Archive for October, 2008

Beef Salami and Pineapple Pizza

Reading this month challenge was like reading a law related  contract for me, because the first time I red it, it was too quick and I tought to my self… what so special about making pizza dough (I mean I looove pizza, who doesn’t? but pizza challenge??) then I red it thoroughly words by words  and BAM!!! It says you have to try to TOSS your dough?  My mind played rewind of this episode of Martha Stewart invites all the American national pizza tossing champions (people were tossing dough with acrobatic movements)… and because of that I almost caved in, but I didn’t… I didn’t succeed either in my first time tossing pizza, but at least I tried.

The pizza was anyway delicious and crunchy, just the way I like it, thin crust with tomato garlic paste, beef salami, pineapple and mozzarella toppings.

Thank’s to Rosa for another learning experience 🙂

~ BASIC PIZZA DOUGH ~
Original recipe taken from “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart.

Makes 6 pizza crusts (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter).

Ingredients:
4 1/2 Cups (20 1/4 ounces/607.5 g) Unbleached high-gluten (%14) bread flour or all purpose flour, chilled –
1/4 Cup (2 ounces/60g) Olive oil or vegetable oil (both optional, but it’s better with)
1 3/4 Cups (14 ounces/420g or 420ml) Water, ice cold (40° F/4.5° C)
1 Tb sugar –
Semolina/durum flour or cornmeal for dusting

DAY ONE

Method:
1. Mix together the flour, salt and instant yeast in a big bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer).

2. Add the oil, sugar and cold water and mix well (with the help of a large wooden spoon or with the paddle attachment, on low speed) in order to form a sticky ball of dough. On a clean surface, knead for about 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are homogeneously distributed. If it is too wet, add a little flour (not too much, though) and if it is too dry add 1 or 2 teaspoons extra water.

NOTE: If you are using an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for the same amount of time.The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet, sprinkle in a little more flour, so that it clears the sides. If, on the contrary, it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a teaspoon or two of cold water.
The finished dough should be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky, and register 50°-55° F/10°-13° C.

3. Flour a work surface or counter.  Line a jelly pan with baking paper/parchment. Lightly oil the paper.

4. With the help of a metal or plastic dough scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (or larger if you want to make larger pizzas).

NOTE: To avoid the dough from sticking to the scraper, dip the scraper into water between cuts.

5. Sprinkle some flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them.  Gently round each piece into a ball.

NOTE: If the dough sticks to your hands, then dip your hands into the flour again.

6. Transfer the dough balls to the lined jelly pan and mist them generously with spray oil. Slip the pan into plastic bag or enclose in plastic food wrap.

7. Put the pan into the refrigerator and let the dough rest overnight or for up to thee days.

NOTE: You can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag if you want to save some of the dough for any future baking. In that case, pour some oil(a few tablespooons only) in a medium bowl and dip each dough ball into the oil, so that it is completely covered in oil. Then put each ball into a separate bag. Store the bags in the freezer for no longer than 3 months. The day before you plan to make pizza, remember to transfer the dough balls from the freezer to the refrigerator.

DAY TWO

8. On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator. Dust the counter with flour and spray lightly with oil. Place the dough balls on a floured surface and sprinkle them with flour. Dust your hands with flour and delicately press the dough into disks about 1/2 inch/1.3 cm thick and 5 inches/12.7 cm in diameter. Sprinkle with flour and mist with oil. Loosely cover the dough rounds with plastic wrap and then allow to rest for 2 hours.

9. At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone on the lower third of the oven.  Preheat the oven as hot as possible (500° F/260° C).

NOTE: If you do not have a baking stone, then use the back of a jelly pan. Do not preheat the pan.

10. Generously sprinkle the back of a jelly pan with semolina/durum flour or cornmeal. Flour your hands (palms, backs and knuckles). Take 1 piece of dough by lifting it with a pastry scraper. Lay the dough across your fists in a very delicate way and carefully stretch it by bouncing it in a circular motion on your hands, and by giving it a little stretch with each bounce. Once the dough has expanded outward, move to a full toss.

NOTE: Make only one pizza at a time.
During the tossing process, if the dough tends to stick to your hands, lay it down on the floured counter and reflour your hands, then continue the tossing and shaping.
In case you would be having trouble tossing the dough or if the dough never wants to expand and always springs back, let it rest for approximately 5-20 minutes in order for the gluten to relax fully,then try again.
You can also resort to using a rolling pin, although it isn’t as effective as the toss method.

11. When the dough has the shape you want (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter – for a 6 ounces/180g piece of dough), place it on the back of the jelly pan, making sure there is enough semolina/durum flour or cornmeal to allow it to slide and not stick to the pan.

12. Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice.

bake for about 5-8 minutes.

NOTE: Remember that the best pizzas are topped not too generously. No more than 3 or 4 toppings (including sauce and cheese) are sufficient.

13. Slide the garnished pizza onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for abour 5-8 minutes.

14. Take the pizza out of the oven and transfer it to a cutting board or your plate. In order to allow the

cheese to set a little, wait 3-5 minutes before slicing or serving.

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Hummingbird Cake

First of all I want to say sorry for my blogger friends, that I’ve been away for a while, but now I’m back 🙂

I have some leftover pineapple and was looking for a cake recipe, when I stumble upon this super moist with excellent flavors recipe. I don’t know why the creator calls it hummingbird cake, but maybe because its light and full of beautiful colours (flavors).

I made half of the recipe, but 2/3 of banana, 2/3 pineapple, 1 tsp of cinnamon (looove the spice) and only 1 tbsp the syrup of pineapple.

This is also my entry for SHF : Time to spice up your life host by talented Anita of dessert first

Banana Knaafe

Knaafe is another traditional mid-eastern sweet, which is widely sold here, where ever you look. When Scott informed me with this event, making knaafe comes to my mind, the only thing challenging is that I have to add fruit, so to make the little twist on the original recipe, I used banana. Baked banana, pistachio, melted cheese and heavy syrup…. mmm… heavenly isn’t it?

Ingredients

  • Glucose syrup
  • 150 gr of shredded Fillo dough
  • 3 medium bananas
  • 1 stick of butter 
  • 250 gr Haloumi/ Ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup pistachios 
  • 1/2 cup powder sugar
  • 1 tsp orange  food colouring
  • 1 tsp  orange blossom water

Directions

  1. Melt butter in sauce pan in a low heat,  while melting add the shredded fillo dough gradually, when the dough absorb all the butter, remove from the heat and  divide the dough into two equal portions.
  2. Heat the oven, 200′ C
  3. Mix cheese , powder sugar, and orange blossom water in a blender.
  4. Arrange the banana on the pan, cover with the  1/2 prepared dough, lay the cheese patties on top of it.
  5. Mix the orange food colouring with the rest of the dough, and cover the cheese patties layer.
  6. Baked for 20 mins with bottom fire and another 20 mins with upper fire.
  7. Garnish with pistachio and pour the heavy syrup just before serving, best eaten while still warm.