Posts Tagged ‘easy pizza recipe’

“Hello, my name is Alexander David, what’s your name?”

The three year old on a tricycle who introduced himself to me all those years ago turned 21 last week. He is a kind, generous human being with compassion and maturity far beyond his years.  His mum was my lighthouse – she helped me to see clearly and kept me off the rocks – and to this day I miss her desperately.  I’m sure she’s watching from above, blissfully proud of her boys and the truly fine young men they’ve become.

I rang this week to ask about his party (he lives down the road), and his reply was a classic example of Alex’s ever willingness to help:

“Hi Al, are you home?”
“No, do you need me to be?”

What happens when a party is organised by a 21 year old?  Well, there’s lots of alcohol and….sausage rolls.  When I recounted this to June, she, amidst much laughter, told me that she was planning to make finger food and a custard filled sponge cake for the soiree.  My contribution of pizza and chocolate slab cake isn’t nearly as classy, but hopefully it will help absorb some of the alcohol.

Party Pizza

This is a dead easy way to make lots of party food fast.  I made a double batch of my yeasted bread dough, then rolled it out flat and topped it as I would a pizza.  Because it wasn’t rolled too thinly, the base rose on baking, making each serve fairly substantial, even though the pieces were cut quite small.


  • 1kg bakers/bread flour
  • 20g instant yeast
  • 20g fine sea salt
  • 640g water
  • 100g olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 250C.  Place the bread flour in large mixing bowl and whisk in the yeast.  Stir in the salt.  Make a well in the middle, and pour in the water and olive oil.

2. Now, with a spatula, start mixing the dough.  It will be very sticky, but just keep mixing.  Then scrape the spatula off with your fingers, get your hand right into the dough, and scrunch it up through your fingers until it all comes together and there are no more dry bits of flour.  Scrape off your hand and leave the dough while you get the bench ready.

3. Oil your bench, either by rubbing in a little olive oil, or spraying with a little oil spray.  Don’t bother with flouring it.  Tip the dough out on the bench, scraping the sticky bits out with your spatula.  It will look like a shaggy mess.  Knead the dough (flour your hands or the dough a little if necessary) – it will be sticky at first, but after a very short while, it will become smooth and pliant.  You basically want to stretch out the dough, fold it in on itself, give it a quarter turn, and repeat.  Keep doing that until the dough is smooth, then gather it into a ball.

4. Spray the scraped out mixing bowl with oil and put the dough back in.  Cover the bowl with Gladwrap and leave it somewhere for an hour or so.

5. Once the dough has doubled in size, scrape it gently onto your re-oiled bench fold it a couple of times to knock the air out of it, then flatten it out slightly.

6. Tear off a large sheet of Bake large enough to line the tray you want to bake the pizza on.  My oven is 90cm wide and this amount of dough was enough to fill one large tray – if your oven is smaller, you might need two trays.  Place the dough onto the centre of the Bake, flour the top, and roll it out until it’s wide enough to line your tray(s).  Slide it onto the tray before topping it.

7. From here on, you can do anything you like – I started with tomato sauce on the base and topped it with mozzarella, dry ricotta, sundried tomatoes, mushrooms, olives, onions and pancetta.  By the time you’ve finished playing with toppings, the base will have risen just a little and be ready to pop into the oven.  Turn the oven down to 220C as you put the pizza in, then let it bake for 15 – 20 minutes, or until it looks well cooked and the toppings are crispy.


Chocolate sheet cake recipe to follow…

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Pizza starts with the dough.  Ours is hardly traditional, but we love it.

Pizza Dough for Four (double this to make eight)

•    500g pizza flour (bread flour is ok too)
•    10g instant yeast
•    8g fine sea salt
•    Scoop of sourdough starter (optional)
•    320ml water
•    50ml extra virgin olive oil

The flour goes into a large mixing bowl and the yeast and salt get whisked in.  The water, starter and olive oil are poured into the flour, and the whole lot is squelched together by hand.  This is quite a wet dough, so I knead it by lifting it up, slapping it on the bench, and folding it onto itself.  Over and over and over.  It helps if you let it rest for 10 minutes or so before you start.  The kneading doesn’t take very long, and when the dough is smooth, it’s left to rest for an hour in an oiled covered container.

Once it has doubled in size, the dough is divided into four pieces (about 220g each), shaped into balls, and left to rise again, covered in oiled Gladwrap.

Tomato sauce

Lately we always seem to have tomatoes in the house.  That’s because Jimmy the Tomato Man at Flemington markets is so darn persuasive, and Pete and I feel bad if we don’t buy something from him every week.  I think we’re a part of his weekly cashflow now, and I’d hate to make life difficult by depriving him of the $12 a week we normally give him.  It’s really silly too, because we then spend the week trying to find something to do with 10kg of tomatoes.  At first we were making our own semi-dried tomatoes, then we tried our own passata, and last week Pete made tomato relish, and I made pizza sauce.  Jimmy’s got it made, because Big Boy has pronounced our pizza sauce to be massively better than the “bought stuff”.  Sigh…there’s no going back now.

To make pizza sauce, I roast a tray of tomatoes, which have been cut in half, trimmed and sprinkled with Maldon sea salt.  I usually line the tray with Bake first, to make cleaning up easier.  We have a BIG oven (90cm Smeg – you should see our electricity bill), and it usually takes about 3kg of tomatoes to fill a tray.  These are roasted at 220C (fan forced) for half an hour, then added to a pan in which some chopped onion and garlic have been cooked in olive oil.  The whole thing simmers on the stove for about half an hour, and then it’s pureed in a jug to a smooth paste.


The quest for the perfect pizza topping continues.  It doesn’t help that Big Boy won’t eat a pizza with olives and anchovies, and Small Man won’t eat one with onions.  In the end we make one each for them.   I’ve finally moved Small Man off the daft and boring Spanish olives in a glass jar that he used to like, and onto some deliciously salty Kalamatas marinated in oil.  The anchovies are always bought from the Italian supermarket in little glass bottles, and lately I’ve taken to rinsing them before I use them – they’re still salty, but not mouth-puckeringly so.

We used to put ham on our pizzas, but it was never quite right.  Johnny at the cheese shop, our oracle of knowledge when it comes to all things deli related, put me onto coppa, and when that was out of stock, suggested I try pancetta.  Oh my.  The pancetta coupled with the roasted pizza sauce created an astonishingly delicate yet complex flavour, and, to use wine tasting terminology, fantastic mouthfeel.  It didn’t just taste good, it felt good in the mouth when you ate it.  I suspect it has something to do with all the fat on the pancetta, but I tried not to think about that as I was scoffing my eighth slice.

Another perennial favourite is potato pizza.  We use pink potatoes – usually Desiree although we buy Royal Blues on a semi-regular basis as well – peeled and sliced on a mandoline to get super-thin slices.  These are laid onto the flattened dough in a barely overlapping pattern, then topped with garlic oil (a gift from Robyn last Christmas) and sprinkled with some mixed Italian herbs.  If Small Man and I had our way, we would only ever eat potato pizza.  It’s like eating potato chips baked onto crispy pizza crust.  I can’t see how it could possibly be good for you, except for the fact that it often makes us truly happy!

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