Margherita Pizza

margherita pizza - trust in kim

 

A Margherita pizza is the true test of good ingredients and a great pizza crust recipe. It is so simple, but everything has to be just right to make it taste delicious. I like to use the A16 Restaurant dough, which requires planning ahead a day or two. It has a perfect chewiness, with a crispness on the edges that bubble up and blister. The tomato sauce is simple; just some canned San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand.

This pizza isn’t like one from a take-out place, with a crust thick enough to hold up a ton of soggy toppings and cheese. This one is light, with a crispy crust, and you can taste each ingredient. Delizioso!

What you need:

  • 1/4 teaspoon yeast
  • 1 & 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 cups “oo” flour or all-purpose (I used all-purpose)
  • one 28-ounce can of tomatoes (San Marzano if you can find them)
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt
  • fresh mozzarella
  • freshly grated parmesan
  • fresh basil (optional)

What you do:

  1. Begin preparing the dough a day or two before you want to make the pizza. You can do this by hand, but it’s a bit more work than using a machine. Pour the warm (not hot – just body temperature) water into a mixer fitted with a dough hook, and then sprinkle the yeast on top.  Leave it for about 10 minutes and it should dissolve and become foamy – if it doesn’t your water was the wrong temperature, or the yeast is dead, so you need to try again with new yeast.
  2. Stir in the olive oil and salt.  Add most of the flour and mix on low for 2 minutes.  Knead on medium-low for about 10 minutes – it will pull away from the bowl and begin to look smoother.
  3. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let it rest for 5 minutes. Knead once more on medium-low for 10 minutes – it will be smooth and quite soft.  If it seems much too sticky you can add a little more flour.  Coat a bowl with a little olive oil and then coat both sides of the dough with olive oil, placing the dough in the bowl.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge over night (or two or three nights).
  4. In the morning remove the  dough from the fridge and punch it down.  Fold the sides of the dough under and put it back in the bowl.  Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let it sit in a warm (not hot) place until about 2 hours before you are going to use it.
  5. Punch the dough down and divide it into 4 pieces.  Form each piece into balls and cover them with a damp towel for about 2 hours.  By this time the dough should have doubled in volume.  If it starts to get a skin on it you can spray it with a little water.
  6. To prepare the sauce, just put the tomatoes and their juice into a bowl and squish them into little bits with your hands.  Add the salt.
  7. Preheat the oven to 500-550 F. I used a brick oven, which had to be lit a few hours before to heat it sufficiently. This makes the Best Pizza, but understandably, most people will be baking in a conventional oven.
  8. To form the crusts, shape the dough into a disk with your hands.  Push down in the centre with your palm and pull the dough out gently with your other hand, rotating slightly until you have a crust that is about 10-12 inches/25-30 cm in diameter with a slightly raised edge. Dust your baking pan generously with flour and place the crust on it.  I don’t have a proper pizza stone or pan, and the baking tray I used worked just fine.
  9. Spread some tomato sauce onto the crust, then add the mozzarella and a light sprinkling of parmesan. You want to go light on the toppings or the crust will become soggy.
  10. Bake for 6-7 minutes, until the crust is crisp, golden, with some dark blistering, and the top is bubbling.
  11. Add a little fresh basil to the top if you are using it.

Buon Appetito!

 

making pizza crust - trust in kim
forming the crust by hand

 

baking in a brick oven - trust in kim
My dad had the job of baking in the brick oven.

Aspargus, Mushroom and Red Onion Pizza

asparagus, mushroom and red onion pizza - trust in kim I was lucky enough to be able to make this pizza in a brick oven that my Opa built decades ago.  I made a few pizzas using this crust and sauce recipe.  It’s a fabulous recipe, and the topping options are endless.  Here’s a vegetarian one that was particularly delicious.

What you need:

asparagus

mushrooms sliced

red onions, thinly sliced

mozzarella cheese, grated

pizza crust (see link above, use your own recipe, or buy some pizza dough if you can find it in the freezer section)

pizza sauce (see link above)

What you do:

1. Assuming you’ve already prepared your pizza dough and sauce, preheat your oven to 500-550F. If you are using a brick oven you’ll need to start preparing it hours earlier.

2. Form your dough and place it on a well-floured baking pan. Spread some tomato sauce over the crust.

3. Scatter the mushrooms and red onions, then place the asparagus on top.  Add some cheese and it’s ready to go into the oven – just don’t add too many toppings or you’ll have a soggy pizza.

4. Bake for 6-7 minutes – the cheese should be bubbling, and the crust should be crisp and golden.

Enjoy!

pizza- trust in kim

Brick Oven Pizza – Olive and Chorizo

brick oven pizza - trust in kim  brick oven - trust in kim

This beautiful pizza was baked in the brick oven that my Opa built decades ago at the family cabin that he loved so much.  It’s not a fancy place, and this oven is small, but it holds a lot of memories.  I spent many summers playing hide-and-seek in the woods and cards inside in the evening, fishing, and eating what we caught alongside Oma’s amazing bread. We never made pizza in the brick oven; that’s a tradition I started a few years ago when I visited the cabin with friends.  My grandparents are gone now, and my summer friends and I are all grown up and most of them have stopped going to the lake.  As far as I know nobody else uses the old brick oven, but baking in it makes me think about my grandparents and all the good times we spent in this place.

This is the best pizza I’ve ever made.  The crust takes a bit of planning ahead, but the sauce and toppings are easy. I found the recipe for the crust and sauce in A16 Food and Wine by Nate Appleman and Shelley Lindgren.

This recipe makes enough for about 4 medium-sized pizzas with a thin crust.  I made a variety of toppings for mine.

What you need for the crust:

1/4 teaspoon yeast

1 & 1/2 cups warm water

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 teaspoons salt

4 cups “oo” flour or all-purpose (I used all-purpose)

What you need for the tomato sauce and toppings:

one 28-ounce can of tomatoes (San Marzano if you can find them)

1-2 teaspoons salt

1 link of cured chorizo sausage

small black olives

1/2 teaspoon anise seeds, bashed up a little with a mortar and pestle

about 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese

What you do:

1. Begin preparing the dough a day before you want to make the pizza. You can do this by hand, but it’s just a bit more work. Pour the water into a mixer with a dough hook and then sprinkle the yeast on top.  Leave it for about 10 minutes and it should become foamy – if it doesn’t your water was the wrong temperature, or the yeast is dead.  Stir in the olive oil and salt.  Add the flour and mix on low for 2 minutes.  Knead on medium-low for about 10 minutes – it will pull away from the bowl and begin to look smoother.  Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let it rest for 5 minutes. Knead once more on medium-low for 10 minutes – it will be smooth and quite soft.  If it seems much too sticky you can add a little more flour.  Coat a bowl with a little olive oil and then coat both sides of the dough with olive oil, placing the dough in the bowl.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge over night.

2. In the morning remove the  dough from the fridge and punch it down.  Fold the sides of the dough under and put it back in the bowl.  Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let it sit in a warm (not hot) place until about 2 hours before you need it.

3. Punch the dough down and divide it into 4 pieces.  Form them into balls and cover them with a damp towel for about 2 hours.  By this time the dough should have doubled in volume.  If it starts to get a skin on it you can spray it with a little water.

4. To prepare the sauce, just put the tomatoes and juice into a bowl and squish them into little bits with your hands.  Add the salt.

5. Cut the chorizo into thin slices and fry them briefly.  I like to do this to get a bit of the fat out, but it isn’t a necessary step.  Put the cut chorizo onto a paper towel to soak up excess fat.

6. Preheat the oven to 500-550 F.

7. To form the crusts, shape the dough into a disk with your hands.  Push down in the centre with your palm and pull the dough out gently with your other hand, rotating slightly until you have a crust that is about 10-12 inches/25-30 cm in diameter with a slightly raised edge. (I cheated a little in the beginning and used a rolling-pin.) Dust your baking pan generously and place the crust on it.  I don’t have a proper pizza stone or pan, but the cookie sheet I used worked just fine.

8. Spread some tomato sauce onto the crust, then sprinkle with the anise seeds. Add some chorizo and olives, then toss on a little cheese.  Avoid over-topping your pizza, as it will end up soggy.

9. Bake for 6-7 minutes, until the crust is crisp and golden, and the top is bubbling. I made and baked the pizzas one at a time because the brick oven only fits one pan.  This was a great way to do it, as it allowed us to sample each pizza as it came out of the oven, then tend to the next one.

Wait just a minute before eating so you don’t burn your mouth, then dig in!

brick oven pizza - trust in kimMahood Lake - trust in kim