A Pizza Fest

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A Pizza Fest

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Published prior to 2008

Pizza: now, thereís a dish with universal appeal! Itís not just for dinner (what, youíve never eaten cold pizza for breakfast?). And itís not just for kids. Itís an Americanized treat enjoyed by all ages, all ethnic groups, and all levels of society (as opposed to, say, beluga caviar or imported foie gras, neither of which is generally appreciated by children, and certainly not affordable by the majority of Americans). But pizza-ah, thereís nothing like a hot slice of Italian sausage and black olive (or name your favorite) pizza, its chewy crust barely containing a layer of melting cheese, which in turn encloses the aforementioned savory toppingsÖ I could eat pizza every day for a year, and never tire of it, and probably never have the same combination of toppings twice.

Too often we think of pizza as simply a mealtime option. But itís just as suitable cut into small squares (or fashioned into mini-rounds), and served as an appetizer, or as part of a buffet lunch. Pizza as finger food? Sure, why not? Itís just as easy to make as any of the other fussy little miniature pastries you might offer, and itíll always find an appreciative audience-we guarantee it.
The following pizza dough is sufficient for six 6- to 7-inch individual pizzas; or two 12- to 14-inch thin crust pizzas; or one 12- to 14-inch stuffed double-crust pizza; or about 30 hors d'oeuvre-size pizzas. Each filling recipe is enough to top the same number of pizzas.

The dough may be mixed up, kneaded, and rolled out into pizzas as soon as itís made; or placed in a greased, covered bowl or bag and refrigerated for up to 3 days. If you plan to refrigerate the dough before using it, knead it to somewhat less than full development; the gluten will continue to mature in the fridge. Also, start with cold water. This allows the dough to ferment and rise very slowly over time, giving it a more complex flavor. If, on the other hand, you need to use the dough immediately, use warm water to speed the yeast along.

Pizza Dough
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) water
3 1/4 cups (14 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour*
1 cup (5 1/2 ounces) semolina flour*
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) olive oil
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) Pizza Dough Flavor (optional)
1/4 cup King Arthur Easy-Roll Dough Improver (optional, but very helpful)
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) baking powder
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

*Or use all unbleached flour (though the semolina gives the crust nice crunch and color). If you use 100% unbleached flour, start with 1 1/3 cups water rather than 1 1/2 cups.

Manual/Mixer Method: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine all of the dough ingredients, and mix until the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased or floured surface, and knead it for 6 to 8 minutes, or until itís smooth, shiny, and just slightly sticky (remember, knead it a few minutes less if itís going to be refrigerated). Or knead it in a mixer, using the dough hook.

Bread Machine Method: Place all of the dough ingredients into the pan of your bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer (usually, liquids first, yeast last). Program the machine for dough or manual, and press Start. Check the dough about 10 minutes before the end of the final kneading cycle and adjust its consistency as necessary by adding additional water or flour to form a soft, smooth ball.

Your dough is now ready to either refrigerate, or roll out into pizzas. Note: If desired, let the dough rest for an hour before using it; while this isnít a necessary step, it will improve the crustís flavor. Read onÖ

Caramelized Onion and
Brie Pizza

This unctuously rich topping is characterized by the subtle sweetness of caramelized onion. Note that it takes a lot of raw onion to end up with much less cooked onion; 2 pounds raw onions yield about 2 3/4 cups caramelized onions.

2 teaspoons oil or butter (or use non-stick cooking spray)
4 large (2 pounds) yellow onions, thinly sliced (about 7 to 8 cups)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar*
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
14 to 16 ounces Brie cheese, rind removed, cut into cubes
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup (2 ounces) sliced almonds (optional)

*Use 2 to 3 tablespoons of any sweet dessert wine in place of the wine vinegar and sugar, if desired.

Heat a large skillet until hot; cover the bottom with non-stick cooking spray, or the vegetable oil or butter. Add the onions to the pan and cook, stirring often, until theyíre translucent and browning on the edges. Add the vinegar, sugar, and salt, and cook until evenly browned, and all the liquid is evaporated. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Pat and roll the dough out to the desired size and shape, using pans if you donít have a baking stone in your oven, or shaping the pizza right on parchment paper if youíre planning to bake on a stone. Cover it with a layer of onions, then scatter with the Brie. Grind a sprinkling of fresh pepper over the top. Sprinkle with the sliced almonds, if you choose. (We like the sliced almonds when making this as an appetizer.)

Bake the pizza in a preheated 425°F oven for 15 to 18 minutes. Serve hot, or at room temperature.

Nutrition information per serving (1/12 of recipe, topping and crust, 184g): 345 cal, 14g fat, 13g protein, 41g complex carbohydrates, 1g sugar, 3g dietary fiber, 33mg cholesterol, 641mg sodium, 248mg potassium, 59RE vitamin A, 5mg vitamin C, 3mg iron, 146mg calcium, 167mg phosphorus.

Roasted Garlic, Onion, Spinach, and Bacon Pizza

For those of you who canít get enough of roasted garlic-or who get carried away and make too much-this is a delightful use for it.

2 to 3 heads garlic
2 tablespoons (7/8 ounce) olive oil
2 bags (20 ounces) fresh spinach
1/2 pound bacon, cut into small pieces
2 large (10 to 11 ounces) onions, chopped (about 3 cups chopped)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded mozzarella

Cut the top off both heads of garlic. Brush the cut ends with a bit of olive oil, and wrap the heads in aluminum foil (or use a small covered crock if you have one). Bake the garlic in a preheated 400°F oven for 45 to 50 minutes, until itís soft. Remove it from the oven, and set it aside to cool.

Squeeze the garlic pulp out of the husks, then mash it with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. This step may be done up to several days ahead of time; just keep the garlic/oil refrigerated.

Remove the tough stems from the spinach and wash well. Heat a large skillet. Cook the bacon until semi-crisp, remove it from the skillet, and place it on paper towels to drain. Remove the excess fat from the pan, add the onions, and saute them until theyíre translucent. Add the spinach and vinegar; cover the pan and cook over medium-low heat for 2 to 3 minutes, just until the spinach wilts. Remove the cover, stir in salt and pepper to taste, then continue cooking for 3 to 4 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Remove the spinach mixture from the pan, and cool it in a thin layer to prevent the spinach from over-cooking.

Assembly: Preheat your oven to 425°F. Roll the pizza dough into the desired size and shape, place it in pan(s) or on parchment, and spread it with a thin layer of the roasted garlic oil. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove it from the oven, and spread it with the spinach and onion mixture. Top with the shredded mozzarella cheese and bacon bits, return it to the oven, and bake until the crust is golden and the bacon crisp, about 6 to 8 minutes.

Nutrition information per serving (1/12 of recipe, topping and crust, 173g): 313 cal, 12g fat, 12g protein, 40g complex carbohydrates, 3g dietary fiber, 15mg cholesterol, 565mg sodium, 445mg potassium, 351RE vitamin A, 19mg vitamin C, 4mg iron, 209mg calcium, 193mg phosphorus.

Triple Cheese Pizza with Marinated Tomato Salad

This interesting combination of pizza and salad is similar, in theory, to the Caesar Salad Pizza we featured in one of last summerís Bakerís Catalogues. (Interested? Catch it in the recipe section of our Web site: www.kingarthurflour.com). The cool, crisp tomatoes spooned atop hot, melting cheese and a chewy crust make for an interesting (and happy) juxtaposition of flavors and textures.

Marinated Cherry Tomatoes
2 pints (1 3/4 pounds) cherry tomatoes (the small grape variety, in both yellow and red, are nice here)

1/2 cup (3 to 4 ounces) sweet white onion, such as Vidalia, or Spanish onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) finely chopped parsley
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) olive oil
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) balsamic or red wine vinegar
4 to 5 leaves fresh basil, thinly sliced, OR
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cheese Topping
2 tablespoons (7/8 ounce) olive oil
2 to 3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded provolone cheese
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup (3 ounces) shredded Parmesan cheese

Tomatoes: Cut the cherry tomatoes in halves (or quarters if theyíre especially big). Toss them with the remaining ingredients, and let them marinate for 30 minutes (or longer) at room temperature.

Preheat your oven to 425°F. Crush the garlic into the olive oil. Roll the dough to desired size and shape, and place it on greased pan(s) or parchment paper.

Brush the garlic oil onto the dough. Toss the cheeses together, then spread them over the dough. Bake the pizzas for 15 to 18 minutes, until the cheese is golden brown and bubbling, and the bottom crisp. Remove them from the oven; place them on a wire rack to keep the bottom crisp, and let rest for 5 minutes, to give the cheese a chance to solidify just a bit and make the pizza easier to cut. Serve slices (on a plate; this is too tricky to eat out of hand) with a generous helping of marinated tomatoes on top.

Nutrition information per serving (1/12 of recipe, topping and crust, 204g): 428 cal, 23g fat, 17g protein, 39g complex carbohydrates, 3g dietary fiber, 32mg cholesterol, 788mg sodium, 306mg potassium, 165RE vitamin A, 18mg vitamin C, 3mg iron, 403mg calcium, 313mg phosphorus.

Mushroom-Sour Cream Pizza

Maybe itís some latent Russian inclination in my soul-after all, I did name my son Nikolai-but Iíve always loved the combination of mushrooms and sour cream. So when Sue created this unusual "pizza," it was all I could do to stop "taste-testing" the filling even before it was added to the hot crust.

One taster commented that while this was the least visually appealing of all the pizzas Sue tested, it was wonderfully rich and creamy, almost like cream of mushroom soup on toast!

1 pound white mushrooms
1 pound "other" mushrooms (baby portobello, mixed wild, portobello)
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) butter
1 large onion (8 ounces), chopped (1 1/2 cups chopped)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3 tablespoons (3/4 ounce) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 pint (16 ounces) sour cream
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
chopped parsley

Wash the mushrooms thoroughly. Finely dice about half, and slice the remainder.

Heat a large skillet and add the butter, then the onions and mushrooms, and cook until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic, and continue to cook until the liquid has evaporated from the mushrooms. Stir in the flour and the sour cream, cooking until the mixture thickens. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.

Cook the pizza crust until itís crisp and a light golden brown. Spread it with a layer of mushrooms, and return it to the oven briefly, just to warm through. Sprinkle with a bit of fresh parsley. A teaspoon or two of truffle oil, stirred into the mushrooms at the end of cooking, is delicious.

Nutrition information per serving (1/12 of recipe, topping and crust, 210g): 327 cal, 14g fat, 9g protein, 42g complex carbohydrates, 3g dietary fiber, 20mg cholesterol, 458mg sodium, 451mg potassium, 85RE vitamin A, 5mg vitamin C, 4mg iron, 124mg calcium, 201mg phosphorus

This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. XIII, No. 3, Early Spring 2002 issue.