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Homemade pizza is a different creature entirely from restaurant varieties. It has its own virtues (freshness, high quality ingredients), but it may not satisfy one’s craving for that Platonic ideal which hovers in the ether over New York City.


Still, I like my own pie better than anything I can get within a 30 minute drive. The “instant” crust is yeasted, but I don’t give it much time to develop and it has a crunchy, almost cracker-like consistency around the edges even where it puff up. In the center, it may take on a lighter, more breadlike texture, especially if I let the dough rise longer, but I always make it as thin as I can.

Dough for two pizzas baked on cookie sheets:

Preheat the oven to 425° (=220C).

Place 1 cup warm water in a measuring cup and add 1 envelope of instant yeast (1/4 ounce or 7 grams), a tablespoon or two of olive oil, a big pinch of sugar and a touch of salt. Mix and let stand until you see the yeast bubbling up.

Measure 2 cups flour into a mixing bowl and add the warm water. Stir until a firm dough forms and add up to 1/2 cup more flour so that it isn’t sticky. Keep mixing until it gets a bit elastic. Cover and let sit 15 minutes or (preferably) longer, while you prepare the toppings.

Gather the toppings and generously oil two baking sheets. Divide the dough in two and with oiled hands, gradually press it out into a very thin crust on the sheets. This is a laborious process but worth it. Let the crusts rise a bit if you like.

Top the pies and bake each one 15 minutes, watching their progress carefully.

Garden plum tomatoes, slow roasted with herbes de Provence and salt, form a nice thick sauce once they’re puréed. This is topped with whatever cheeses I have on hand, perhaps enrobing some veggie pepperoni. It’s a no-fail comfort food.