Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Pie party.

Laura and I love to entertain. One Tuesday night we decided to have a Pie Party--pizzas and apple pie. Since the apple pie recipe is Mrs. Hunter's French Apple Pie recipe (and my favorite apple pie recipe of all time), I cannot share it. But I can share the incredible pizza dough recipe, which really knocked my socks off. It was sweet and flavorful, but not overpowering. It's a little on the thin-crust side, but not hard or overly crispy.

I don't know why I don't make pizza more often. It's so easy, and, we discovered, a great way to clean out the fridge. I tossed leftover olives and cheese from a previous dinner party on mine; Laura sliced up some leftover zucchini; and Julia topped her pizza with pepperoni. I thought about making my own tomato sauce, but instead settled on buying two jars (2 for $5!) from Viva Roma. I was pleasantly surprised with their Cabernet Marinara.

Here's the pizza dough recipe courtesy SmittenKitchen, and Mario Batali. I really love the conversational way Deb wrote this recipe, so I've left it as I found it. I'll leave the creative pizza toppings up to you.
Pizza Dough
Makes one small thin-crust pizza, serves two.

6 tablespoons warm water (may need up to 1 or 2 tablespoons more water)
2 tablespoons white wine (We use Goya White Cooking Wine, because you can't beat a $3 bottle you won't drink)
3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups flour

Whisk wine, water and yeast in a medium bowl until yeast has dissolved. Add honey, salt and olive oil and stir. Add flour and no matter how dry it looks, work it with a spoon and your fingers until it comes together as a dough. Add more water one tablespoon at a time if you need, but in my experience, this is almost never necessary (I seem to always need it, though).

Sprinkle some flour on the counter and knead the dough for a minute or two.

If you’re like me and always trying to reduce the number of dirty dishes left at the end of the night, wash the bowl you made the dough in, dry it and coat the inside with olive oil. Put the dough in, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it rise for an hour or up to two, until it is doubled.

[Easiest way to tell if a dough has risen enough? Dip two fingers in flour, press them into the dough, and if the impression stays, it's good to go. If it pops back, let it go until it doesn't.]

Once the dough has doubled, turn it out onto a floured counter and gently deflate the dough with the palm of your hands. Form it into a ball and let it rest on a floured spot with either plastic wrap over it (sprinkle the top of the dough with flour so it doesn’t stick) or an upended bowl. In 15 minutes, it is ready to roll out.

Do so on the floured counter until pretty darn thin, then lift it onto a cornmeal-sprinkled baking sheet. Add the toppings and slide into a 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes.

If you're adding vegetables to the top of your pizza, be sure to sprinkle some olive oil on top. Otherwise, the vegetables will simply dry out.

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