One of the most ubiquitous foods associated with cannabis is pizza. From the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Jeff Spicoli, the stereotypical smoker is also a big time pizza eater. In New York, pizza is just a part of life, so if you tried to use pizza consumption as a marker for cannabis use, you would have an estimated 1.6 million per day. What’s better than pizza? These mini cannabis pizzas!
Pizza is part of my blood, and now being Italian and actually being an anthropomorphized pizza is a meme, which makes perfect sense. Pizza is only just over a hundred years old, and it was carted over through the Seaport same as my paternal Neapolitan ancestors, where it has become one of the most famous foods in the world, not just Italy and New York, or amongst cannabis users.
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Having tried some of our legendary shops’ frozen offerings, I was sorely disappointed. Though an Artichoke Basille’s slice fulfills a specific need for carbs and cheese that’s coded into my DNA, their frozen pie was abhorrent, just like most frozen pizzas I’ve tasted with these bonafides. Take my advice, you can do better, and you’ll have pizza for tonight, and a few left over for days when you’re desperate. By shaping eight pizzas out of one dough ball, you’re getting the added bonus of working on your developing pizza skills that only the few and the proud possess.
Make Ahead Mini Pizzas
Danielle Guercio 2010
Yields 8 6-inch pizzas with 10mg THC per serving
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 cups flour
- 1 Tbsp yeast (active)
- 1 can crushed tomatoes
- ½ oz extra virgin olive oil
- ½ oz cannabis infused oil*
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- A few slices of onion
- Salt to taste
- A pinch of sugar
- Pepper to taste
- Pecorino or Italian cheese rind (optional)
- Mozzarella cheese
- Olive oil for drizzling
- Parchment paper
- Freezer bag or container
- Silpat (optional)
Start with the dough. You can do this the day before if you want to eat pizza faster around dinner time. I use a bread machine to knead dough, which you can sub with a stand mixer or dough blade with a food processor. The bread machine not only kneads the dough, but it allows the yeast to activate and gives you the first rise, knocking out a few of the steps for you. If you’re not using a machine, allow yeast, water, sugar, salt, and oil to proof in a bowl for 5 minutes until you see lots of air bubbles. Then you can gently mix in the flour and knead until it forms a ball. Allow to rise for 60 minutes.
After the first proof, gently punch down and divide the dough into small balls, you can make 2 large pizzas or 8 small pizzas with this recipe.
Form into balls by gently working the edges underneath the mass, lightly tucking them inwards. Allow these to rise for 30-40 minutes with a towel or greased/floured sheet of plastic to protect them.
While the dough is rising, build your sauce in a heavy pot. Sautee garlic in the olive oil, not the infused oil, until just translucent, being very careful not to burn it. Drop in your tomatoes, spices, and the cheese rind if you’re using one. The rind and a slice of onion will flavor the sauce without adding particles into it, you’ll pull them out before serving. Allow to simmer uncovered on lowest heat in the background while you work on the dough. Now would be a good time to preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Shape balls into pizza crusts by pressing the middle to a ½” to ¼” thickness. Use the tips of your fingers to press that thickness outwards. Repeat this until the center thins out and you have big puffy edges. Now you can pick up the dough (use your knuckles to avoid holes) and pinch it your thumb and index finger on both hands while moving it circular. Think that you’re working on a record spun vertically while you make it an even thickness, leaving some puff for the crust. Each one should end up roughly 6 inches wide.
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If you’re eating them right away, you can build your pizza on the raw dough, but I always pre-bake, since home ovens don’t perform like special pizza ovens. If you’re freezing them, the pre bake will give you a sturdier crust that will hold up to handling and reheating. You may need to use a fork to poke a few air vents in the center. Bake in cycles, par-baking a few at a time for 7 minutes.
Drop the oven to 350 and turn the heat off of your sauce. Remove cheese and onion and discard. Now you can add the cannabis oil and stir well. Put one or two spoonfuls onto the crust and spread around. Last and most importantly, hit it with a generous amount of fresh, milky mozzarella cheese. Bake for 5-10 minutes, depending on your oven and on the doneness you like.
For a bit more crisp on the cheese, try letting it rest in a paper towel lined colander while you make all the other parts to draw out some moisture. New York style is when you can see crisp bubbles in the cheese like a stock photo pizza, Neapolitan style leaves the cheese and the crust softer, especially towards the middle, with serious charring on the edges. At home you may have to settle for choosing between crispy or soft.
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Cool completely if you’ll be packing them up for the freezer, simply fold into some oven safe parchment paper and seal tightly. To reheat, remove from freezer and put on cookie sheet with paper still wrapped. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees and enjoy!
*Cannabis Infused Oil
Decarboxylate 3.5g of finely ground cannabis at 225 degrees for 20 minutes in a tightly sealed, oven safe container.
Put in lidded mason jar or vacuum sealed bag with cannabis and two ounces of canola oil. Heat in water bath just under boiling for at least 1 hour. Strain and store in a clean container in the fridge for 1 month or freezer 6 months.
Pizza is one of the most iconic foods to eat when you’re high, and that’s because it’s portable and oftentimes affordable. It’s the food of my people, the Italian immigrants, and making it with the best ingredients you can reasonably acquire is how they do it in the motherland. By making in bulk, you’re saving money in the long run. Getting lifted by eating one is finally combining two of the most seemingly obvious things to combine, especially visually undetectable: weed and pizza.
Photos: Danielle Guercio
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