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Ice Pizza (Cacio e Pepe)

This is a fun and crowd surprising pizza made with ice, Pecorino Romano cheese, and black pepper. I wish I could take credit for this technique, but this is pizza-genius Marc Vetri’s inspiration from a recipe shared by Roman chef Stefano Callegari. His approach is to use a firmer dough with lower hydration than I do – but honestly, I use the same pizza dough for any pizza I make. My normal approach is for guests on the Pedernales to “make their own” pizza and this is a pie that I make at the end of the evening when we have run out of most of the toppings. Many people haven’t had the joy of making a pizza, accomplish getting it into the oven without dropping it, and then smelling the olive oil, toast, and slightly burned smell of a very fresh pie.

Pizza starts with dough, and for some reason this intimidates many people from trying to make it at home. I’ve included my tried and proven recipe which will create a 65% hydrated dough. This works perfect in our wood-fired oven where the temperature is close to a 1000 degrees. At home you may want to increase the hydration a bit since it will cook slower in a kitchen oven. So what does this mean? Hydration is just the ratio of water to flour and since these two ingredients along with yeast and salt are all that is in pizza dough – you get to make your own adjustments really easily.

First, you have to have a kitchen scale. Put your mixer bowl on the scale, hit tare, and add your flour. Then add 65% of this weight in water (or whatever hydration) you want, plus some yeast and salt – and you have the makings of pizza dough. It’s really that easy.

A few ice cubes

1/2 cup of Pecorino Romano cheese, or Parmesan if that is what you have available

Freshly ground black pepper

Extra-virgin olive oil

8 oz of pizza dough (240 grams)

Prepare your dough as if you were making pizza but leave a bit of a larger rim around the edge. Place the ice cubes in the middle and place the dough in the oven. Cook it as if you were making a typical pizza rotating it until it is done. The water will leave a pool in the middle. When it comes out of the oven liberally sprinkle on the cheese and add the black pepper. Finish with some EVOO and enjoy!

Pizza Dough

4 cups (570 gm) of bread flour (I use Antimo Caputo Nuvola Super “0” available online)

1 tsp instant yeast

2 tsp kosher salt

13 oz (370 ml) of cold tap water

Extra semolina for shaping

Add the flour, yeast, and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer and stir to combine. Add the water and knead on low speed for 6 to 7 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it stand at room temperature until it has doubled in size. Sometimes I let it sit in the refrigerator overnight, but this is optional. Divide the dough into four 8 ounce (240 gm) pieces and shape into balls after some gentle kneading. Place the dough balls onto a sheet pan dusted with semolina with space in between. Lightly oil the top of the balls with EVOO and cover the tray with plastic wrap. Let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours but up to 3 to 4 days.

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Dan McCoy