Most people looking for a gourmet pizza might be afraid to eat in this tiny town in South Dakota. With a population of only 311 people, chances are slim that there are any skilled pizzaiolos around, right?
Rest assured that people visiting Mount Rushmore in spring, summer, or fall can get flavorful pizza at Big Time. Thousands of campers, hikers, and vacationers come to this scenic area each year, expecting to find great beauty and tranquility in nature. They are pleasantly surprised to find great pizza, too, among the rocky cliffs and mountainous terrain.
Big Time means big flavor, as in this spicy Buffalo Chicken Pizza, which just might melt the ice off that South Dakota winter. In the meantime, you can enjoy it from the comfort of your own kitchen.
I like to put thin strips of roasted chicken on pizzas. Strips are easier to eat than chunks, which fall off. In this recipe, you partially cook the breast, as it will continue to cook on the pizza. You could make more and freeze them for up to ninety days. Or make them up to three days ahead and refrigerate in an airtight container or sealable plastic bag.
Place the flour, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix on low to combine, about 5 seconds. Add the water and the olive oil and mix until a ball forms, about 2 minutes.
Turn off the mixer and let the dough rest for about 10 minutes. Add the salt. Knead on medium speed for 12 minutes. If the dough is too wet or sticky, add a teaspoon of flour and mix until a ball comes cleanly off the side of the bowl. When the dough is ready it should be firm, smooth, and supple.
To test elasticity, hold a 1-inch piece between your fingers and stretch the dough to make a windowpane. It should look like bubblegum. If not, knead for 5 minutes more and test again. Keep going until the dough passes the test, up to 30 minutes more.
Pour a teaspoon of olive oil into a medium bowl. Wet your hands with water, shape the dough into a ball, and place it in the bowl. Turn the dough to coat it with oil. This prevents a crust from forming on its surface as it rises. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in the refrigerator overnight or up to 72 hours. After about 12 hours, the dough will be wider and taller, approximately doubled in size. Rest the dough on the counter until it comes to room temperature, about 1 hour.
To shape the dough, lightly flour a clean, dry countertop. Gently place the round of dough on your counter. Do not knead or press on it. Instead, let it settle. Dust the top with flour. Make dimples in the dough with your fingertips by pressing down in the middle to stretch it out. At the same time, move the dough around in a circle with your fingertips. A 1-inch rim should form naturally. Press your fingertips along the inside of the rim, moving in a circle. Place your hands on the dough, fingers up against the rim, and push out while turning in a circle. Add more flour if necessary, to ensure the dough slides easily. Pick up the dough to finish stretching it out. Slide your hands underneath and pick it up. Let the dough fall around your hands to stretch it. Keep your hands along the edges, rather than in the middle. The dough should be 16 inches in diameter.
The New York dough is a good one to hand-toss because it’s sturdy, flexible, and stretches well, and it’s not sticky. Pick up the dough and, with your palms down, drape the dough over the knuckles of both hands. Toss the dough a few inches into the air and put a little spin on it to rotate the dough. Do this several times and keep the dough close to your hands. Don’t throw it up into the air. That is not necessary and it will probably end up on the floor. The dough should be thin in the center with a ring around the edge. It should be about 16 inches in diameter.
Place the Dough on the Pan or screen and spray a round 16-inch pizza pan with nonstick cooking spray and then lightly coat with flour. Place the pan next to the dough on the counter and quickly pick up the crust while sliding it onto the pan. Reshape as necessary into a round or oval shape. Your New York–style dough is now ready for the pizza toppings.
Move an oven rack to the lowest position. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the chicken breast in a small pan. Coat the chicken with the olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes. The chicken will be only partially cooked. Let cool for 10 minutes. If using immediately, cut the chicken into thin slices. Store the breast whole if you are making it ahead, so it doesn’t dry out.
Place the hot sauce, tomato juice, cornstarch, butter, and garlic powder in a small skillet over medium heat. Stir continuously until the sauce is smooth, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat. Shape the dough and place it on the pizza pan or screen. Spread the sauce on top of the pizza with a rubber spatula, leaving a 1-inch rim around the edge. Sprinkle with the Parmigiano Reggiano, leaving a 1-inch rim around the edge. Top with the mozzarella. Then add the chicken slices, crumbled blue cheese, and celery.
Bake the pizza for about 15 minutes, until the crust is deep brown and the toppings are bubbling. Check underneath with a metal spatula to ensure the bottom crust is deep brown too. Let the pizza rest for 5 minutes. Cut it into 8 wedges and serve.