Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Rosie And Mr. Hawthorne Collaborate On A Fabulous Tomato Pie.

With all the glorious tomatoes in my garden now, Mr. Hawthorne and I decided on a tomato pie for dinner the other night. As usual, I was in charge of the crust.
I started with 3/4 cup warm water (Don't use hot water. It will kill the yeast.) and added a packet of yeast. Stir to dissolve the yeast.
A tablespoon of sugar went in to "proof" the yeast. Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes. If it becomes foamy and bubbly, then the yeast is active. If it doesn't foam up, the yeast is old, dead, and you should just toss it. Nothing like adding all the ingredients to a dough, kneading it for however long, waiting hours for it to rise, and it doesn't. By proofing the yeast, you know it's good yeast.
I added 1 1/4 cups bread flour in, stirring, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough came together. Flour is milled from different varieties of wheat containing differing amounts of proteins. It's the different levels of protein that give each type of flour its unique qualities. In general, all purpose flour is made from a combination of hard and soft wheat, resulting in a medium protein content. Bread flour is a high gluten flour. The extra gluten gives you a stronger dough, and the chewiness and loftiness in the bread. Gluten is a protein which allows the dough to capture and trap more of the gases given off by the yeast. The gluten is activated by moisture and becomes elastic and rubbery. It is this rubbery structure that allows the dough to stretch and keep in the trapped yeast gases. Bread flour also contains more protein than all-purpose flour. 13-14% protein in bread flour vs 9-12% protein in all-purpose flour. Without gluten, your bread will not rise as high or be as light and tender.
Keep adding the flour until you get a nice, soft, sticky mess. Add in freshly ground salt and pepper. Never add the salt at the beginning when you're proofing the yeast. Salt diminishes the action of the yeast.
Spread your working surface with a sheet of flour and turn your sticky mass onto it.
I had some lovely basil in the garden, so I'm going to use this in my crust.
I chopped the basil and added it to my sticky, gloppy mess. I added maybe 1/2 teaspoon each, salt and pepper, and about a tablespoon of olive oil, then I started kneading ...
... until I got a nice, smooth, elastic ball of dough. I oiled my bowl, put the dough in, turning to coat with the oil, then set it aside, covered, to rise. And once again, here's Rosie's Tip #87 for rising dough: Cover with plastic wrap. Then take a damp-wet kitchen towel, nuke it for about 90 seconds, until nice and hot and steamy, cover your bowl with it, and leave the dough in the microwave or some contained place to rise. The steam and heat gives a little boost to the rising. While the dough was rising, I prepared some of the toppings for my tomato pizza pie.
I had picked Roma and cherry tomatoes and a bunch of basil.
Mr. Hawthorne, as usual, was given what he calls "the shit detail" and peeled all the tomatoes. Notice my peeler. It's a Zyliss Soft Skin Serrated Peeler and quite a nifty gadget to have. This is my dough a mere 30 minutes later. Usually I let it rise longer, but Mr. Hawthorne was impatient and ready to eat. I think the short rise really contributed to the awesomeness of this crust.
Flour your fist and punch the dough down.
Put the dough on a floured surface and work it around a bit. You may need to add in a bit more flour. The dough will let you know.
Then I turned it onto a well-oiled baking sheet and, starting from the center, started spreading it out.
Keep spreading and don't rush it. Be patient when spreading out dough.
Work the dough up the sides. And if you notice, the extra oil on the pan drizzles over onto the dough, which is a good thing.
Prick it with a fork or fork it with a prick. Whatever blows your skirt up.
Our ingredients for the toppings: Brie cheese Mozzarella cheese granulated garlic onion powder peeled tomatoes basil salt and pepper aaaaaaaand ... shrimp (The shrimp was inspired.)
Brown the crust in a 425 degree preheated oven. And slice the Brie.
Mr. Hawthorne layered the Brie slices first, then the basil leaves, then the sliced tomatoes on top.
A light sprinkling of onion powder.
A light sprinkling of granulated garlic.
Then Mr. Hawthorne threw in some Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper.
Mozzarella on top.
And the shrimp. Trust me on this.
And a nice squirting of olive oil over top. This went into a the 425 degree oven for 15 minutes. Do not overcook your shrimp. You want them just opaque.
We had found a bag of snow peas on sale at Harris Teeter earlier.
So while the pizza was cooking, Mr. Hawthorne quickly stir fried some shrimp and the snow peas for an appetizer.
Isn't this pretty?
Add a little sweet chili sauce.
Wonderful Or qibswedyk. (That's my new word. qibswedyk. It's what happens when your fingers are one key to the left.)
Pizza is ready.
If you like a thin and crispy and crunchy crust, then you'll love this.
The shrimp was perfectly cooked, tender, and succulent. Basil and tomato is always a winning flavor combination. The cheeses were smooth, creamy, and rich.
This would be wonderful without the shrimp but the shrimp just jacked it up to a new level of mouth-watering goodness. This was a true palate-pleaser.


Donna-FFW said...

Thin and crispy crusts are my favorite..

Garlicpbo said...

that looks amazing...MMMM