Home Made Pizza

A surfeit of onions was overflowing from our vegetable basket this weekend and it didn't take me long to decide that I was going to make them into a pizza topping. Making pizza's at home definitely isn't something to do in a rush, but on a weekend it is one of my favourite things to make. T and I camp out in the kitchen on stools with a bottle of vino, generally covering the entire kitchen with polenta and flour and then peering through the oven door whilst we wait for each pizza to get crispy and golden.

The caramelised onions, mascarpone and bacon combo is one of our favourites toppings when we make pizza! The only other topping combination that has come close to competing with it is the tomato, salami and burrata combination we tried this weekend. The cold burrata, crispy salami and chewy dough are a near on perfect combination.

If you haven't tried making pizza at home yet give it a go this weekend. The only thing you need is a pizza stone or tile (we use an old floor tile which was free and works perfectly well, just make sure you get one that is natural stone and non-porus). Oh and make sure you have plenty of polenta - it saves all sorts of disasters!

Pizza dough

Makes enough for four medium sized pizza's

(Adapted from

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's recipe

)

I usually make the dough in the morning before we go out for the day and leave it in the airing cupboard to rise. This means you can make the pizzas as soon as you get in and the oven is heated up. If you have any left over dough wrap each individual portion in cling film and keep in the fridge for up to one week or freeze for about a month.

Ingredients

250g strong white bread flour

250g spelt flour

5g powdered dried yeast

10g salt

325ml warm water

1 tbsp olive oil

Plenty of polenta for dusting

Method

In a mixer with a dough hook combine all of the ingredients apart from the polenta and combine on a low speed until all mixed together. Turn the speed up to high and knead for 5 to 10 minutes until the dough is springy, smooth and silky. Coat the dough in a drizzle of olive oil so it is completely covered put into a clean bowl and cover with cling film or a shower cap (!) and leave in a warm place until doubled in size.

Once doubled in size scrape out of the bowl and divide into four equal portions. Roll each portion into a tight ball and leave to rest covered with a damp tea towel whilst you get your oven hot and get your toppings ready.

To get your oven up to temperature to cook the pizza's you need to pre-heat it to the highest temperature (ours goes to 240˚C) for about 30 minutes with your pizza stone or tile inside so that heats up too.

Once the oven is heated up start prepping your pizza to be cooked. Sprinkle a flat (or upturned) baking sheet with plenty of flour and polenta. Take one ball of dough and roughly flatten out into a disc with your hands on a floured surface. Then pick up the dough and start carefully stretching the dough whilst constantly turning it around so that you get the dough as thin as possible with a slightly thicker edge. You can also roll out the dough with a rolling pin but you won't get a slightly thicker crust this way.

Lay the dough on your floured baking tray and quickly spread on your toppings. When ready to cook your pizza, take the stone out of the oven (careful it is super hot!) and quickly slide the dough off your baking sheet with quick sharp movements (this takes a bit of practice, you might have to coax it slightly with a spatula). Pop the pizza stone back into the oven as quickly as possible and cook for 10 minutes until risen, golden and cooked through.

Caramelised onion and mascarpone pizza 

Makes two medium sized pizza's

Ingredients

6 small- medium onions, finely sliced into half moons

3/4 sprigs thyme

Marscarpone

4 Bacon rashers

Method

Heat a glug of olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add all the onions and the thyme with half a teaspoon of salt. Cook over a medium to low heat, stirring often, for about 20-30 minutes until halved in volume, soft and gently caramelised (note you don't want them to brown).

Fry or grill the bacon rashers until cooked to your liking (in my case super crispy!).

Follow the instructions above to prepare your dough. Top your pizza dough with half the onions, dollops of mascarpone, and crumble over 2 rashers of bacon. Drizzle with some olive oil, and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes until crispy and golden.

Tomato, salami and burrata pizza

Makes two medium sized pizza's

Ingredients

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tin good quality Italian plum tomatoes

1 tbsp tomato purée 

8 slices your favourite salami

2 small balls burrata cheese

Fresh basil

Method

Gently heat some olive oil in a small saucepan, add the crushed garlic cloves and a small pinch of salt, cook for 30 seconds. Add your tinned tomatoes, a small splash of water used to rinse out the can, and the tomato purée. Cook over a medium heat for about 15-20 minutes until the oil separates out of the sauce. Taste and check the seasoning, add more salt and some pepper and a little pinch of sugar if you think it needs it.

Following the instructions above for making the pizza dough, top your pizza with a thin spread of tomato sauce and tear over 4 slices of the salami. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes until golden and crispy. 

Once out of the oven tear over the burrata cheese, sprinkle with torn basil and drizzle with olive oil.