BAKE-YOUR-OWN PIZZA PARTY

Fairlady - - ETHICAL EATING -

Makes 4 medium or 8 small piz­zas or flat­breads

For a fam­ily gath­er­ing, this pizza-party for­mula works like a charm. We have a wood-fired stone pizza oven in the gar­den, so pizza has be­come an out­door meal for us, and the smell of burnt wood and freshly baked piz­zas in the fresh air is heav­enly. The key con­cept is for your guests to cre­ate their own piz­zas with a por­tion of the dough that you have pre-pre­pared (chil­dren will love it es­pe­cially!) and a va­ri­ety of top­pings that you pro­vide. The thin spelt pizza base is de­li­cious, and can also be used to make flat­breads.

FOR THE BA­SIC SPELT DOUGH

• 4 tsp fast-ac­tion dried yeast

• 325ml warm (not hot) wa­ter

• 2 tbsp agave syrup

• 600g whole­meal spelt flour, plus ex­tra, for dust­ing

• 400g plain flour or spelt flour

• 4 tsp fine salt

• 250ml olive oil, plus ex­tra for oil­ing the semolina flour, for dust­ing the lined bak­ing tray (op­tional)

FOR THE SUGO SAUCE (MAKES 800ML)

• olive oil, for fry­ing

• 2 shal­lots, chopped

• 3 gar­lic cloves, crushed with 1 tsp fine salt

• 2 x 400g tins good-qual­ity plum toma­toes

• a hand­ful of fresh basil, chopped

• 2 tbsp mixed dried Ital­ian herbs, such as oregano, basil and thyme (op­tional)

• 1 tsp agave syrup, or more, to taste

• salt and freshly ground black pep­per, to taste

1. For the spelt dough, mix the yeast with the warm wa­ter and agave syrup in a bowl.

2. Leave to stand for about 10 min­utes to al­low the yeast to ac­ti­vate – it should be­come foamy on the sur­face.

3. Put the flours in a mix­ing bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fit­ted with the dough hook, sift over the salt and mix to­gether well. If mix­ing by hand, make a well in the flour, pour in the yeast mix­ture and grad­u­ally mix in the flour with a fork, then slowly add the olive oil and work into the dough with your hands.

4. Knead the dough on a floured work sur­face for a few min­utes un­til smooth and elas­tic. If us­ing a stand mixer, add the yeast mix­ture with the mo­tor run­ning

un­til in­cor­po­rated, then slowly pour in the olive oil and con­tinue knead­ing un­til the dough is smooth. Oil a large bowl, add the dough and cover with a clean tea towel. Leave to rise for 1½ hours.

5. Punch the dough down to de­flate it and place it on a floured work sur­face. Di­vide it into four or eight pieces and knead each piece lightly into a ball.

5. For the sugo sauce, heat a fry­ing pan over medium heat. Add a driz­zle of olive oil and fry the shal­lots with the gar­lic, stir­ring, for 7–8 min­utes un­til soft.

6. Add all the re­main­ing in­gre­di­ents and sim­mer for 15 min­utes, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally to avoid burn­ing. Add a lit­tle wa­ter or stock if the sauce dries out.

7. Taste and ad­just the flavour bal­ance with salt, pep­per and agave syrup.

8. To make the piz­zas, lay a sheet of bak­ing pa­per on a bak­ing tray and sprin­kle with a lit­tle semolina flour – this is op­tional, but it adds a de­li­cious tex­ture. Us­ing a rolling pin, roll out a dough ball into a thin round; it should be only a few mil­lime­tres thick. [Spread the base with a layer of sugo sauce.] Add your choice of top­pings [see box be­low] and trans­fer to the tray. Re­peat with the re­main­ing dough balls.

EX­TRACTED FROM FEASTS OF VEG BY NINA OLS­SON. PUB­LISHED BY KYLE BOOKS. PHO­TO­GRAPHS: NINA OLS­SON

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