Bakers Journal

Bakers Formula: Mala Honey Pie Pizza

February 24, 2022
By Salar Madadi, Maipai tiki and pizza bar, Hamilton, Ont.

Photo: Salar Madadi, Maipai

This winter issue we have offer something with a spicy kick. The Mala Honey Pie, by Salar Madadi, was named Best Pizza Recipe at the Canadian Pizza Summit. “I’ve never seen a combination of flavours like this on a pie anywhere,” says Madadi, who owns and operates Maipai tiki and pizza bar in Hamilton, Ont. “We specialize in Detroit-style pizza and tiki cocktails, and we keep a small but focused menu.”

He adds: “On a Detroit pie, this one hits all the bases – crisp from the cheese crown edges and crust, acid from the pickled chili, heat from the chili/crisp/honey, umami and salt from the Asiago, sweetness from the honey, and a little touch of bitter from the Thai basil.  

“I’ve been a fan of Sichuan peppercorn and Mala flavours for a while, and I had created a wing flavour for our restaurant that used our house Mala spice and hot honey together. This started off as a staff meal experiment using those two as a base and evolved into this with some testing and balancing.  I like to create a balance and contrast of textures and flavours on my pizzas, and this one is my favourite so far!”


  • 1/2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 par-baked 10 by 14 Detroit-style pizza crust
  • 1 tsp dried oregano – 
  • 12 ounces mozzarella / brick cheese half-and-half blend 
  • 1/2 tbsp Mala spice (see recipe below)
  • 1-1/2 tbsp chili crisp – we use Lao Gan Ma chili in oil with black beans for a little extra savoury flavour, available in most Asian grocery stores
  • 1/2 of 1 stem green onion, thinly sliced
  • 15-20 slices pickled chili peppers (see recipe below)
  • 8-12 leaves Thai / cinnamon basil  
  • 1 tbsp Asiago cheese, shredded
  • 1 tbsp hot honey – we use a house-made honey that we infuse with scotch bonnets and Thai chili: use your favourite hot honey here!


  1. Brush the inside of your Detroit pizza pan with canola oil, making sure to get the inside edges all the way to the top.
  2. Place your par-baked crust inside the pan. We par-bake our crusts to catch the rise exactly where we want it and to simplify our nightly dinner services.
  3. Sprinkle with all of the dried oregano, starting to build up layers of flavour.
  4. Scatter all of the mozzarella/brick onto the crust, going a bit heavier at the edges and lighter in the middle to help build a cheese crown.
  5. Evenly sprinkle all of the Mala spice over top of the cheese.
  6. Evenly scatter all of the chili crisp over top.
  7. Bake at 525 F for 10-12 minutes until bottom crust is crisp and golden, cheese crust is brown, but not burnt, and cheese on top is starting to brown.
  8. Let cool in pan for 15-30 seconds before carefully using a metal spatula to remove the pizza from the pan, being careful to leave the cheese crown intact. 
  9. Transfer to a cooling rack for 2-3 minutes.
  10. Transfer to your serving plate and cut into 8 pieces (we like to throw a corrugated liner underneath still to keep the crust from getting soggy).
  11. Garnish the pizza evenly with the remaining toppings other than the honey in this order: green onions, pickled chilis, Thai/cinnamon basil, shredded asiago.
  12. Drizzle the hot honey in a zigzag over the whole pizza.
  13. Enjoy!

Mala spice


  • 1 tbsp cumin seed
  • 1 tsp fennel seed
  • 1 tbsp chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp Sichuan peppercorn
  • 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp white sugar


  1. Add the first 4 ingredients to a dry frying pan and toast over medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes until fragrant.
  2. Transfer whole spices to a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder.
  3. Add salt/sugar and mix thoroughly.

Quick pickled chilis


  • 4-5 red finger chilis (mild heat)
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp salt


  1. Whisk all ingredients except chilis together until dissolved.
  2. Thinly slice the finger chilis and add them to the brine.
  3. Let sit for at least 1 hour.

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