Monday, September 9, 2013

Pizza: the real thing and the cheat

School's started again and everyone's been so busy it's like vacation only happens in distant places to rich foreigners.
Yes, you heard me. School. 


The people who say they're 'studying at a University' are just trying to sound smart. They're just going to school, just like me. Maybe its a big school for big kids, but its still just a school for a bunch of kids who still know nothing of the world. At least I'm assuming they know about as much about life as I do which is practically nothing.

But I know a pizza recipe or two? I'm not sure if this makes up for my lack of wisdom about the world and the meaning of life, but it gets me through the day. Or through dinner time at least.

Ready for the oven: pizza inspired by Grilled Feta

Pizza - the real thing
makes 1 large square or about a 22cm/8" round pizza

1 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 tablespoon olive oil

1. Sift the flour into a bowl together with the salt and the yeast. 
2. Make an indent in the middle of the flour and add the water and olive oil. Knead until everything comes together and then keep kneading for another 5-10 minutes. Add more flour or water if your dough calls for it.
3. Leave to rise until doubled in size. In a warm place this might take an hour, but in the fridge you can keep it overnight.
4. Heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius or 390 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. Shape your pizza and place it, without topping, in a preheated oven. Leave until it starts to brown: around 10 minutes.
6. Once it's about to brown, take it out of the oven, leave to cool a bit and cover with your topping. Brush some oil on those bits of dough that are sticking out at the sides for extra browning.
7. Then bake for however long your topping takes. 

Pizza with goats cheese, honey, figs and walnuts
Is my pizza wisdom working for you? Here's a second recipe; it works very well in a pinch and it's perfect for sweet pizzas where the taste of yeast could easily become overpowering. It's also perfect for all those of you who think of yeast as some magical deffo-fail ingredient that should be avoided no matter what.

Pizza - the cheated way
makes 1 large square or about a 22cm/8" round pizzas

1,5 cup self-raising flour*
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water
3 tablespoons olive oil**

1. Heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius or 390 degrees Celsius.
2. Sift the flour with the salt into a bowl. Make an indent in the middle of the flour and add the water and oil. Mix until everything comes together.
3. Shape the pizza and bake until it just starts to brown (around 5-10 minutes).
4. Take it out of the oven and let it cool slightly before arranging your topping on top. Brush some oil on the sides for extra browning.
5. Bake pizza for as long as your topping takes. 

* Or use 1,5 cup flour with 1,5 teaspoon baking powder.
** For sweet pizzas, use sunflower oil instead.

The point of steps 5/6 for the normal pizza and step 3/4 for the quick pizza is to prevent the bottom from getting soggy. By baking it separately first you give it a chance to rise and bake after which you can spread the topping on top. You can omit this step, but beware theres a large chance it'll become thin and soggy. Just don't overdo this step: your topping needs time to heat up and bake as well and you don't want your crust to burn in the meanwhile. Bake it until it justjust gets a colour.

A quick & sweet pizza just before it goes in the oven

If I were you, I'd invest in figs and goat's cheese. Together with honey, it's a combination I've been obsessed with. Obsessed. I mean it: we've had goat's cheese&honey cheesecake, we've had goats cheese&fig pizzas, we've had fig chutney and jams with cheeses and toast, we've had smoothies in this direction and next up I'm going to make this ice-cream. I haven't heard anyone complaining about my tiny obsession yet, so I'll take it as a good thing.

One last note: I apologize for the lack of imagination from my photography. I was so busy I didn't have much time for my photography as I'd like. I did have a bunch of time to make pizza. Twice. No, I really was truly and really busy, but I have something to make up for it. Please enjoy this picture of figs:

 
 That makes you feel better doesn't it?

2 comments:

  1. I love this post! The part of me that adores artisan baking enjoys the process of lovingly working with dough, developing the yeasty flavor, taking time for the perfect rise ... BUT the busy-mom part of me was so happy to read further and see your cheater method! In reality, that's the quick-and-easy method I need right now (ummm ... hence the quick-and-easy theme of my blog, right!?!?). So, this post is exactly right in two awesome ways, for two types of bakers! Oh - and I'm totally on board for as many goat's cheese and fig recipes as you wanna post! :D

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    1. I totally agree with you! I love the artisan baking part, standing in the kitchen all day cooking up delicious things. But in reality I come up with what we're going to have for dinner 10 minutes before it's time to start cooking. There's never enough time!

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