Bill Granger recipes: Celebrate the Easter break with a homemade pizza party
Pre-prepare the dough, then let the kids (and adults!) loose to personalise their pizzas exactly as they like – what a great way to start the school break...
Sunday 06 April 2014
We've just opened a restaurant in Honolulu and for the first time we'll be serving pizza, which has us all very excited. For the restaurant, as at home, I like making pizza that's not classically Italian. Let's face it, there are many people who are better qualified for that task. So when coming up with my own versions, I like to think about it as a crisp flatbread with wonderful toppings. Suddenly a world of opportunities opens up and I can just let my imagination roam free. I do, however, try to stay true to traditional Italian ingredient pairings, as it seems arrogant and foolhardy not to. So no ham and pineapple in my house!
Experience has taught me that adults love a pizza party as much as their offspring. You can get the dough done before everyone arrives then let them get their hands dirty customising their pizza the way they like it. These are my current favourite toppings. Keep it casual, sharing the pizzas as they come out of the oven, so that everyone gets their fair share.
Bill's restaurant, Granger & Co, is at 175 Westbourne Grove, London W11, tel: 020 7229 9111, grangerandco.com
Basic pizza dough
You'll need this basic dough for each of the recipes below. Recently I've started using spelt in the dough to give the base a delicious rustic quality.
Makes 4 pizzas/8 mini pizzas
275ml tepid water
7g dried instant yeast
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing and brushing
1 tbsp honey
225g plain flour
150g spelt flour
1 tsp sea salt
Pour the water into a small bowl, sprinkle in the yeast, add the olive oil and honey and whisk with a fork until dissolved. Set aside.
Mix the flours and salt together in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture. Bring together to form a soft dough, then turn out on to a dusted work surface and knead well for 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a lightly greased large bowl and brush the top with a little olive oil. Cover with oiled cling film and leave the dough to rise in a warm place for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
Spinach, spicy sausage and egg pizza
Makes 1 large pizza/serves 4
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Large pinch chilli flakes
300g baby spinach
1 basic pizza dough
2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
5 tbsp crème fraîche
3 coarsely ground Italian sausages, squeezed out of their skins
To make the topping, heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the garlic and a few chilli flakes. Sizzle for a few seconds until fragrant. Add the spinach, toss until wilted and remove from the heat. Season with salt.
Preheat the oven to 250C/ 500F/Gas10. Line a 20cm x 30cm baking tray with baking parchment. Punch any air out of the dough. Transfer to the tray and flatten with your palm, stretching the dough to fill the tray. Stir the Parmesan into the crème fraîche and spread over the pizza base. Top with the spinach and chunks of sausage. Drizzle generously with olive oil and bake for 10 minutes. Crack the eggs over the pizza and scatter with chilli flakes. Bake for another 8 to 10 minutes, until cooked through.
Aubergine, prosciutto and goat's cheese pizza
This takes me back to a family holiday we had in Puglia a couple of years ago. To speed things up, you could use bought grilled aubergines, then marinate them in the spicy dressing.
Aubergine, prosciutto and goat's cheese pizza (Laura Edwards)
Makes 4 pizzas/serves 4
For the aubergines
1 large aubergine, thinly sliced lengthways
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
Handful mint leaves, torn
1 tbsp capers
½ tsp dried chilli flakes
Plain flour, for dusting
1 basic pizza dough
8 tbsp passata
12 slices prosciutto
100g soft goat's cheese
Brush the aubergine slices lightly with oil and grill on a high heat till charred and tender. Toss into a bowl with the mint, capers and chilli. Season with sea salt and drizzle generously with oil.
Preheat the oven to 250C/ 500F/Gas10 and dust four 30cm pizza trays or two large oven trays with flour. Dust the work surface lightly with flour. Turn out the dough and knead for 1 minute to knock back, then divide into 4 pieces. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to rest for 15 minutes.
For each pizza, flatten out one piece of dough into a rough circle with the palm of your hand. Gently roll out to a 30cm circle and transfer to one of the trays. Spread 2 tbsp of passata on to the pizza base with the back of a spoon and top with a quarter of each topping – prosciutto, goat's cheese and aubergine slices. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the base is coloured and crisp. Spoon over the aubergine marinade, scatter over the rocket and serve.
Pizza bianca with mozzarella, anchovies and rocket
I love pizzas with raw, fresh, zingy toppings – they feel lighter and healthier somehow.
Pizza bianca with mozzarella, anchovies and rocket (Laura Edwards)
Makes 8 mini pizzas/serves 4
1 red onion, thinly sliced with a mandolin
Plain flour, for dusting
1 basic pizza dough
Olive oil, to drizzle
2 x 125g buffalo mozzarella
16 anchovy fillets in olive oil, drained and torn
1 red chilli, sliced into rounds
1 tsp fennel seeds, toasted
Handful rocket leaves
Zest 1 lemon
Soak the onions in a bowl of cold water and set aside. Preheat the oven to 250C/ 500F/Gas10 and line two large oven trays with parchment paper. Dust the work surface lightly with flour. Turn out the pizza dough and knead for 1 minute to knock back, then divide into 8 pieces. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to rest for 15 minutes.
Flatten the pieces of dough into thin ovals with the palm of your hand. Transfer to the trays. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden and crisp.
Drain the onions and dry with paper. Top each pizza with a quarter each of the mozzarella, anchovy, onions, chilli, fennel seeds, rocket and lemon. Serve.
Food preparation: Marina Filippelli; Props merchandising: Rachel Jukes
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