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A new approach to a seriously deep-dish pizza pleasure

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There is nothing subtle about this rethinking of deep-dish pizza, a term that usually refers to pizza baked in a rimmed pan and loaded - and I mean loaded - with toppings, most particularly cheese.

For an easier, home cook-friendly approach I rebuilt the recipe from the bottom up. And I took my cue from those funky cakes that are built by layering frosting or chocolate sauce between numerous crepes, pancakes or thin cookies.

Pizza dough is wonderful, but in this recipe would prove too bulky to allow for the truly delicious sky-high assembly I was going for. A better choice was large flour tortillas. Minus the yeast, the ingredients are about the same.

Armed with tortillas, some jarred sauce and serious helpings of favourite toppings, I started building. And building. And building. Substitute the toppings of your choice, but keep them thinly sliced to prevent toppling your pizza.

The pizza is baked at a lower temperature than is traditional to allow the heat to reach the centre without burning the outside.

Deep-Dish Pizza Redux

7 large (about 25-cm/10-inch) flour tortillas

625 ml (2 1/2 cups) shredded cheddar cheese

750 ml (3 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese

500 ml (2 cups) prepared tomato or pasta sauce

3 slices deli-sliced ham, smoked turkey or other sandwich meat, finely chopped

1 small yellow onion, very thinly sliced

1 large red bell pepper, cored and very thinly sliced

9 slices pepperoni, finely chopped

1 can (112 ml/3.8 oz) sliced black olives

45 ml (3 tbsp) jarred jalapeno pepper slices

Heat oven to 180 C (350 F). Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Set aside 125 ml ( 1/2 cup) of each cheese for use at the end.

Place 1 flour tortilla in the centre of the baking sheet. Spoon 30 to 45 ml (2 to 3 tbsp) of the sauce evenly over the tortilla. Spread about a third of the deli-sliced meat over sauce. Top with a third each of the onion and pepper.

Sprinkle a bit of each cheese over vegetables, then place a second tortilla over toppings. Gently press tortilla with your hands to lightly compress and flatten it. This helps the tortillas and fillings stack evenly.

Spoon another few spoonfuls of the sauce over tortilla, then top with a third each of the pepperoni, black olives and jalapeno slices. Top with more cheese, then another tortilla, pressing it gently into place.

Repeat with remaining ingredients, alternating fillings for a total of 6 layers (3 of each), gently pressing stacked tortillas and fillings before adding each new layer. Top with a final tortilla, a bit more sauce and reserved cheese.

Bake on centre rack for 35 minutes, checking frequently during final 5 to 10 minutes to ensure the top doesn't burn. If the top browns too quickly, tent it with foil.

Remove pizza from oven and let it stand for 5 minutes. Use a sharp knife to cut pizza as you would a pie.

Makes 6 servings.

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