I’ve become obsessed with making pizza at home. My brilliant cousin had me over around lunchtime a few months back and made a pizza that was the best darn pizza I’ve ever tasted. I went home and tried to replicate it using her recipe and it was a big fat fail. But she told me to try again and it’s now become part of our weekly menu. The crust takes just a few minutes to prepare and the recipe divides into three balls. They store in plastic baggies in the fridge and are ready anytime of the week! The kids make their own mini pizzas with olives and pineapple, we make family pizzas with salami and extra cheese, and Graham and I wait till the kids are in bed and try out gourmet pizza combinations. It’s super fun! If you like pizza and want to incorporate an easy weeknight dinner into your routine, I encourage you to try it out.
Figs are in high season and they happen to be one of my favorite things on the planet – they go GREAT on pizza. I never used prosciutto much before we started making pizzas, but it has become a regular staple in the grocery cart – as has fontina cheese. Do you buy fontina cheese? It is so yummy and buttery on pizza.
I’ve found a couple tricks for my homemade pizza success. First of all – the thinner the crust, the better. If your crust is too thick, the cheese gets too brown on the top and the center bottom of the pizza is all floppy and undercooked – not ideal. I take my pizza dough out of the fridge at least 30 minutes to an hour before making the pizza and that seems to help it squish out nice and thin. I made a mini pizza here for these pictures, but typically I work one ball of dough out to fill the full 14″ cast iron pizza pan. This pizza pan works splendidly, but a cookie sheet works just fine as well. Coat it with a little olive oil and then work your dough all the way to the edge until it holds its shape.
The next tip that my cousin taught me is to SALT and PEPPER your crust. I have a big jar of sea salt that I grind right over the pizza. You can salt and pepper your crust before adding your toppings or after. It makes it that much yummier!
You’ll also want to add some of the toppings before baking and some as soon as you pull it out of the oven. This pizza doesn’t use sauce, but if you want sauce, a thin layer would go over the dough. Then, the cheese. Plenty of cheese – don’t skimp! Fruits like tomatoes or pineapple, veggies like olives and zucchini, salami, pepperoni can all go on top of the cheese. Bake the pizza until the crust is really starting to brown up. Once you pull out the hot pizza, then it’s time to add the prosciutto, the arugula, and other herbs. You can also add the figs at this point or before baking – personally, I think the figs have more flavor when they’re a little cooler, but you decide what you like best! OH! And for some bonus gourmet flavor – goat cheese! Goat cheese makes everything even better.
- FOR THE PIZZA CRUST:
- 4 Cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast sprinkled over 1½ cups of hot (not boiling) water
- FOR THE TOPPINGS:
- ½-1 cup grated fontina (slices also work)
- ½ cup grated mozzarella
- ¼ cup crumbled goat cheese
- 4 slices prosciutto
- 3 fresh figs, cut into sections
- 1 cup fresh arugula, washed and patted dry
- coarsely ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- To make the CRUST:
- Mix flour and salt in a mixer.
- While mixing, slowly add olive oil until fully incorporated.
- Pour in water/yeast mixture and mix until combined.
- Place dough in an olive oil-coated bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
- Leave to rise on counter for at least one hour then divide into three quart-sized plastic bags and store in refrigerator until ready to use.
- To make the PIZZA:
- Remove one ball of dough from refrigerator and bring to room temperature.
- Coat cast iron pizza pan or cookie sheet with olive oil.
- Use fingertips to spread dough into a thin layer over the pan.
- Top with coarse salt, pepper, and cheeses.
- Bake for 15 minutes in a 500 degree oven.
- Remove from oven when crust becomes brown and cheese is melted and beginning to brown.
- Immediately top with figs, prosciutto and arugula.
- Eat up!!