ago. I coupled those leads with an inspiration from what’s going on with peanut butter cups these days. The classic incorporates toasted pecans and chocolate chips. I tried batches with mixtures of crushed saltine crackers, pretzels, kettle cooked potato chips, and honey roasted peanuts. These cookies are deeply chocolatey with a salty crunch, chewy chocolate, and meringue crisp crust. Yum!

 

Ingredients
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 eggs (6 tablespoons egg whites)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat. In a large bowl, sift together the powdered sugar, cocoa, and flour. With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and salt together for 2 minutes at medium speed. Reduce speed to low and add the dry ingredients a little at a time until all incorporated. Stir in additions. Scoop eight scant 1/4 cup portions of dough onto prepared pans.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes on the middle rack of the oven. The cookies will be crisp with trenches of chewy chocolate.  Allow to cool before removing from pan.

Makes 8 large cookies

 

Martha Hall Foose, the author of “Screen Doors & Sweet Tea: Recipes and Tales of a Southern Cook,” won the James Beard Award for American Cooking. Her latest collaboration is “A Good Meal is Hard to Find: Storied Recipes from the Deep South” with Amy C. Evans. Martha makes her home in the Mississippi Delta with her husband and son. She is a member of Yazoo Valley Electric Power Association.

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