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Pizza meets mystery in the new episode of Apple TV+'s psychological thriller Servant.
The horror series from M. Night Shyamalan returned for its second season in January with even more suspense—and a dark plot line that revolves around a fictional pizza restaurant.
Viewers continue to follow grieving parents Dorothy (Lauren Ambrose) and Sean (Toby Kebbell) Turner in the new season, as they search to find Leanne (Nell Tiger Free), the quiet, God-fearing babysitter they hired to care for the "reborn doll" they bought to fill the void after tragically losing their newborn son Jericho.
In the third episode, naturally titled "Pizza," Dorothy becomes more frantic to locate Leanne, who she thinks kidnapped her son. After following different leads, the couple scouts out a large estate where they believe Leanne is hiding. During their stakeout, they notice a food delivery truck dropping off meals at the home—and it sparks an idea. The Turners will create a fake pizza delivery company called Cheezus Crust, hoping they'll receive an order from the residents so they can find a way into the house.
Apple TV+ Rupert Grint in Servant
To prepare for the pizza-filled episode, food consultant Drew DiTomo, a Philadelphia-based chef and restauranteur, was tapped to prepare dozens of Neapolitan-style pizzas each day and teach the cast how to make them on-camera. "It takes a lot of technique and a certain confidence with your hands to learn how to make pizza from scratch," he said. "It was a lot of fun to get our hands on something that people spend their whole lives working on."
Since pizzas needed to be hot and ready for their close-ups at any time, DiTomo was cranking out pies all day. "The crew had this constant supply of fresh pizza going around the set. I thought people would get sick of it after awhile. Nope! They kept eating pizza after pizza over several shooting days," he said. "Even after 12 takes, they were still coming back to my kitchen with empty trays. We'd be testing and shooting out pizzas and people would be hovering around the pizza oven asking, 'Is there any pizza left?'"
EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Watch "Behind the 'Pizza' Episode" with M. Night Shyamalan
According to DiTomo, the production team imported "this big, beautiful wood-burning pizza oven right outside of the prep kitchen" so they could achieve the perfect chewy, crispy, puffy Neapolitan crust.
"It could cook six pizzas at a time. This was an oven that you would use in a professional environment. And it was amazing to watch these guys fly this thing in on a crane. We had to pour cement and build a deck so we could make these beautiful pizzas on the show. It also required a specialized gas line so we could shoot this episode high- lighting pizza. It again showed the breadth production went to for the food we prepared this season," he says.
While cooking pizzas for the show was a treat, DiTomo said he enjoyed the process of teaching the actors the most. "Just watching Toby and Tony, watching their confidence bloom as these beautiful pizzas that they had made themselves came out of the oven, was a joy," he said. "I tried to focus on the mechanical movements of Toby's hands, making sure that he had those abilities so he looks good with any kind of movement with his hands. So, we made a lot of pasta, a lot of bread doughs and a lot of pizza. What a joy it was to work on this episode."
Below is DiTomo's pizza dough recipe, inspired by the show. The second season of Servant—including the "Pizza" episode, is streaming now on Apple TV+.
Neapolitan Pizza Dough
1 cup room temperature water
1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups bread flour
3/4 cup "00" flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 500° or the hottest your oven will go. If you have a pizza stone place it in the center of the oven before the oven heats up.
In a stand mixer with the dough hook, combine water and yeast. Dissolve the yeast and let sit for 5 to 7 minutes. Meanwhile, combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Give the dry ingredients a brief mix with your hand.
Add dry mixture and olive oil to the water and yeast mixture and mix on the lowest setting for 6 minutes. Once combined, wrap the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
After resting, remove the plastic and continue to mix on medium speed for 5 minutes.
Dump the dough out onto a well-floured work surface and divide the dough into two equal portions. Be sure to also sprinkle flour on top of the dough. Shape into two uniform balls by folding the corners into the middle of the ball then flipping it over and rounding with your hands.
Cover each ball with a kitchen towel and allow them to rise for at least an hour or until doubled in size.
Grab a sheet pan and flip it upside down. Sprinkle flour on top and place one of the dough balls onto the pan. With flour-covered hands, begin to dimple the dough in a spiral motion starting in the middle and working your way out (be sure not to dimple the last half inch because that will be your crust.) Gently pull the crust while holding down the middle of the dough to stretch the pizza to 12-inches. Top with favorite toppings, and slide onto the pizza stone (if using) or bake on the sheet pan until brown, about 8 minutes.