Well, I was going to make that apple and chilli pie thing tonight, but I made pizza first and ran out of flour. So you’ll just have to wait until another time.
Incidentally, there are few things better than a home-made pizza. And it’s really not hard to make one, although it will help enormously if you’ve got a baking stone: seriously; you really ought to own one – they make awesome pizza, obviously, but they’re great for making nearly any kind of flatbread – naan, pita, whatever.
But anyway, yeah. Pizza. I reckon it’s time for Approximate Cooking With Chris again.
- Some flour. Strong – bread flour is ideal. Not sure how much. A cup or two. Plus a bit more, if necessary.
- Yeast – see below
- 1 tsp sugar
- 150ml warm-ish water
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1x tin tomatoes
- 1x clove garlic
- Some basil, salt, pepper
- 1 or 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 dried chilli
I never really got on with easybake yeast, although I know plenty of people (including the only properly actual trained chef I know) swear by it. If you’re going to use it, make sure it’s well mixed into the dry ingredients. Personally, I like dried active yeast: you dissolve the sugar in the warm water, then whisk the dried yeast into it and leave for 15 minutes or so – it’ll form a foamy head and smell faintly of alcohol – then stir again.
Either way, add the liquids to the dry ingredients and mix. If the dough still looks sticky, add a bit more flour and mix again. Once it looks like, well, dough, turn it out onto a work surface – not floured – and knead it. Keep in mind you’re not trying to mix the ingredients here – the kneading action is about forming sheets of gluten in the dough which helps the produce the “bubbly” texture of the bread. Knead the dough until it’s fairly stiff and very slightly sticky on the outside.
Now leave the dough somewhere to rise for an hour or so – now’s a good time to start making the sauce, if you want. You’ll need to stop it sticking to stuff – polenta is really good for this, and it won’t dry the dough out the way flour will.
The sauce is easy – smash and dice the garlic, then chuck everything into a saucepan and simmer very, very gently for about an hour – until most of the liquid has gone and the sauce has thickened. You’ll probably need to stir it to stop it burning, so check on it every so often. Don’t forget to take the chilli out before using the sauce.
At some point, preheat the oven to the highest setting, and put the pizza stone (or baking tray) in. You want the oven as hot as it will go before you start cooking the pizza.
To be honest, if you can’t work the rest of it out from here, you probably shouldn’t be in the kitchen – roll out the base, spread the sauce (1 tin of tomatoes will do about two pizzas, so you’ll probably have some spare), add the toppings and cook for about 10 minutes or so – either way, once you take the pizza out of the oven, let it stand for a minute or two before cutting it. It’ll help crisp up the base a little bit more.