October Daring Bakers’ challenge was pizza, to be precise – Peter Reinhart’s wonderful pizza crust. To make it challenging enough, we were supposed to master the tossing technique. Although, it is definitely fun and adrenalin-releasing experience I prefer to stretch my dough on the fists letting the gravity to do its work. This way, the desirable thicker edges and very thin center are easily achieved.
We were required to take a picture of the flying dough in the air. Unfortunately, this historical (I mistyped “hysterical”, first :) moment couldn’t be captured – there was no qualified adult around to take such shot. You will have to believe my words that the dough was not just tossed in the air but even successfully caught. And I lie very seldom.
I have a tendency to overdo the fillings and toppings. And there’s an explanation for this. I still remember my nana teaching me how to make a cabbage pie and whispering: ”If you don’t put enough filling, dear, people will think you are cheap. Without the filling, the pie is just a bread crust. And you don’t invite guests over for a slice of a regular bread.” Who ever questions nana’s opinion? So, if you have the same issues with the fillings/toppings as I do, we (Peter Reinhart and I :) must warn you. Do not overtop your pizza! Be moderate with your toppings no matter how good they are.
My big thank you to Rosa, this month DB’ host! We all enjoyed it a lot!
Sautéed Apple and Crispy Cinnamon Streusel Pizza
In this one, I topped the unbaked crust with thinly sliced and sautéed in butter and brown sugar apples, with an addition of cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon/orange zest. The streusel, on contrary, wasn’t baked with the pizza. I made the crumbs ahead of time and sprinkled over the pizza top as soon as it came out of the oven. Someone might think it’s a cheating; I believe it’s a practical solution ensuring the perfectly crisp and nicely brown streusel crumbs (that’s how I always top my fruit crisps, by the way). I served the hot pizza with sour cream.
Roasted Garlic and Sun-Dried Tomato Pizza with Roasted Onions, Red Peppers and Feta
This is a savory one. Instead of a tomato sauce, I pureed the sundried tomatoes and roasted garlic with a bit of extra-virgin olive oil, and spread it over the crust. The next went grated mozzarella, followed by the thickly sliced and previously roasted red onions, grilled sweet red peppers, and crumbled feta. The whole thing was topped with fresh basil and parsley.
Hazelnut and Honey-Thyme Roasted Pear Pizza
I baked the third pizza the following day when my dear and so very much nut allergic son was at school. First, I generously sprinkled the crust with toasted, coarsely ground hazelnuts. The second deck was peeled and thinly sliced Bartlett pears. I brushed the crust and pears with melted butter, drizzled the honey over the pears. Then I topped the pears with thyme sprigs. The time spent in the oven was sufficient enough to flavor but not to overpower the pears with thyme. As soon as the pizza was done, I brushed the pears with a little bit more warmed honey and sprinkled with some fresh thyme. It was delicious. Well, without excessive modesty, the all three pizzas tasted pretty much fantastic :)
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