Bread and Ginger is on the road. I am currently in the supposed-to-be-sunny-and-warm oasis that is the east coast of Florida, visiting family and hanging out with very cute children. It is not exactly the tropical environment that would set my heart aflutter, but I am wearing light pants, short sleeve shirts and the occasional pair of flip flops, so the improvement over the weather at home is vast. I’ll take it. I have been trying to get back into the habit of running, I have played some tennis and eaten some sushi. All good things, but I miss my kitchen BAD. I have not cooked a thing but a grilled cheese since I got here. I am feeling a little lost. That’s all about to change though. I will be making the short ribs from the football gathering by request. I will of course take a picture or two, and I will post about them again, and this time, I will include a recipe.
But in the meantime, since I owe you a new post, I am going to talk about pizza. I have mentioned various tarts and pizzas on here several times, so I thought now was the time to really share.
I love savory tarts and pizzas. They are everything from light, easy to eat appetizers to full, filling meals. I have made deep dish roasted vegetable tarts,
and onion-y custard-y tarts,
which I will talk about at some point, no doubt, but today, I want to talk about flatbread like tarts. For instance…
The base for these delights is the Figs pizza dough recipe, courtesy of Mr. Todd English. It is a great crispy all-purpose dough. Recently I have used it for pizza (red sauce, mozzarella, mushrooms, onions and black olives, if you please) a Gorgonzola dolce, red onion, pear and capricola tart, and an asparagus, bacon and fontina cheese tart with sunny side eggs. Whatever the toppings, this gets baked on an pre-heated pizza stone in a 500 degree oven. The bottom gets crispy and brown and the toppings get delicious and all is well in the world.
Figs Pizza Dough (makes 4 9-10″ pizzas – each pizza serves one or two people)
Courtesy of The Figs Table by Todd English
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for rolling
2 tsp (1/4 ounce) fresh yeast
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp olive oil
1 2/3 cups lukewarm water
Place the whole wheat flour, all purpose flour; yeast, salt, and sugar in a mixer fitted with a dough hook. While the mixer is running, gradually add the oil and water. Knead on low speed until the dough is firm and smooth, about 10 minutes.
Divide the dough into four balls, about 7 1/2 ounces each. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Place two balls on a sheet and cover with a damp towel. Let them rise in a warm spot until they have doubled in bulk, about 2 hours. (I have frozen both before and after the rise, either works.) About an hour into the rise time, put a pizza stone on the floor of the oven and pre heat the oven to 500 degrees. If you do not have a pizza stone, get one. They are cheap and you can often find them in the home section of TJ Maxx or Marshalls or Home Goods. If need be, you can turn a cast iron skillet upside down, and use that as your pizza stone. Results are similar.
To roll out the dough: Dab your fingers in flour and then place 1 ball on a generously floured work surface and press down in the center with the tips of your fingers, spreading the dough with your hand. When the dough has doubled in width, use a floured rolling pin and roll out until it is very thin, like flatbread. The outer border should be a little thicker than the inner circle. Pick the dough up with a spatula or the back of a knife, allowing it to fold up almost like an umbrella and transfer it to a paddle. Do not worry that the pizza is not round, you are looking for; an 8- to 10-inch shape, a cross between an oval and a rectangle.
Cover with your favorite toppings, traditional pizza or otherwise.
That one is a personal fave. To make it even better, add morel mushrooms, or if you don’t have those, add a couple of fried eggs after you pull it out of the oven.
I have also added sweet capricola to that combo to great effect. I was not able to capture it on film very well.
So there you go. Be creative. Enjoy, let me know how it goes. I will leave you with a tip. I LOVE LOVE LOVE fresh mozzarella, however, this is a really wet thin dough, and fresh mozz is just too watery for good results, you end up with a soggy mess. I have had much better results with regular whole milk grocery store mozzarella.
I will also leave you with a list of things I am missing terribly…
And now, I am off to Publix to stock up on the required ingredients (or as I like to think of them, pantry staples-I mean really…I need to get SOY SAUCE!) for the braised short ribs redux. I would normally feel silly making such decadent things in tropical climes. But it is 45 degrees down here today, so it is really quite fitting.