Potato, Fontina and Black Olive Tapenade Pizza

My family loves pizza regardless of topping; as long as there’s a good crust and melted cheese on it. I am a bit pickier, but even I find this not-quite-traditional pizza to be delicious.

The crust recipe I used here is Peter Reinhart’s. This one is among my favorite recipes, probably the second favorite. The first place is held by another Peter’s recipe which is a bit lengthier and requires a poolish pre-ferment (I’ll post it one day). I always make a whole batch of dough (enough to make four pizzas) and keep it refrigerated until needed. The dough, made on Friday, is usually turned into a quick assorted pizza-lunch on Saturday and Sunday.

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Pissaladière

I could live on this… and some rosé. Famous French salty topping of sautéed onions, anchovies, and olives gets a little update with an addition of ripe cherry tomatoes. Their roasted sweetness balances perfectly such intensive saltiness of the gutsy fish and olives.

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Focaccia filled with Cheese and Salame (Focaccia con la Ricotta)

There’s something savory for a change; something rustic and delicious in its best Italian simplicity. You can call it a filled focaccia or pie. But either way, the main point remains the same. There are two layers of soft yeasted dough filled with a mixture of ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, and spicy salame. The focaccia could make a perfect lunch, but if you are not allowed to consume a glass of wine during your lunch break, better serve it for dinner with a fresh crispy green salad on the side.

The recipe is adapted from Carol Field’s “Italy in Small Bites”.

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One Crust and Three Pizzas

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

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

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

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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Semolina and Sesame Bread

Semolina and Sesame Bread

This bread is traditionally made during spring as a welcome to returning sun at Macrina café in Seattle. Well, I baked it as a goodbye to the central star of the Solar System. Forecast doesn’t sound promising at all. Once the rain gets started here it won’t stop until very late spring. I’m afraid I finally have to accept the fact the summer is over. And I don’t like autumn…

Semolina and Sesame Bread

I am sending this photo to the CLICK Crust event.

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Paste Fritte (Fried Pizza Dough with Soppressata and Sage)

Paste Fritte (Fried Pizza Dough with Soppressata and Sage)

I was feeling lazy today. It happens sometimes. To tell you the truth it strikes me far more often than I’d like. So, instead of cooking dinner I fried a big basket of bread sticks (they can be called that :) studded with Soppressata and flavored with sage. And I made a big bowl of the crisp-fresh arugula salad to go with these fries. And wine, of course… There were no complaints.

The recipe is an adaptation of Carol Fields’s recipe from her wonderful book “Italy in small bites”. Truly, I don’t know who writes better about Italian food and traditions than her. The book is pure enjoyment. As well as the bread sticks :) You can add small cubes of pancetta or ribbons of prosciutto to the dough. I went with Soppressata since that what I had in the fridge at that moment. Use different kind of herb as well, if you wish.

Paste Fritte (Fried Pizza Dough with Soppressata and Sage) Inside

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