Claridge’s Hotel in London has had the tastiest pastry dough pizza on their late-night menu for more than a decade; it’s always been a great way to wind down at 3am. Here, we expanded on their original dish and turned it into a feast perfect for a casual gathering, or whenever you might want a pizza with quality ingredients and a spicy kick.
It is the excellence of the ingredients which makes this an over-the-top pizza treat. There are a few tricks to make sure the dough is fully cooked and flaky, and that the sauce has a proper kick to it. We have approached pizza a myriad of ways and concluded that superior store-bought ingredients can be just as delicious as if you made the sauce and dough yourself. Frankly, quality store-bought pastry dough is now available anywhere, and we recommend either Pepperidge Farms (which comes with two sheets) or the James Beard-winning Dufour dough (one large sheet). For sauce, buy Rao’s marinara: it comes from my favorite Italian spot in New York, and is now a well known Italian brand just about everywhere. For this dish we recommend thickly-sliced mozzarella cheese from your local deli or cheese shop.
We have made hundred of variations of this amazing snack or simple dinner. It’s as delicious as it simple.
- 2 cups Rao’s Marinara, or use your own red sauce
- 1 package of either Pepperidge Farms or Dufour Pastry Dough
- 8 -10 slices mozzarella cheese, thickly cut
- Red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup chives, finely chopped
- 12-16 basil leafs, rough chopped
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- 1/2 pound hard pepperoni, thickly sliced
- 1 to 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
The key this dish is the dough, making sure it is crisp so the sauce does not turn the pizza into a red-hot limp mess. Also, when it comes to ingredients, always allow for extra to finish the dish. In this recipe, always have a little extra pepper flakes, chives, parmesan, etc. to sprinkle on top before serving
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and make sure a rack is set in the middle
- You will need two half baking sheets, one one with parchment paper. Put two sheets of pastry dough down, separated. If you use Dufour you will have to cut the dough in half. Take a fork and poke holes all over the dough, then layer another sheet of parchment on top and add the second baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. When you remove, press down to get the air out.
The two half baking sheets create a oven-press, keeping the pastry dough from getting out of control and losing any uniformity
- While the dough is cooking, take a sauce pan over medium heat, drizzle a little olive oil and add a teaspoon of red pepper flakes, then sauté for a minute or two before adding the Rao’s sauce and cooking down for 15-20 minutes. Be sure to stir, this will spice up and thicken the sauce
- Layer the pepperoni to cover one sheet of the dough, spread the sauce to cover, not smother, the pepperoni. Sprinkle half the basil and parmesan, along with red pepper flakes, then layer the mozzarella cheese to cover the sauce. Then, top with the second sheet of pastry dough
- Lightly brush the top layer with a little (emphasis on little) tomato sauce, jalapeños, basil and parmesan. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown, then let rest for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with more herbs, parmesan, red pepper flakes, and salt, serve.