Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pizza Revisited

Almost as soon as I posted about homemade pizza, I began to regret my laziness in using a cookie sheet rather than the pizza stone. Which of course made me curious which was really better, leading to a taste test.

There is no doubt about it – if you like a thin crispy crust, the pizza stone is the way to go. And even though it takes two of us to ease the pizzas from the pizza peel onto the stone, it really wasn’t as hard as I remembered. The trick is to liberally dust the pizza peel with corn meal so the raw pizza slides off easier.

I also tried a new crust recipe that I love! I found it in a little booklet called Parties for Every Season that Bon Appetit sent me for re-subscribing. It’s a larger recipe than my other favorite dough, which means I can make four round pizza stone pizzas or three pizzas and a calzone for the Boy or one cookie sheet pizza (kid favorite) and two pizza stone pizzas (adult favorite). The possibilities are endless.

But best of all this crust really holds up under even a heavy load of toppings.

And it also rises nicely for those who like a thicker crust.

There are oh so many toppings to experiment with! Things I’d never even considered. This week we made a pizza with red sauce and mozzarella topped with crumbled hot Italian turkey sausage, broccoli rabe and peperoncini. Total YUM! Then we made a white pizza inspired by a delicious one we had at the Tavern at the Dan’l Webster Inn in Sandwich on our way home from the airport last week.

It had the sublime combination of roasted sweet potatoes, bacon and gorgonzola with a drizzle balsamic vinegar after it came out of the oven. I put a very light layer of grated mozzarella on the crust before adding the toppings. It’s my new favorite for sure.

In the past pizza night for our family has always been on Friday, but lately it has turned into a Saturday night event. On Saturday I have (slightly) more time to think ahead and make the dough in the afternoon and it seems lately Friday nights have been really busy.

Last Friday we served clam chowder and lobster rolls to close to 70 people at our church.

The event was billed as an “Adult Movie Night.” Is it just me, or would you have done a double take to see the words “Adult Movie” in your church bulletin?

It seems it was just meant to be a way to distinguish it from the frequent family movie nights, but that one really made me chuckle. Their movie choice: Fiddler on the Roof.

It was the first of a pretty busy schedule of cooking for a crowd for our church, but the Hubby and I really love that kind of thing. It’s an adrenaline rush to cook for and serve such a big crowd, harkening back to my long ago waitress days. But it has an added bonus. This crowd is like family and they are so appreciative…

The Recipe:

Bon Appetit’s Pizza Crust for a Party

(They made the dough in a food processor, but mine burned out quickly - as in totally quit - so I mix it by hand and altered the recipe to indicate that)

1 1/2 cups warm water (110 – 115 degrees)
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
4 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
Cornmeal (for dusting)

Mix warm water and sugar. Sprinkle yeast over; stir to dissolve. Let stand until mixture bubbles, about 10 minutes. Add flour, olive oil, and salt. Mix until dough comes together. Turn out onto floured surface and knead until smooth, about five minutes. Place in oiled bowl, turn dough over to cover with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in warm, draft-free area until doubled in volume, about one hour.

Divide dough into number of pizzas you want to make. If using cookie sheets, grease two large ones and dust with cornmeal. Place divided dough in cookie sheets and pat to edges with fingers. Add your favorite topping and bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes.

If using a pizza stone, place pizza stone into 400 degree oven for at least ten minutes. Meanwhile, divide dough into four pieces. Roll out each piece with a rolling pin and lay on pizza peel that has been liberally dusted with corn meal. Add toppings and slide pizza onto hot stone. Bake at 400 degrees for about ten minutes.

Click here for a printable recipe


Meg said...

Love the pizza dough recipe! Wow..that is a lot of people to feed!

Live.Love.Eat said...

Oh my. Lobster rolls. Those and shrimp rolls are amazing and luckily I get them from a seafood market where I can take out. They use the New Englast style hot dog buns. I may have to get one this weekend. And that pizza looks great!!!! I've never made my own dough before.

Michele said...

that is a whole mess of lobster rolls!
I love the combination of bacon, Gorgonzola and balsamic vinegar. Something that I'll have to make in mini size for me. Mr. P won't touch a blue cheese with a ten foot pole.
Everything you made looks amazing!

vanillasugarblog said...

Ohhhh those lobster rolls.
Would you believe I live right around the corner from the Dan'l Webster? Have you tried their Sunday brunch? Go hungry!