Saturday, January 03, 2009

World's Best Pizza Recipe Revisited

A little more than a year ago I posted a pizza recipe that has since been modified, and in many ways simplified. For an executive summary of the changes, it no longer involves refrigerating the crust, and the sauce no longer uses tapenade.

Ingredients:

Crust
2 cups of flour (heaping, this isn't rocket science)
7 oz cold water
25 g active yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
Olive oil

I use 25g of fresh yeast. Around here, it comes in a cube. I drop it in about 7 ounces of water. Mash up the yeast so it is mixed into the water. Add a tsp of salt and sugar. In a grand mixer with a dough hook, add a bit more than 2 cups of flour. Coat the hook in olive oil. Add a tsp of olive oil to the water mixture. Turn the mixer to its slow speed.

Mix until the dough clears the sides of the mixing bowl. It will most likely end up as a big lump of dough. If too much of the dough is sticking to the bowl, you probably need to add a bit more flour. The key is to keep it in one, cohesive, elastic mass.

Once you are satisfied that it is elastic, but not too wet or dry---sprinkle a bit of flour into the bottom of a bowl, place the ball of dough into the bowl, pour a spoon of olive oil on top of the dough, cover with a clean dish towel, and let rise.

Sauce
3 or 4 fresh vine-on tomatoes
1 clove garlic
2 tsp plain pesto
salt
pepper

Dice two tomatoes-- and choose tomatoes with flavor-- not the watery cheap ones. Press the clove of garlic. Place into a bowl. Add the pesto and a bit of salt and pepper. Mix well with a spoon. Place in refrigerator until needed.

Topping
Prosciutto (sliced-- enough to cover pizza)
Ruccula (cut up)
Parmesan cheese
Mozzarella cheese

The toppings are not an exact science, but this is my favorite. Preheat the oven for almost as hot as possible. A hot oven will yield a better crust. Use a light coating of olive oil on your pizza pan, and sprinkle lightly with flour to avoid sticking. Stretch the dough in pan. Spread sauce on the dough and grate a little Parmesan cheese. Evenly spread prosciutto. Apply ruccula. Top with mozzarella, taking care not to drown the pizza cheese. Place pizza in oven, on one of the lower racks. Bake for 7 minutes. After seven minutes, check the pizza. Take care not to overcook the crust. When it is finished, remove from the oven and let it set up for two minutes before cutting. Eat.

Notes:
All sorts of oven temperatures can yield good results. For a chewier crust, cook at a lower temperature and on a rack toward the middle of the oven. Also, the amount of topping will affect cooking times, as will the thickness of the crust. The hot oven technique is not recommended for thick pizzas.