This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
Fried dough pizza is a traditional dish originating from the Neapolitan street food after World War 2. This recipe is simple to make and easy to present at parties as it can be warmed up just before serving.
Italian cooking classes
This recipe was presented by Eliana de Matteis during her cooking class at the Mediathec Pole Culturel Auguste Escoffier, Villeneuve Loubet.
The Italian heritage is very strong here in the French Riviera. Nice was part of Italy until just 150 years ago and many Italians have continued to migrate to the region ever since.
And yes, I am one of many!
As a result, Italian lessons are very popular among the local French population and many are looking to learn more about Italian culture and heritage.
Beside’s the heritage aspect, speaking a little Italian comes in handy when you venture out to the Italian market in Ventimiglia, for Italian flavours at Italian prices.
My friend Eliana is an Italian teacher here in the region. She is originally from Naples and, like many Italians, she love to cook. Very often her students would ask questions about cooking, and as food is an integral part of the Italian culture, she decided to dedicate some of her lessons to teaching about Italian cuisine.
Her first lesson was “Cuisine Napolitane”, her hometown.
Why fried Pizza?
After the second world war, food was scarce. Many houses were destroyed and wooden ovens to cook traditional pizza in were scarce.
On the streets, some women started lighting up fires with large pans of frying oil and fried pizza dough to earn some extra money. So it started as street food and was very successful.
Here is how to make them.
Making the dough
Eliana showed how to prepare the dough from scratch. It is exactly the same as regular pizza dough. The best flour to use is what here in France is called ‘Type 55’.
The ingredients list
To make the pizza dough you will need:
- 3 cups flour (450 gr)
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 1.5 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 1 Package of yeast (1/2 tbsp)
How to activate the yeast
- Mix the yeast with ¼ cup of the water.
- Make sure the water is lukewarm.
- Add ½ tsp of sugar
- Let it rest until it becomes foamy
Mixing the pizza dough
Once the yeast is activated you can start making the dough:
- Strain the flour along with the sugar and salt into a bowl, ensuring that they are completely mixed.
- Make a ‘well’ in the centre of the flour mix
- Combine all the wet ingredients together: water and the frothy yeast.
- Slowly pour them into the ‘well’ of the flour and mix it with the wet ingredients gradually, using your fingers.
- Once they are thoroughly mixed, you can either continue mixing the flour with your hands or put it into an electric mixer with a dough hook.
- Mix it until the dough becomes a smooth ball
- Shape it into a smooth ball and place it into an oiled bowl covered with a wet towel to rest. Let it rise for 1.5 hours.
- Let the dough rest overnight (or at least 8 hours) in the fridge covered with cling film before making your pizza
Why the dough should rest overnight
Eliana explained that the pizza dough should rest overnight; if not, the pizza will keep rising in your stomach, making you bloated and thirsty!
Making the Italian fried dough
- Eliana made 4 balls with the dough.
- Covering them to rest for 30 minutes under a kitchen cloth.
- In the meantime, she prepared the tomato sauce with garlic and basil and let it simmer away.
- She then flattens the balls into circles, with the centre thinner than the sides.
- The pizza dough balls were placed into the frying oil
- The balls are turned on each side for 2 minutes
- Removed from the frying oil and put on a paper towel to absorb the oil
How to serve the Italian fried dough
Once cooked, the pizzas were:
- laid on a tray
- seasoned with the tomato sauce that was simmering,
- on top was placed a slice of fresh mozzarella
- and a basil leaf
- then sprinkled them with fresh parmesan cheese
They can be eaten immediately (which we did) or warmed up before serving.
Making the Panzerotto / Fried Calzone
Besides the classic mozzarella tomatoes and basil, Eliana also cooked a Calzone with ricotta and ham.
The pizza is filled with the ingredients, folded in half and fried in the hot oil. The secret for a perfect calzone is to make sure all the air is taken out before frying it.
You can fill it with anything else you would like. One of the common filling is tomato sauce, mozzarella, ham and mushrooms
How to fry a panzerotto/calzone
- Roll flat the dough
- Add 1//2 tbsp of ricotta
- 1 tsp of parmesan
- 1/2 slice of ham
- Fold the dough making sure all the air is removed
- Tighten the edges
- Fry in the oil, turning it on both sides
- Lay on a paper towel to absorb the oil
The advantage of the fried pizza dough
The advantage of frying the pizza is that it does not have to be eaten right away, like a pizza that has been cooked in a wooden oven.
You can warm it up in the oven just before you serve it. In Naples, it is the perfect meal when the family is reunited to watch a football match. They make it ahead of time and during half time, it is warmed up and served.
More of my favourite fried recipes
If you are craving fried food, you may want to check out these other recipes:
- Deep-Fried Eggplant Balls
- Fried Zucchini Flowers Recipe
- Homemade chicken nuggets recipe
- Pasta a Frittata: Italian Fried Pasta
- Classic Veal Milanese
- Rissole à la Dauphine
For more pizza recipes, check out the category: Pizza
- Pizzette Mini Pizza Bites
- 10 Pizza with Fresh Vegetables
- Pissaladiere Nicoise
- Focaccia Pizza
- Pizza with Nutella
If you are making the Fried Pizza, leave your comment below I would like to hear from you. You can find more delicious ideas if you FOLLOW ME on Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram or sign up to my newsletter.
📋 Fried Pizza
For the topping:
Making the dough
- To activate the yeast, mix it with water. The water should be lukewarm or at room temperature. Add ½ tsp of sugar, and let it rest until it becomes foamy.1 cup lukewarm water, 1 package yeast, 0.5 tsp caster sugar
- In the meantime, strain the flour along with the sugar and the salt into a bowl, ensuring they are completely mixed. Make a ‘well’ in the centre of the flour mix.3 cup Caputo flour 00, 1.5 tsp salt
- Slowly pour the yeast and water mixture in the ‘well’ of the flour and mix it with the wet ingredients gradually, using your fingers.
- Once they are thoroughly mixed continue mixing the flour with your hands until the dough becomes a ball that comes away easily from the side of the bowl.
- Take the dough out of the bowl and knead it on a flat surface. Shape it into a smooth ball and place it into an oiled bowl covered with a wet towel to rest. Let it rise for 1.5 hours.
- For the best result, let the dough rest in the fridge overnight, well-floured and wrapped in a plastic bag, otherwise it will crawl all over the fridge.
- The next day, divide the dough into 8 balls. They should be around 60 gr each and let them rest for 30 minutes
Preparing the tomato sauce
- Stir fry the garlic clove with 2 tbsp of olive oil1 clove peeled garlic cloves, 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Add the tomato sauce and 2 leaves of basil, letting it simmer until it thickens1 cup homemade tomato sauce, 10 fresh basil leaves
Frying the pizza
- Flatten the balls into circles, with the centre thinner than the sides and deep fry them in hot oil (about 180 C)vegetable oil for frying
- Cook the pizzas for 2 minutes on each side, until the crust is golden.
- Remove from the frying oil and place it on a paper kitchen towel to absorb the oil.
- Slice the mozzarella2 cup fresh mozzarella
- Put a spoon of tomato sauce over each pizza, a slice of mozzarella, a basil leaf and sprinkle with parmesan1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, 10 fresh basil leaves
Frying the panzerotto/calzone
- Roll flat the dough
- Add 1//2 tbsp of ricotta, 1 tsp of parmesan and 1/2 slice of ham1 cup ricotta, 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, 3 slices cooked ham
- Fold the dough making sure all the air is removed and tight the edges
- Fry in the oil, turning it on both sides
- Lay on a paper towel to absorb the oil and serve still warm
- Serve the pizza and the panzerotti while still warm
- the pizza dough should rest overnight
- They can be eaten immediately (which we did) or warmed up before serving
- The secret for a perfect calzone is to make sure all the air is taken out before frying it.