Monday, October 8, 2018

Rosie Puts A Spin On Her Pizza.

The Hawthornes love their pizzas.  And we make at least one pizza a week.
Depending on our moods, our pizzas are different each time.  
We've got that crust down, so only the toppings change.

Let's take a look at some of our pizzas.
 Here's a white sauce on the left side and traditional on the right.  The best of both worlds.
See HERE for the recipes.

I've also been known, when my figs are in season, to showcase them on my figcaccia.

Here's the recipe for my fig pizza.

Some time ago, I wrote about pizzas for a tail-gating article.   
I showcased traditional pepperoni pizza, Greek pizza with spinach and feta, and Hawaiian pizza with ham, pineapple, and cherries.

Traditional pizza.

Greek pizza.

Hawaiian pizza.

 So, what else is there, you ask?
Well, there's a fusion pizza.
Today, I'm combining Hawaiian and BBQ.
Don't knock it until you've tried it.

I guess pineapple makes a pizza Hawaiian. Then there are some maraschino cherries thrown in.
And don't forget the Canadian bacon/ham slices which fuses our northern neighbor in there.  And also I doctored up my basic tomato sauce with a hint of southern smoky barbecue for more fusion.

And it was good.  Just the right amount of sweet and savory.
Let's start with the crust.
If you make pizza on a regular basis, get yourself a pizza stone.  That's the secret to a super crust.  The stone conducts and holds heat evenly, keeping your temperature at an even keel despite hot spots and fluctuations in the oven itself, and the stone helps to bake the pizza evenly.  In addition, the porous stone surface draws water out of your dough, dispersing this moisture as steam, puffing up the dough.  Preheating the stone gives you a surge of initial heat when you place the pizza on it, which also serves to puff up the dough.  Using a stone will give you a definitive, golden, and crisp bottom which is what we all want.

Besides using a stone, you need a hot, hot oven.  500°.  And ideally, you need to let that stone heat up for an hour to get best results.

Now, back to the crust.

Pizza Crust
3/4 cup warm water
1 package yeast
1 tsp sugar

1/4 cup warm water
 1 tsp kosher salt
 2 cups bread flour, thereabouts

Pour 3/4 cup warm water in a medium bowl.  Add in the yeast and sprinkle the sugar over top. I don't even bother to stir.   Let it proof.  This means the yeast "proves" it's alive by eating the sugar and producing carbon dioxide and other by-products.  In other words, it gets bubbly and foamy.

When the yeast has proofed, add in the rest of the water,  then gradually fork in the bread flour and salt until it all comes together in a sticky mess.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it becomes a soft, pliable ball.
Place dough in an oiled bowl, turning to lightly coat, then cover and let rise.

Now, you can let it rise, doubling, and then start on the crust immediately, OR you can let the dough wait it out in the fridge for a day or two.  This overnight wait gives the dough deeper, better flavor.  A long fermentation also allows the gluten to develop, producing a strong, elastic network. 

Before working with refrigerated dough, let it come to room temperature.  Liberally oil a pizza pan, place the ball of dough in the center, and, working from the center of the ball, press the dough out.  Let it relax a bit, then press out some more.  Take your time doing this.  Keep pressing outwards until your dough is evenly stretched but has a thicker lip around the edges.

Rosie Note:  This dough is enough to cover a 15-inch diameter pan.  If you want to make more dough, a general rule of thumb is 1 part liquid to 2 parts flour. Adjust salt accordingly.  Don't worry about adding more yeast or sugar. 

This is what "proofed" yeast looks like.
Now it's ready for you to mix in the flour.

Simply fork in the flour.
Then turn the shaggy mess out onto a lightly floured board.

Work it.
Knead the dough until it comes together in a smooth ball.
Place in an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise.

Let it rise until doubled.  You can start on the pizza now or you can cover and refrigerate overnight.  I've left mine in the fridge for up to 3 days.  You don't need to be pressured to make the pizza immediately.  You can take your time.
Now it's time for the sauces.  
I'm making two sauces - a basic tomato sauce and a barbecue sauce -  and blending them.

Basic Pizza Sauce (Above left)
1 6-oz. can tomato paste
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp sugar
pinch salt
Scrape out the tomato paste into a small saucepan.  Add a little water to the can, swirling, and wash out any remaining paste into the pan.  Fill can twice with water and pour into pan.  Stir in seasonings and heat over low heat until simmering.  Reduce heat and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Rosie's BBQ Sauce (Above right)
1/2 cup ketchup

1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 TB Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Stubb's hickory liquid smoke
Combine all ingredients and heat through over low.

For my Fusion Sauce:
I used two parts pizza sauce to one part BBQ sauce.
Taste test, and if you'd like a stronger barbecue flavor, add more sauce.
You be the judge.

You'll have leftovers for both sauces.  Just refrigerate or freeze until later.

Now, build the pizza!
Press the dough out onto a well-oiled pizza pan, then ladle on the sauce, smoothing it out.
I like a light hand with the sauce, but you might like more.

Next, I added slices of Canadian bacon/ham and topped them with a slice of pineapple and a maraschino cherry.  Then I added some onion slices and chopped bell peppers, along with some jarred peperoncini slices.

Top the pizza with as much cheese as you like. Can you have too much cheese?  I think not.
 I used a combination of whole milk mozzarella and Monterey Jack cheeses.

Oven should be at 500° with a pizza stone heating up for at least an hour.

Place pizza (on pan) in oven for 3 minutes, then rotate and cook for another 3 minutes.
Slide pizza off pan and onto stone and cook for 7 more minutes.
Place pizza on rack to cool slightly, then place on cutting board to slice.

Ta daaaaa!


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