Jalapeno Popper Pizza on NY Style Crust

Kirk and I love pizza.  And when I say love, I mean L-O-V-E.  We can’t get enough of it!  My favorite pizza memory of all time is the first time I had REAL new york pizza.  It was an 18″ pepperoni that was delivered after a night out on the town (my first time in NY after turning 21) and the cheese was all melty and the crust was all bubbly.  I swear I’ve never had a pizza that tasted quite that good again.  So, now you can imagine my excitement when I open my new Cook’s Illustrated Cook Book and lo and behold, there it is on page 609!  New York-Style Thin-Crust Pizza.  I was already in love with my new cook book, but it definitely got bumped up a few notches after this find 🙂

Kirk recently stumbled upon a recipe for Jalapeno Popper Pizza on one of his favorite food blogs and posted it on my facebook page requesting an early birthday feast.  Light bulb!  Perfect time to try out the recipe for New York-Style crust.

So, we married the two recipes and voila!   Note, the dough recipe makes TWO crusts.  The pizza toppings below are also enough for two pizzas 🙂

Jalapeno Popper Pizza on New York-Style Thin-Crust Pizza (makes two 14″ pizzas)


  • 1 block of cream cheese (regular, low-fat or neufchatel – I used the latter)
  • Double batch of: jalapeno ranch dressing
  • 4 jalapeno peppers, sliced and de-seeded (2 per pizza)
  • 8 slices bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces and cooked (4 per pizza)
  • 2 cups mozzarella, shredded (1 per pizza)
  • 2 cups cheddar, shredded (1 per pizza)

Dough Ingredients

  • 16.5 ounces bread flour (~3 cups, highly recommend using food scale)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 1.5 cups ice water
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • *1/2 cup of corn meal or flour (I think corn meal worked better)

Steps for the whole process:  Feel free to substitute where needed.

1-2 Days Ahead

  1. Start pizza dough at least 24 hours in advance (required to sit overnight).
    1. In a large food processor fitted with a dough blade – pulse flour, sugar and yeast until combined, about 5 pulses.
    2. With food processor running, slowly add water; process until dough is just combined and do dry flour remains, about 10 seconds.  Be prepared to add 1 or 2 TBSP of extra water if needed.  Let dough sit for 10 minutes.
    3. Add oil and salt to dough and process until dough forms satiny, sticky ball that clears the sides of the bowl (30 to 60 seconds).  Transfer dough to lightly oiled counter and knead BRIEFLY by hand until smooth, about 1 minute.  Shape dough into tight ball and place in large, lightly oiled bowl; cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a least 24 hours, or up to 3 days.
  2. Then, make DOUBLE BATCH of Jalapeno Ranch Dressing (1 night before, min) by blending the ingredients in a blender or food processor:
    1. 1/2 cup buttermilk, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 2 jalapenos (stemmed and seeded), 2 cloves garlic, 2 green onions, juice of 1 lime, 2 small handfuls cilantro, salt and pepper to taste
  3. Cut the bacon and cook until crispy.  Store in air-tight container or ziplock.
  4. If you are shredding your own cheese, you can also do that ahead of time!  I shredded a huge block of cheddar using my food processor shredding blade.  30 seconds, voila!

Day of:

  1. One hour before baking, adjust the oven rack to the upper-middle position (4-5 inches from broiler), place baking stone in oven and heat oven to 500 degrees.  This was too hot for my stone (smoked out my kitchen), so I turned it down to 450.  Still worked!
  2. Take the pizza dough out of the fridge.  Transfer dough to clean counter and divide in half.  With cupped palms, form each half into a smooth, tight ball.  Place balls of dough on a lightly greased baking sheet, spacing at least 3″ apart.  Cover loosely with greased plastic wrap and let sit for 1 hour.
  3. Take jalapeno ranch and cream cheese out of the fridge.  Measure out 15 tbsp of ranch (~ a little less than 1 cup) and then put in the whole block of cream cheese (slightly broken into chunks) into your blender or mini food processor.  Blend on high or pulse.  Put back in fridge until ready to assemble pizza.
  4. Chop jalapenos and set aside (remove seeds, will still be plenty hot).
  5. POUR GLASS OF WINE AND SIT DOWN!!   I used this time to hang out with our guests and enjoy an appetizer 🙂
  6. Once the dough has been out for an hour (or anytime after when you are ready), prep your counter or silicone baking mat with flour.  Then coat one of the dough balls generously with flour (keeping other ball covered with plastic).  Use fingertips to gently flatten dough into 8-inch disk, leaving 1 inch of outer edge slightly thicker than the center.  Using hands, gently stretch disk into 12-unch round, working along the edges and giving quarter turns.  FEEL FREE TO PICK UP AND GENTLY TOSS, PUTTING YOUR KNUCKLES UNDER THE DOUGH TO STRETCH.  Transfer to pizza peelcovered in corn-meal and stretch to 13 inches.
    1. You’ll notice the crust start to bubble as you are stretching the dough.  I guess that’s a sign that they got the recipe right!!
  7. Spread the 6-7 TBSP cream-cheese jalapeno ranch dressing over the dough.
  8. Sprinkle the jalapeno peppers, bacon, and cheeses onto the pizza.
  9. Bake in a preheated 500F oven until golden brown on top, about 5-10 minutes (closer to 12 minutes if you are baking at 450).
  10. Let cool on wire rack for 5 minutes before slicing and serving!
  11. Repeat steps 6-8 for second pizza!  Bake while enjoying the first one 🙂
  12. VOILA!

Happy Cooking!!  Please email me with any questions.  Reading the recipe is WAY better straight out of the book, I highly recommend buying a copy!

PS – I’m currently raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in honor of a friend of mine.  If you like this recipe and would like to show your support by donating, here is my website!   http://pages.teamintraining.org/nc/nikesf12/lizhward


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