This very worthy “CopyKat” recipe, adapted from a recipe by “College Girl” online, is close enough to the St. Louis-style pizza my son likes that it has made it into our permanent rotation.
2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons dark corn syrup *We substitute Lyle’s Golden Syrup
Approximately 1⁄2 cup water, enough to form a smooth dough that isn’t sticky
1/4 cup or so cornmeal
16 ounces whole tomatoes, very finely diced
6 ounces tomato paste
1 1⁄2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon crushed basil
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon thyme
1 cup white cheddar cheese, shredded
1⁄2 cup Swiss cheese, shredded
1⁄2 cup provolone cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon liquid hickory smoke
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons basil
1 teaspoon thyme
Crust: Mix all ingredients until thoroughly combined. Dough will be very stiff. Makes enough for two (2) 12″ pizza pies. The dough is ready to use as-is, no need to rise or knead. Divide the dough in half, shape each into a round ball and roll out paper thin on a floured surface. In order to move the crusts around a pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal works well.
Sauce: Imo’s uses a lightly sweet tomato sauce. Combine ingredients and it’s ready to use – do not pre-cook the sauce. *We actually did precook the sauce (didn’t notice that instruction) and we liked it.
Cheese: Imo’s cheese is a blend of cheddar, Swiss and provolone cheeses, with liquid smoke flavoring. Toss until the cheeses and smoke flavoring are completely incorporated and sprinkle over the sauce. Typically it’s enough cheese for two (2) 12″ pizzas.
Authentic Imo’s pizza toppings include: Extra-Cheese, Onion, Green Pepper, Sausage, Hamburger, Pepperoni, Anchovy, Bacon, Black Olive, Mushroom, Canadian Bacon, Jalapenos, Pineapple, Banana Peppers, and Tomatoes.
In a professional pizza oven the meat toppings (hamburger, sausage, bacon, etc.) can usually be put on raw, but at home you’ll want to fully precook the meat before assembling the pizza.
Seasonings: Finally, top with the Italian seasonings. Combine all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl and blend well.
Bake. In the restaurant, the pizza is baked in a pizza pan, but at home you’ll have the best results using a pizza stone and an oven temperature around 450 degrees. If you don’t have a pizza stone, use the thinnest baking sheet you have and the lowest over rack position. The pizza is done when the underside of the crust is a dark golden brown, and the cheese is has a slight golden tint to it. Underbaking the crust will result in a limp crust; overbaking will result in a hard, tough, burnt-tasting crust and blackened cornmeal bits. Getting the right baking time to produce a crisp crust may require a bit of experimentation. The amount and type of toppings you use will also affect the total baking time. In general, check the pizza after about 10-12 minutes and adjust baking time from there.
And, as a final touch to truly replicate Imo’s Pizza at home, cut the pizza into tile-like squares.