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Revolutionary Pizza: Bold Pies that Will Change Your Life...and Dinner
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Revolutionary Pizza: Bold Pies that Will Change Your Life...and Dinner

by Dimitri Syrkin-Nikolau, Mike Edison (Foreword by)

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Delicious and Memorable Pizza That'll Blow Your Mind
Why bore everyone at the dinner table with the same old cheese and sauce combination when you can have pizzas like The BBQ Porkabella, Steak 'n' Eggs, Spinach and Bean Quesadilla or Chicken 'n' Waffles? With Revolutionary Pizza by Dimitri Syrkin-Nikolau you'll be making tasty, one-of-a-kind pizzas that


Delicious and Memorable Pizza That'll Blow Your Mind
Why bore everyone at the dinner table with the same old cheese and sauce combination when you can have pizzas like The BBQ Porkabella, Steak 'n' Eggs, Spinach and Bean Quesadilla or Chicken 'n' Waffles? With Revolutionary Pizza by Dimitri Syrkin-Nikolau you'll be making tasty, one-of-a-kind pizzas that your friends and family will always remember.

Dimo's Pizza developed a cult following due to its delicious pizzas, specialty toppings and crazy selection of 'zas, and this book takes all of that to the next level. With pies inspired by Chinese food, street vendors, dead celebrities, tasty salads, comic book characters, Southern desserts, late night food joints, Chicago staples and everything in-between, there's truly a pizza for every mood and every craving.
If you want to make an over-the-top and unforgettable creation for your family and friends, Dimo has got you covered. You'll never look at another cheese slice the same again.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 07/21/2014
Chicago’s Dimo’s Pizza has developed a cult following due to its innovative approach to pizza making, offering pie-based versions of fish and chips, chicken and waffles, and the Chicago hot dog, in addition to classics like pepperoni, sausage and cheese pizzas. Syrkin-Nikolau and his co-conspirators take readers behind the counter to share the secrets for their imaginative platters of cheesy, yeast-based goodness. He’s serious about his pizzas and wants readers to appreciate the work that goes into them. The book is even dedicated to “all those who have slaved away in a kitchen preparing food, selflessly and without praise, so that others may enjoy it.” Pizzas like the Cure, designed with the hung-over in mind, combines ingredients typically found in a Bloody Mary with pepperoni, cheese, and olives to help revelers make it through the day, and the Steak ’n’ Eggs’ combination of grilled steak, scrambled eggs, and home fries offer a hearty take on breakfast. There’s also much more than novelty going on: the Argyle, a spicy Asian pizza topped with marinated tofu, lemongrass, and peanut satay, and Jamaican jerk chicken pies are worth checking flights to Chicago. A must-have for anyone serious about their pizza. (July)
From the Publisher

“I always hear people say 'Pizza is pizza'. These people have never been to Dimo's. He is always serving something fresh for everyone (even vegans!) and it's all delicious. In Chicago, Dimo's is pizza.” —CM Punk, pro-wrestling champ

“Pizza is the food of the people and Dimitri is their Spartacus.” —Mike Edison, writer, musician and author

“The best pizzas I've ever eaten have come out of Dimo's kitchen. That's right, the best pizza EVER.” —Justin "Nordic Thunder" Howard, 2012 Air Guitar World Champion

“The creativity and craftsmanship in these pizzas blow me away.” —Daniel Shumski, creator of Waffleizer.com

“Nothing beats a slice of Dimo's pizza--except maybe a whole pizza that you can bake yourself.” —Michael Salvatore, owner of Heritage Bicycles

Product Details

Page Street Publishing
Publication date:
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8.01(w) x 8.95(h) x 0.46(d)

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Revolutionary Pizza

Bold Pies that Will Change Your Life ... and Dinner

By Dimitri Syrkin-Nikolau

Page Street Publishing Co.

Copyright © 2014 Dimitri Syrkin-Nikolau and Ann Wanserski
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-62414-051-8



Please be advised: if you're a novice in the craft of pizza making, this chapter will be your new best friend. You can't make a proper 'za without the right ratio of dough, sauce and toppings. In the following pages, we'll attempt to re-create our own recipe for this magic ratio — including how to make your own hand-tossed dough. That's right: you're about to become one part ace baker, one part master chef and one part artistic virtuoso.

We'll go ahead and tell you right now, it's not going to be easy. But we've always believed that perseverance in the kitchen yields delicious payoffs. It's like all forms of art: the more you practice, the more you refine, the better you'll do. Give yourself a few chances. When you make dough, go ahead and make a double batch so you have extra to work with. Hell, make a triple batch if you need to. Just don't stop until you get it right. You got this! And on top of the personal accomplishment you'll feel, you'll likely become pretty popular when you share your handiwork. What you need to know is that you should read through the entirety of this section before beginning. Yeah, we know you probably won't. But if you do, we promise it'll turn out better!


No matter how crazy the toppings, a winning pizza always starts with quality dough. In our kitchen that means dough that becomes a light, crisp, foldable crust. It has just a hint of sweetness, with versatility to pair with our inventory of offbeat flavors. It's also important for our recipe that you use high-gluten flour and cold water. The high-gluten flour will ensure the proper texture and the cold water will help control the dough's rising process. But all of the recipes in this book will work with just about any type of dough, keeping in mind that cook times will vary from what we have. This recipe makes about two 12 inch/30.5 cm dough balls.

1 cup and 1 tbsp/252 mL of cold water
2 tsp/10 g salt
2 tbsp/25 g sugar
1 tbsp/15 mL extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp/6 g dry yeast or 1 tsp active wet baker's yeast
3½ cups/420 g high-gluten flour
Cornmeal and flour for rolling the dough

In a mixer combine water, salt, sugar and oil. Whisk together by hand. Add in yeast and quickly whisk, then immediately add the flour. Mix at medium speed using a dough hook for about 10 minutes until dough ball forms.

The best consistency for fully mixed dough is such that it's sticky, but not so sticky that it will leave residue on everything it touches. If the dough is a little on the sticky side, sprinkle a little flour on top of the dough and mix it manually with your hands. Cut the dough into two equal-sized balls.

Knead the dough with your hands about ten times over to get out any air bubbles in order to create a smooth surface after kneading. Knead the dough with the purpose of forming it into the shape of a ball. A dough ball is ready for proofing when its surface is completely smooth, like a marble. Place the dough onto a smooth surface (a plate is ideal) and cover it with a moist towel.

Once you've fashioned the dough balls, let them sit out for a minimum of two hours. The hotter the ambient temperature, the less time the dough will need to rise. The colder, the more time it will need. You know you're ready to go when the dough balls have risen to about twice their original size.

If you're ready to make pizza now, go for it! Otherwise, place the dough in the refrigerator to slow the rising process until you're ready to assemble your pizza. Making dough and getting it to rise can be a process, so be sure to check out A Few More Doughy Tips on the next page for details on a more in-depth explanation on the science behind making perfect dough.


We prefer to use wet baker's yeast, but sometimes that can be tricky to find at your local grocery store. You may want to contact your favorite local bakery to see if they've got a little extra you can use. But if you can only find dry yeast, make sure that what you're using isn't expired. You want the yeast to be active and to do its job — you're counting on it!

Another note about yeast: it's important for the wet yeast not to come in direct contact with salt because this will kill the yeast and prevent it from rising. That is why you whisk ingredients together before adding the yeast, so the two ingredients don't come into direct contact.


Getting dough to the right size is all about balancing water temperature, yeast quantities and air temperature. It's the metabolism of sugar by yeast: converting carbohydrates to carbon dioxide and alcohol. The carbon dioxide output that takes place inside the dough is what makes the dough rise in size. Like many reactions, this process can be controlled by the addition and subtraction of ingredients and the regulation of temperature.

Cooler temperatures (below 55°F/13°C) will slow the rising process. Bringing the dough out to warmer temperatures will speed up the rising process. Once the dough gets above 55°F/13°C, the yeast will become most active and start the reaction.

To bring out the best flavor, you want your dough to proof for at least 24 hours in the fridge. So it's best to make your dough the day before you plan to assemble and bake your pizza. It won't be bad if you use it right after two hours as we suggested earlier, but it'll be better if you let it hang out in your fridge overnight. You'll know that the dough is ready to use when you press it in with your fingers and it slowly springs back to retain its shape.

The other tangible benefit of letting the dough sit in your fridge for some time is that you get to control the timing. So you've got a party tomorrow? No problem! Just make a few batches of dough today, let it rise and then put it in your fridge until you're ready.


Pizza party tip: it's always easier to stretch dough that's warm. If the dough is in the fridge, take it out about 20 minutes before you're ready to stretch it.

Remember, it can take a great deal of practice to become proficient at stretching dough by hand. It's an arduous art form. If you don't succeed at first, try again. I know it seems like we've said that a lot and that's because it's warranted. Most of all, don't take it too seriously. This is just pizza, people. It's meant to be fun!


1. Coat the entirety of the dough in a 50/50 ratio of ground cornmeal to flour mixture. Place the dough on a nonporous surface that you'll stretch the dough on. Marble, granite or laminate work well. Place the dough in the same orientation that it was sitting when rising, with the surface that was exposed to the air during rising faceup. Press down with your fingertips, forming a depressed circle in the center of the dough.

2. Adding extra cornmeal and flour mixture to your work surface should make it significantly easier for you to stretch the dough. It will stop the dough from sticking.

3. Flip the dough over so that the side that wasn't exposed to air during the rising process is faceup. Place the outside of your pinky (of your nondominant hand) and the outside of your hand on the crust about two fingers width from the edge.

4. Rotate the dough in a circular manner and use the outside of your hand like a plow tilling the land to create a crust on the outer edge of the dough about the width of just one finger. If your left hand is dominant, rotate the dough counterclockwise. If your right hand is dominant, rotate clockwise. The goal is to end up with a ring of crust that is even in size.

5. Push down on the dough in the middle with the tips of your fingers to push out any extra bubbles. Don't be afraid to use force!

6. Flip the dough over. Place your fingers just inside the crust and pull them away from each other in small motions. The point of contact on the dough should be the pads of your fingers and the force should be distributed evenly. After you pull your hands apart, rotate the dough. Continue until you've made one full rotation. This act should stretch the outer 3 inches/8 cm of dough, but do nothing to the middle of the dough.


At this point, you should have a clearly defined crust around the edge of the pizza but the interior of the pizza should be of identical thickness throughout.

The shape of your hands and the position of your hands on the dough are the two most important things when it comes to tossing the dough. If you're looking at your left hand, form the letter C. The letter begins at the tip of your index finger and curves around to end at the top of your thumb. Your middle, ring and pinky fingers should be in uniform shape directly behind the index finger with no spaces between them. Mimic this shape on your right hand and you've got the shape of your hands covered.

1. Place the dough on top of your knuckles and keep your two hands about 3 inches/8 cm apart.

2. Gently pull your hands apart and then toss the dough into the air so as to rotate it. Before doing this, choose what direction you want to rotate the dough. Some people find counterclockwise easier, others clockwise. Go with whatever feels most natural.

3. Continue to pull your hands apart while rotating the dough in a circular manner so that each time the dough gets tossed into the air it falls back on your knuckles. Your knuckles should be touching a portion of the dough that is slightly to the left or right of where your knuckles just were. Basically, you're inching your way around the outer edge of the dough, expanding the diameter of the pizza with each toss.

4. Continue to do this until the dough is about 12–14 inches/30–37 cm in diameter. The number of times you'll need to toss the dough in the air is a function of the temperature and consistency of your dough and your level of experience. Lower temperature dough and inexperience will make it take longer for you to stretch the dough.


If you tear the dough, don't worry. It can be repaired. Put it down on your working surface and pull the dough over the tear. Press down hard to reconnect the dough. Add a pinch of flour to keep that spot from sticking later. Voila! You're good to go!


Here are some of our go-to sauces. You'll use these recipes for many of our pizzas in this book. You can also use these to create your own new pizza flavors! They make great foundations for new pies.


4 CUPS/950 ML

3 tsp/15 g butter
2¼ cup/25 g flour
1 qt/1 L heavy cream
2 tsp/10 g salt
2 tsp/5 g ground black pepper
½ cup/90 g Parmesan
1 tbsp/10 g fresh garlic, minced

Start by mixing the butter and flour in a large pan on medium heat until the butter melts. Then add all other ingredients. Stir on medium heat for 10 minutes or until it boils. Place in the fridge for about 10 minutes to thicken before using.


4 CUPS/950 ML

1 cup/235 mL sour cream
2½ cups/590 mL heavy cream
1 egg
1 tsp pepper

Blend all ingredients together using a hand mixer or blender.


1½ CUPS/355 ML

2 cups/80 g fresh basil leaves
¼ cup/30 g pecans
10 cloves garlic
1 tbsp/10 g red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
¾ cup/177 mL olive oil
1½ tbsp/22 mL lemon juice

Roughly tear basil leaves. Combine basil, pecans, garlic, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper in food processor. Blend together and slowly drizzle in olive oil and lemon juice until fully combined.


3 CUPS/710 ML

1 cup/237 mL tomato paste 1 cup/160 g ground tomatoes 1 tbsp/3 g oregano flakes 1 tbsp/10 g granulated garlic 1 tbsp/10 g black pepper 1 tbsp/15 g sugar 1 cup/237 mL water

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Use a hand mixer until the ingredients are well blended. Do not mix too fast or splashing will occur. This can be done by hand if necessary.


When you apply marinara, the best thing to use is a small ladle both to place the marinara on the pizza as well as to spread it across the pizza. For most pizzas, approximately 6 ounces/177 mL of sauce is appropriate.

1. Place the sauce directly in the middle of the pizza.

2. To spread the sauce, rotate the ladle in a spiral shape, starting from the middle and moving toward the edge, pushing the sauce outward with each rotation of the ladle.

3. Push the sauce right to the inner edge of the crust, but not over it.

4. Don't press too hard with the ladle to avoid leaving areas void of sauce.

5. Make sure you're pushing all the sauce away from the center to avoid a pool of sauce in the middle of the pie. Pools of sauce make for messy slices.

6. When you're done, you should have an even layer of sauce atop the pie and you shouldn't be able to see the white of the dough anywhere except for the crust at the edge of the pizza.


A delicious pizza requires the right balance of toppings to sauce and crust. As with any meal, you don't want one flavor to overpower the others. Remember that the crust we use is thin, and you won't want to add so many ingredients that you lose the flavor of your crust. Ultimately it's on you to judge the amount of toppings you think will make the best flavor palette.

Don't force on extra ingredients just because you have them. Instead, save them and create something just as delicious the next day. The ingredients can be turned into something else, but you can't remake the pizza once it goes into the oven. Remember, it's all about balance, kemosabe.



Whether you call them appetizers, hors d'oeuvres, finger foods or antipasto, the concept is the same: these culinary creations are made for partying. Essentially, if you're planning a celebration (see also: soiree, group hang, tailgate, etc) these pizzas should be invited. For that matter, please remember that no party is a real party unless it's a pizza party.

After all, 'za was created for socializing. Hey, if you enjoy shotgunning a whole pie by yourself, more power to you! But generally, you're not going to down an entire pizza solo in one sitting. With that in mind, we created an arsenal of pies that are not too heavy, not too difficult to prep and ready for sharing. And what better conversation starter than, "Wow, that's a Bloody Mary on a pizza? Totally rad!" Or, "O-M-G The Hulk is my favorite Avenger too! I can't believe you made him a pizza."

These are only a few examples of the raging pizza-themed parties in your future. So what are you waiting for? Commence 'za planning now.


Much like pizza, egg rolls take enticing ingredients and package them into an easily edible nugget of deliciousness. Those components are all still here, but this time in unrolled form. We'll go ahead and warn you now: this avocado sauce can be pretty addictive.



3 tbsp/44 mL vegetable oil
½ cup/85 g red bell peppers, finely chopped
½ cup/50 g green onions, finely chopped
1 cup/220 g yellow corn
½ cup/15 g raw spinach, chopped
¼ cup/40 g jalapeños, finely chopped
1 tbsp/1 g fresh chopped cilantro
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp chili powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup/260 g black beans, cooked


1 ripe avocado
½ cup/118 mL mayonnaise
½ cup/118 mL sour cream
2 tbsp/30 mL buttermilk
1 tbsp/15 mL white vinegar
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 cup/113 g shredded pepper jack cheese
10 3" × 3"/ 8 × 8 cm wonton wrappers
3 cups/710 ml vegetable oil or enough to submerge the wonton strips for frying

For the vegetable mix, heat vegetable oil in pan and add red peppers and green onions. Cook until tender. Slowly stir in the corn, spinach, jalapeños, cilantro, cumin, chili powder, salt and cayenne pepper to the pan.

Cook for another 5 minutes. Add cooked black beans and heat for a few more minutes, stirring regularly. Once all ingredients are fully combined, let cool and set aside.

Cut the wonton wrappers into ½ inch × 3 inch/1 × 8 cm strips. Preheat saucepan with vegetable oil to 350°F/177°C. Fry strips until golden and crispy. Let cool on layered paper towels to help soak up excess oil.

For the sauce, blend all ingredients together in a food processor or blender until smooth.


Excerpted from Revolutionary Pizza by Dimitri Syrkin-Nikolau. Copyright © 2014 Dimitri Syrkin-Nikolau and Ann Wanserski. Excerpted by permission of Page Street Publishing Co..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Dimitri Syrkin-Nikolau is the owner of Dimo's Pizza, which has two locations in Chicago: Wrigleyville and Wicker Park. Dimo's pies have been enjoyed by CM Punk, Andy Dick, hordes of Cubs fans, the entire improv scene in Chicago and many others. Dimitri lives in Chicago, Illinois.

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