California Pizza Kitchen Self-Rising Sicilian

Dear readers,

Exactly what is self-rising? Does it mean a self-sufficient, confident dough that doesn't require any external rising aid or...stimulation? In our case, it called for a slightly floppy pie dough that sizzled as soon as it hit the oven and firmed up rather nicely upon vigorously heating for twenty minutes or so. Just curious.

The pie is delicious on its own, of course, but we doctored it to fit our likings. This is probably the only frozen pizza I've ever had that packs so much meat into its supple, buttery crust. Where most pies have strangely sporadic toppings, often askew, this one has an even amount of salami, ham, and sausage on each slice. Each of the meats is present within the flavor of the pizza, especially the salami, and CPK is generous with their portions and flavorings. It's a very savory pizza. Of course, that doesn't make up for the fact that they still recommended a fucking Chianti and had the audacity to drop the word "tannins" on me while I was cooking a frozen pizza. If I wanted to party like it was 1977, I'd have a Penfold's Grange and snort cocaine off some frosted glass. Jesus.
The cheese, as is with most pizzas, is rather skimpy, but since we were still so bowled over with the meat in the dish, we didn't mind. In fact, we supplemented the cheese with cheese of our own, coating the entire thing with a liberal dosage of cheddar, fresh mozzarella, and parmesan at the end, adding a little basil, hot sauce and some chopped tomatoes. But the additions didn't obscure the flavor of the original pizza base. I wish that CPK (which still reminds me of BTK) would make a plain, Boboli-inspired pizza crust to add your own toppings to, because their self-rising crust is so damned good. If the thin crust is a flaky bitch, less of a crust than a thin layer of hard tack biscuit, similar to those seen in Civil War reenactments, the self-rising is a curvacious, hot mama who rocks your world with a rough cornmeal exterior and a soft inner core. Delicious.

But with all honesty, the crust holds up to all kinds of toppings and still maintains a very crispy and substantial crunch. On its own, it beats out most breads at chain restaurants, and with the toppings, it's super good. We had a lot of fun doctoring this pizza and really enjoyed the outcome.

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