There was a time when pizza making was a hallowed tradition. Reserved only for Neapolitan purists, tomato, mozzarella and basil were the only ingredients allowed. The suggestion of pepperoni would be met with scorn. The idea of stuffed crust would cause outrage. The merest mention of a pineapple would, justifiably, result in exile.
Unfortunately for pizza purists, the humble pie has now blossomed into all manner of mutated abominations. From the undeniably delicious introduction of charcuterie to the unforgivable idea of “chocolate pizza”, restaurants and food businesses have all apparently had a stab at corrupting the simplicity of Naples’ original comfort food.
Whilst the sheer variety of bready monstrosities readily available should break the heart of every Italian, one particular sub-sect has done more to destroy true pizza’s reputation than any other. Cheap, easy and fast, this food group should not be considered worthy of the revered name that it continues to blacken. Frozen pizza is rubbish.
With a flaccid base, soggy crust and third rate toppings, they are, by and large, pale imitations of the real thing. But despite the crimes that they commit against proper food, frozen pizzas remain a staple on many dinner tables. Regardless of their deservedly dodgy reputation, there is no possibility of frozen pizzas disappearing from our diets altogether. Therefore, we should all be attempting to improve what we have, rather than attempt to fight a losing battle.
Fortunately, there is redemption available for the many frozen pizza enthusiasts out there. A Reddit user has unveiled a cooking hack that can transform even the most unappetising slab of frosted dough into a culinary masterpiece. Tastebuds everywhere can rejoice.
The trick, according to user "numbahtwelve", is to completely ignore all the instructions on the packet. Any mention of 12-15 minute cooking times should be roundly dismissed. Instead, hungry home-cooks should preheat their ovens to the highest possible temperature. As numbahtwelve explains, “having done a lot of experimenting with ‘upgrading’ frozen pizza...this is by far the most important trick”.
The logic is sound. In any traditional pizzeria, dough will be cooked at any temperature between 700-1000 degrees fahrenheit. While a domestic oven can never get this hot, the principle remains the same. The closer that you can get to this temperature at home, therefore, the better your results are likely to be.
The pizza should be cooked on a bare rack, in order to maximise circulation. This will ensure that you get an even bake and avoid the dreaded soggy crust. Numbahtwelve recommends a cooking time of between five and eight minutes. However, as a word of caution, each frozen pizza should be watched like a hawk to guard against burning. When cooking at such high temperatures, this is always a risk.
For an added twist, chefs can go even further by adding a light brush of olive oil to the crust prior to cooking. Sprinkling the oiled crust with garlic powder or diced garlic will add some much needed bite, compensating for the usually over saccharine sauce of a standard frozen pizza.
By following this guide, you should be able to avoid the usual disappointment that accompanies most frozen pizza. It might be a bit more of a faff, but if the reviews are anything to go by, it should be worth it. Maybe if we all adopt this approach, we can slowly make the dish slightly less terrible than it is now.