Pizza Perfection - ©

Just Another Day Here In Canada…

It’s Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. But, for the rest of the world, it’s just Thursday, Sure, we celebrate Thanksgiving here in Canada, but we do it on the second Monday in October. So, tonight, here at Chez Maggie, we’ll be having something less festive than a Turkey Feast…

Pizza My Way - © murrays.pizzaThis Pie from Murray’s in Penticton, BC, looks just like mine. Mangia!

It’s time to make Pizza again! I’ll be making it myself, entirely from scratch, and I know it will be welcomed by my little family. Even my 93-year-old mother looks forward to it, and she’s turned into a picky eater in her platinum years…

It takes a couple of hours, total, but it’s worth it. I’ll start mixing up the Crust about 3:00 p.m. and the Pie will be ready to serve by 5:00, when Mom like to dine!

Start with the crust…

First get a small saucepan of my Universal Pizza Sauce going. It wants toi simmer down and reduce before you spread it on the crust…

I have a simple, quick recipe for everyday Italian crusts. You can use it for Calzones, Strombolis and other Flatbread dishes. I’ve rolled it out to make more-than-passable Greek Pitas!

For the Crust:
3 cups / 750 ml Bread Flour
1 tbsp. / 15 ml Sugar
1 tsp. / 5 ml Salt
4 tbsp. / 45 ml Olive Oil

For the Yeast Bloom:
2 tbsp. / 30 ml Active Dry Yeast
1 tbsp. / 15 ml Sugar
1 cup / 250 ml Warm Tap Water

1.2 cup / 175 ml additional Warm Tap Water

Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk for a moment to incorporate some air into the mixture. I call this ‘the poor man’s sift’.

Place the Yeast and its Sugar allotment into a Pyrex measuring cup and fill to the 1 cup mark with very Warm Tap Water. Stir briskly with a fork to dissolve the Yeast and Sugar. Set aside in a warm place to bloom.

When the Yeast is foamy on top, pour it over the dry ingredients and stir all together with with the handle end of a wooden spoon until all the liquid is absorbed by the flour mixture. If the dough is too dry, add additional; Warm Water in two- or three-tbsp. increments until right. If too sticky, add flour a few tbsp. at a time until you’ve got a nice, velvety ball.

Knead the dough in the bowl a couple of dozen times – more it you’re into it! – to get the Gluten going for a nice rise.

Rub the dough ball with Olive Oil and cover with a damp dish towel. Set in a warm place to rise. I turn the oven on to pre-heat at this juncture and just put the dough bowl on top.

It sounds complicated, but it’s really easy and takes less than 10 minutes…

While the Dough is rising…

First, I’ll get a small sauce pan going with about a cup of my Universal Pizza Sauce. Tonight, I’ll add a couple of slices of Pepperoni I have left over from Sub Sandwiches earlier in the week, diced fine and simmered in to share its flavour.

Then, I’ll prep the toppings. Here’s what I have in the house for tonight’s Pie:

6 slices of Bacon, which I will crisp up in that pre-heating oven
1/2 cup / 175 ml Onions, diced
1/2 cup / 175 ml Mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup / 175 ml Green Sweet Pepper, diced
1/2 cup / 175 ml Pimento, slivered
1/2 cup / 175 ml Olives, sliced
1 1/2 cups / 750 ml Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
Four slices Fresh Beefsteak Tomato
1/2 cup / 150 ml Parmesan or Romano Cheese, grated

Put it all together…

As soon as the the dough ball has doubled in size, press it out with your fingers into a crust on a Pizza pan lined with parchment paper. I always try to have a little dough left to form a small rim on the outside. This will keep your Sauce from dripping in the oven if it runs. Be sure to Oil the rim for a nice, brown, crispy edge bite!

I brush the crust all over with a couple of tablespoons of Olive Oil to ensure that it doesn’t get soggy from the Sauce or Toppings.

Then, I spread the sauce over the bottom, excluding the rim.

Next comes a light layer of Mozz, followed by the bacon, which I’ve drained well and crumbled medium-size. Then, another light layer of Mozz. Now, I sprinkle on the Veggies, except for the Mushrooms. Another light layer of Mozz follows, and over this I’ll arrange the slices of Tomato. Finally, I top with the last of the Mozz and half of the Parmesan/Romano.

Bake in the preheated oven at 375 F for 45 minutes or until the cheese on top; is bubbling and starts to brown. Check the bottom of the crust to make sure it’s nice and golden.

…And serve!

Remove the Pie from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before cutting. You’ll get a neater, tidier slice this way.

That’s my everyday, weekday, whatever day Pizza from scratch. Once you’ve made it a couple of times, you’ll make it again and again, even on short notice!

~ Maggie J.