We spent last weekend with friends in London, the plan was to chill out, relax and catch up. Before we went there I had in my mind that we had to make pizzas, we were meant to make them the previous week, but for a variety of reasons that didn’t happen, so it HAD to happen this weekend. I have never made pizza dough before, sure I have had home made pizza before, but someone else has always made the dough, but this time it was my turn.
I always get nervous when I’m trying out something new whilst cooking for other people. Fair enough if it goes wrong for me I can throw it in the bin and pop something in oven out the freezer, so the pressure was on. I had many worries with this recipe, the main ones being that there wouldn’t be enough dough for four people and it wouldn’t rise, luckily none of those worries came to fruition. We all got a decent size pizza and it rose. The one tip I would say when cooking is cook it in a really hot oven or you will end up with a soggy base.
Making pizza dough is pretty easy, you just need a bit of time to allow for the rising. The recipe is as follows:
500g bread flour (plus more for kneading)
1 7g sachet of dried yeast
2 tbsp olive oil
330ml tepid water
Sift your flour salt and dried yeast into a large mixing bowl, making sure the salt and yeast are separate, then make a well in the middle.
In a jug mix together your water and oil then pour into the flour mixture
Mix together with a spoon until you get a sticky dough
Flour your work surface and need the dough until it is springy and elastic, this takes about 10 minutes
Put the dough in a floured mixing bowl cover with clingfilm and leave to rise somewhere warm for one hour or until it has roughly doubled in size.
Pre-heat your oven to gas mark 7 (220°C) If you wish you can heat a baking sheet in the oven, this should help make the base extra crispy.
When the dough had proved I divided it into four worked each batch with additional flour for a few minutes then rolled out the dough, it takes a bit of man power to roll it out, but keep at it and you will have a nice thin base. Place onto grease proof paper or foil then add your toppings.
For the tomato sauce you can use passata, or what we did was blend chopped tomatoes with some chopped onion and herbs.
For me the best part of making your own pizzas are the toppings, you can go crazy and make creations you would never find in the supermarket or restaurant (maybe that’s a good thing). For mine I had, grated cheese, mozarella, blue cheese, fried onions, mushrooms and spinach. But if I had to choose one topping it would have to be blue cheese, dolcelatte to be precise, absolutely delicious melted on top of a crisp pizza.
When you have got as much as you want on the pizza pop it in the oven for 10-13 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and you cannot resist any longer.
For dessert we made oreo cupcakes, something I’ve been wanting to make for some time. To make these you need two packets of oreos. Firstly you need to separate them and put the biscuit with the fillings at the bottom of your cupcake cases. Keep the tops you’ll need them later.
Now all you need to do is make a chocolate cupcake recipe any recipe is fine, the one I used was very muffin like but as these cupcakes are fairly versatile you can work with any recipe. I decided that I wouldn’t use a buttercream topping as I find that a bit too sickly and wanted to try something lighter. Instead I whipped up a tub of double cream added some oreo cookie crumbs (remember the leftover tops?) then added a few tablespoons of caster sugar to taste then piped this on top.
These cupcakes were so yummy and tasted so much better with the cream topping, we had them with icecream after our pizzas and spent the rest of the evening in a food coma watching films and feeling full but happy.