Saturday, 23 June 2012

Baking class - pizza

In a change to what I was planning on cooking today, I've decided to cook homemade pizza. I was completely bowled over by Gino D'Acampo who was the start guest at a Poggenpohl Kitchens event that I attended on Thursday (more of that to come next week.) He demonstrated how to make pizza and I had no idea it was that simple. I bought his book, Italian Home Baking, as it was being sold to raise funds for CLIC Sargent, a charity that works with sick children and their families. The photo above shows the pizza Gino prepared - unfortunately he was unable to cook it, I don't think the ovens had been wired up. I will add my own photos once I've actually cooked the pizzas (this blog is one I prepared earlier, as they say.)

Classica Margherita

Makes 2 pizzas

200g strong white flour and extra for dusting
7g fast-action dried yeast
Pinch salt
140ml water, warm
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and extra for brushing

For the topping:
200g passata
2 mozzarella balls, drained and cut into little cubes (not buffalo mozzarella)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
8 fresh basil leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

1 Prepare two baking trays by pouring 1 tablespoon of oil on each and spreading it with your fingers or a pastry brush. Brush the inside of a large bowl with oil.

2 To prepare the dough, put the flour, yeast and salt into a large bowl, make a well in the centre and pour in the water with one tablespoon of oil. Use a wooden spoon to mix everything together to create a wet dough.

3 Turn out the dough onto a well-floured surface and work it with your hands for about five minutes until smooth and elastic. Place in the oiled bowl, brush the top with oil and cover with clingfilm. Leave to rest at room temperature for 25 minutes.

4 Preheat the oven to 200°C/ gas mark 6.

5 Once rested, turn out the dough onto a well-floured surface and divide it in two. Use your hands to push each one out from the centre to create two round disks, about 25cm in diameter. Place the pizza bases on the oiled baking trays.

6 Spread the passata evenly over the top of the bases using the back of a tablespoon. Season with salt and pepper.

7 Divide the mozzarella between the two pizzas and drizzle each one with two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.

8 Cook in the middle of the oven for 18 minutes until golden brown.

9 Two minutes before the end of the cooking, scatter over the basil, then continue to cook.

10 Serve hot.

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