Craving pizza? (OK who isn't?) Hank's Hot Box is a DIY pizza kit delivery service that has a slightly different proposition. Napoletana style pizza kits are delivered frozen with separate toppings that you add on yourself and bake at home. It's a foolproof way of making delicious Napoletana, wood fired pizzas at home and is world's apart from the frozen pizza aisle!
The man behind Hank's Hot Box is not named Hank but Nick Allen. "For the past 15 years I have worked as an international airline pilot, who also had a long running and unhealthy obsession with baking bread at home. In March 2020, I took 6 weeks off work for the birth of my first child, Henry AKA Hank. In May 2020, 2 weeks after my son's birth and with the global lockdown in full swing, I was told to expect no flying work until 2023 at the earliest. Whilst it was shattering news, it was to be the perfect opportunity for me to commit my time to learning more about my other true love: pizza. I always dreamt of finishing my flying career, and settling into my retirement running a small pizza bar, stoking a wood fire and drinking negronis. Whilst this can not be called a retirement at age 34 and is not exactly the bar I imagined, I have grabbed the bull by the horns and taken the plunge in pursuing my pizza dreams," says Nick. He spent the past 6 months trading at farmers markets selling their pizza kits and refining their product.
Nick says, "Our pizzas are all about the base! We encourage minimal toppings (true to Neapolitan style) and encourage our customers to really appreciate the love that we put into our bases. We source only the best Australian flour; specialty single origin Lancer wheat grown and milled in Tamworth fermented for a minimum of 48 hours before baking. Our bases are light, fluffy and easily digestible. We bake everything by hand, one by one, at our facility in Marrickville. We use a traditional Italian refractory brick pizza oven especially imported from Modena, Italy."
The sauce is also made in-house using Italian San Marzano tomatoes. "This is the only product which we don't source locally, as it is known for its distinct sweetness and low acidity. Often referred to as the "Ferrari" of canned tomatoes, there are no secrets to this sauce - just good tomatoes!" says Nick.
All pizzas bases come with the wood fired base with puffy, blistered edges, the tomato sauce and mozzarella and are frozen and vacuum sealed. The toppings are delivered in separate containers (the only downside is there is a lot of packaging). The cooking part is easy, just add the toppings to the base, drizzle with olive oil and bake on high heat for 7 minutes. Deliveries are usually made overnight and the pizzas last for up to 4 weeks in the freezer although the toppings need to be consumed within 4 days.
We try three pizzas (there's a deal for 3 pizzas for $50 plus a 20% discount code for the first order). You can upgrade your pizzas with extra cheese, Yurrita anchovies, chilli oil or Prosciutto di Parma. Delivery is $8 extra and they deliver to Sydney's East, Inner West and Lower North Shore or roughly within 10kms of Marrickville. There's a good range of traditional pizzas including prosciutto, nduja and there's also a ham and pineapple (called La Controversia). I choose the Diavola, Pepperoni with an upgrade of hot aka spicy honey and the Salsiccia and Funghi or sausage and mushroom. They're delivered to my door contactless in a big box inside a foil bubble cushion wrap with ice packs to keep it cold. There's a small bunch of basil too which is more than enough for the three pizzas.
As expected my favourite is the Diavola with hot salami and a generous amount of pitted black olives on top. My kingdom always for La Diavola and I enjoy this immensely. Rebaking the base in the oven is fine, the base is fantastic and the sides are still puffy and soft.
Mr NQN loves the spicy honey on top of the pepperoni but I prefer my pepperoni as is as the honey adds too much sweetness for me (he's a sweet tooth, I am not). You can either add the honey before baking the pizza or after, your choice and the pizza doesn't burn with the honey on top.
I also love the salsiccia e funghi with ground pork sausage and mushroom. They pack half a portobello mushroom that I slice up and add to the pizza.
And after we get our delivery of three pizzas, we make another order at Mr NQN's request!
So tell me Dear Reader, do you like ham and pineapple on pizza? What is your pizza of choice?
These pizzas were independently paid for.
Hank's Hot Box