Mushrooms and cream are a classic combination, especially when layered on top of a crispy pizza. Based on a white pizza topped with mushrooms I love from my local pizzeria, I’ve created my own version.
I take a shortcut and use a store-bought pizza crust, which makes this an easy and impressive meal to recreate at home for family or friends. The pizza has a few components, but they are relatively hands-off!
Store-Bought Dough Makes It Easy
Store-bought pizza dough is a great way to simplify prep. Though most store-bought doughs come in 1 to 2-pound increments, we will only be using half a pound of dough per pizza (anything more, and I find that the dough is less crispy and more ‘fluffy’ in the skillet).
This pizza method is forgiving, as we’ll be proofing and stretching it right in the pan; therefore, it can work with many different doughs. This shaping method was inspired by King Arthur’s pan pizza recipe, but I typically use a store-bought Whole Foods or Wegman’s pizza dough instead of homemade.
Breaking Down the Toppings
Now that we’ve discussed the dough, let’s talk toppings!
- Mushrooms: You can use any combination of mushrooms you like here. I love using a variety of cremini, oysters, and shiitake.
- Cheese: A mixture of mozzarella and Gruyère cheese gives a creamy, sharp, and nutty flavor. For the mozzarella, I recommend buying and grating a block of low-moisture mozzarella. Don’t buy fresh mozzarella in liquid, as it can make the pizza too wet.
- White sauce: Made with heavy cream, the white sauce simmers with garlic and reduces on the stove until it’s thickened.
- Balsamic glaze: Balsamic glaze, a reduction of balsamic vinegar with sugar, adds a sweet acidity that balances out the richness of the cheese and mushrooms. For easier prep, I like to use a store-bought glaze. You can find balsamic glaze at most major supermarkets or Italian specialty shops. If you want to make a balsamic glaze from scratch, find a recipe here.
For a cheesy, flavorful pizza with a crispy crust, try the following tips.
- Use a well-seasoned cast iron skillet, and make sure to oil the skillet to prevent the dough from sticking to the pan. If your skillet is not well-seasoned, you can use a bit more oil.
- Grate the cheese using a food processor with the grater attachment for quicker prep.
- Gently stretch the pizza as it proofs. Your goal is to stretch the pizza to the edge of the skillet while proofing. Every 20 minutes, you can check the dough, stretching it a bit more―if it’s resisting, let it relax for another 20 minutes before trying again.
Preheat the oven:
Set a rack in the bottom-third of the oven and preheat the oven to 450°F.
Coat the skillets:
Coat two 10-inch cast-iron skillets with 1 tablespoon of oil each over the pans’ base and sides. If your skillet is newer or less seasoned, layer 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil per pan. Place each 8-ounce portion of pizza dough into a skillet, and toss to coat in the oil on all sides.
Stretch the dough:
Place your hands under the dough and gently tug and stretch it towards the sides of the skillet. If the dough resists, it needs time to relax, so wait for 10 to 15 minutes before trying again. Continue stretching, pausing for 10 minutes, and stretching again until the dough is fully stretched and touches the sides of the skillet, around 30 minutes.
Proof the dough:
As the dough begins to relax and stretch, it will also begin rising. After the dough is fully stretched, continue letting it rise in the skillet until fully proofed, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. To test if the dough is fully proofed, gently press the dough with a finger to make an indentation. If the dough slowly springs back and leaves a small indentation, it’s proofed correctly. However, if it springs back very quickly, it’s under-proofed and will need more time. Dimple the dough by gently pressing your fingers all over.
Roast the mushrooms:
Meanwhile, toss the mushrooms with 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Transfer to a large parchment-lined baking sheet and layer as evenly as possible (there will be some overlap, but they will shrink in the oven). Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring halfway through, or until the mushrooms are wrinkled, golden-brown, and slightly crispy. Toss with 1/4 cup parsley and let cool completely.
Make the white sauce:
In a small skillet, bring the cream to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low until the cream is simmering gently with small bubbles over the surface. Stir in the garlic clove, a pinch of salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper. Simmer until the cream is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, pour into a heat-proof container, and cool completely.
Assemble the first pizza:
In the first skillet, spread 1/2 of the cheese all over the top of the dough. Note that any cheese left closer to the sides of the pan will crisp up and brown (if you don’t like this, leave a 1/2-inch gap between the sides of the pan and the dough).
Spread 1/2 of the mushrooms all over the cheese. Use a spoon to drizzle 1/2 of the thickened cream sauce on top.
Bake the first pizza:
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, rotating halfway through until the bottom of the pizza looks crispy and deep golden-brown, and the cheese is bubbly and browned on top. Remove from the oven, and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of balsamic glaze (or more if desired). Let cool for a few minutes before serving.
Assemble and bake the second pizza:
While the first pizza cools, assemble, bake, and cool the second pizza using the remaining ingredients.
Run a spatula or knife around the edges and bottom of each skillet to release them from the pan, and transfer them to a wooden cutting board. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley. Use a knife or kitchen scissors to slice them into wedges. Serve warm.
Leftover pizza can be wrapped in aluminum foil and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat leftover pizza on an aluminum foil-lined sheet pan at 350°F until warmed through, 8 to 10 minutes.
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