Friday, 1 June 2012

Epic Pizza Recipe!

Friday night in my household is pizza and red wine night… I love pizza!! So I make it a lot, this pizza recipe fits a flat muffin tray that I have got (40cm x 50cm flat non-stick tin), but you can use as big and flat a tray as possible.. The bigger the better! I make this for 2, the base is quite thin and it is so tasty you need a lot of pizza to satisfy an individual… Especcially on Epic Pizza and Red wine night!

To make the dough:
Bread or dough making is really easy. OK, it take a little more time than usual, but when you finish it and finally sit down to eat it, it is so worth it!! Instead of getting that doughy, chewy finish that you might from a part cooked or bought base, you get a soft light bread with a crispy edge, its delicious!

150g Strong Wholemeal flour
200g Strong White Bread Flour
10g Yeast
250ml warm water
Olive Oil
10g Maldon Salt

Mix all of the ingredients (except the Olive oil and water) together in a bowl, try to keep the yeast and the salt apart until you mix the dough (it might kill the yeast). Add the water and a really good glug of Olive Oil (the Olive oil adds flavour and helps that bread crisp up on the base), then mix and turn out onto a clean surface. Next you need to knead the dough. You can do it any way that you like but my technique is to do it like this:
1) Make into a ball
2) Place your finger tips on the base of the dough and then using the palm of your other hand push the other half of the dough away
3) Use the hand that pushed the dough away
4) Then drag back into a ball and repeat

You have to knead the dough for over 5 minutes, you’ll feel the dough change and become more stretchy and light. When you have kneaded the dough for over 5 minutes make it into a rough ball again and place it back in the mixing bowl, cover with cling film and allow to prove for 45 minutes to an hour.

Meanwhile you can make your Tomato sauce:
Pack of Chopped Tomatoes (best you can afford) Tomato Puree (Sun Dried if you can get it)1 small White onion 
Tsp Smoked Paprika
Tsp Smoked Maldon Salt
Black Pepper
Red Wine Vinegar
Tsp Sugar
Oregano (Fresh or Dried) 
Small handful of Rosemary (minus the twigs)
Plus a little of the Oil from the Sun Dried Tomatoes, oh and a couple of the Sun Dried Tomatoes
Dough that has not proved
Tomato sauces are super easy and you can put anything you want into them. This is the tastiest, quickest and easiest to make. If you have a blender it will take you no more than 5 minutes. Peel and slice the onion, place in the blender, blend until the onion almost becomes a paste. Next add the Chopped Tomatoes, a couple of the Sun Dried Tomatoes (with a little of their Oil) and a good squeeze of Tomato Puree. Add the Smoked Paprika, Smoked Salt a good grind of the Black Pepper and blend again. OK, now the next two ingredients you might find strange.. Basically I use the Red Wine Vinegar (good glug) and tsp of Sugar to add a sharp sweetness, this is to mimic the flavour or fresh Tomatoes. As well as the smoked ingredients I am a little bit addicted to Tomatoes!  The ripeness and flavour of Tomatoes in season can’t be beat, but by adding sugar and vinegar it lifts it nicely and gets close to this truly great flavour, even out of season. Chop your fresh herbs and add these to the mixer, blend a final time. Check for seasoning, correcting if you have too and your Tomato sauce is ready!
Pizza dough proved 45 minutes later
Once the bread dough has risen nicely you need to roll it out.

Here’s another flavour tip, I like to use Rye flour to dust the work surface before rolling out the dough it adds a lovely flavour to the dough.

Brush plenty of Olive Oil over your tray / tin whatever you are going to use. Make sure you cover the whole tray in a thin layer of Olive Oil, this will of course prevent it sticking. Then roll out your dough to the shape of your tray and then using the rolling pin place the flat dough over the tin. If you need to use a blunt knife to tidy the edges up, cover in a moist tea towel and place on the hob (get the oven on now, heat it to 225 degrees) the residual heat of the oven warming up will help the dough rise a final time – another 30 minutes will do it!

Pizza toppings:

A must , must for an Epic homemade pizza is Mozzarella and Parmesan. Without those ingredients you cannot make a pizza (in my house anyway), but as for the rest pretty much anything goes! Here’s what I used anyway.

Chorizo sausage
Ball of fresh Mozzarella (Buffalo if you can get it)
Handful of Black Olives
Jar Sun Dried Tomatoes
Jar of Red Peppers
2 Red Chilli (freeze Chilli’s and have fresh Chilli all year around)
5 mushrooms (sliced)
Parmesan Cheese
Cheddar Cheese
Fresh Basil
Make sure your dough is nicely proven

When your dough has proved for the second time, it’s ready. Using a fork prick the dough base all over (leaving a 5cm border around the edge), then spoon on a generous layer of your tomato sauce.  

Next add your toppings, slices of mushroom first then break up the Mozzarella and distribute it over the pizza, chop the Olives in half, spread these all over. Do the same with the Tomatoes (chopping if necessary) add a little chopped Basil and the Peppers.
When you are done with your toppings (except your meats) grate a generous layer of Parmesan all over the pizza (and I mean generous). Next follow up with a little Cheddar (I know it’s not Italian, but I guarantee you if an Italian was in England they would use our amazing mature Cheddars) making sure that the pizza is well covered. Next add your meats, I like to add these last as I like them to crisp up next to the heat, there is nothing like biting into a crisped piece of oily Salami still bubbling fresh from the oven! When the meat is nicely distributed finish with a final light dusting of Parmesan and then place in the hot oven for 12 minutes.

When the Pizza is cooked, you’ll see that the base is golden on the edges, the meat crispy and bubbling and well…. It will look delicious! Finish the pizza with a load of fresh Basil and then serve immediately with a glass of Chianti!
The Epic Pizza!

Finally, I use jarred Peppers and Tomatoes because they weren’t in season. Cook pizza with what’s good and in season at the time and you’ll have different pizza’s all year that taste amazing!
Leave your favourite toppings in the comments for us all to try out!

Seasonal Ideas:

Spring Pizza; Asparagus, Broad Bean, Pea and Ricotta (decorated with Pea Shoots)

Summer; Chargrilled Pepper, Fresh Tomato and Mozzarella (decorated with Rocket)

Autumn; Squash, Caramelised Onion, Feta Cheese and Thyme (Decorated with Parsley).

Winter; See above!!

To find out whats in season check out Seasonal Food Guide