Sunday, 28 October 2012

A Quick Fixxah

As you might recall — Nah, I'm kidding, I don't expect you to remember a post I made almost two years ago — I bound my own book some time ago. I called it Petite Cuisine D'amour, showed you some pictures of how it was made and then never mentioned it again. Yeah, that one.

Well, I'm sure you have been dying to know whatever happened to that book. No? Not even a tiny little itty bit? Oh well, then you're probably not going to enjoy the part where I tell you what happened to that book. And share some of its secrets. And when I say secret I mean that you should replace the word "Fixxah" in the title with "Pizza" and well.. I probably ruined the surprise now.

Back when I made the book I already had a plan of what to use it for. Obviously the biggest reason I bound it — despite how badly I think it became — was because I wanted to know the process behind bookbinding — I was working at a Printing House at the time — as I have a habit of "over-thinking" things. Anyway. The plan back then was to bind my own book so that I could write/rewrite my own food recipes — Because obviously following recipes is boring — and I am happy to say that this is exactly what I did and still do. But I also do all of my culinary endeavours measuring by mass rather than volume so I had to recalculate this recipe to more common measurements. What I'm saying is that if you use cups or decilitres, it might be a be a bit inaccurate. You should get yourself a kitchen scale anyway. I'm not going to go into the discussion of whether it's better — it is — but at least its more accurate and consistent, two things I like in my culinary endeavours.

Here's a family favourite from my recipe book. Original recipe handed down from Tomas of Printing House fame.

Quick Pizza (quick because it has baking powder instead of yeast, so no rise time required)

Note: My recipe actually only reads "Mix dry into wet. Roll out dough on paper, toppings then oven." But I've expanded the instructions to something that should be a bit more comprehensible.

Dough (5-3 ratio)
250 grams flour — 5 dl — 2 cups
if you want it healthier, go ⅓ whole wheat.
50-75 grams olive oil — 50 ml — ¼ cup
or really any kind of fat in liquid form, melted butter, sunflower oil… lard (shudders)
150 grams water — 1 ½ dl — ⅔ cup
water makes a "lighter and healthier" pizza, any liquid works though, such as milk.. or sour cream I suppose.
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
a small pinch of salt

Pour liquid and fat into bowl. Pour flour on top on that shit. Add all the small stuff (baking powder, sugar and salt). Mix that shit together quickly and unevenly. Here's the basic rule. The more you mix your gluten (flour) the more bread-like your pizza base will be. If you — like me — want it more crumbly and "puffy" then you mix it as little as possible. And because no one really explained this to me when I started; As little as possible means, mix into until you feel like the flour isn't quite mixed in thoroughly, and it's usually excellent. Uneven and sloppy dough is what you're going for. Okay? We're good? Set your oven to 225 °C — 437 °F and put baking paper on a counter. Flour that fucking paper and put your sloppy dough on it. Put some more flour on the dough and take a rolling pin and spread it out to something resembling a circle. Done.

Tomato sauce
Passata, Pureé or any tomato based thingy that tickles your fancy. I used to use Pureé but lately I been using Passata instead because I feel the flavour blends better and isn't quite as overpowering as Pureé has a tendency to be. Either way, here's how I usually mix up the sauce, feel free to change it to your heart's content.
Appropriate amount of Passata (I've never actually measured it, just put whatever your comfortable with then add more when you notice that it isn't enough)
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp basil
1tsp thyme
1tsp oregano
½ tsp sea salt, feel free to fiddle with the rest of the spices, but the salt is pretty important because it balances the whole thing. Which also means, you might need to increase or decrease this dependent on your choice of toppings. I just really, really love sea salt but I'm sure you can use regular salt — you can't and you shouldn't — with equally good results.

200 grams-ish grated cheese that goes before your toppings.
+ things you like on pizza, we put a can of tuna, some sliced ham and a couple of chopped of Agaricus bisporus, we usually have Chestnut version of the same genus but they were all out last time we went shopping. But again, you put whatever you like.

Transfer paper from counter to oven tray. Stick the pizza in your — hopefully by now — pre-heated oven and bake for 10-20 minutes. Ours usually gets to be in for about 12 minutes but basically when the edges start getting a nice golden-ish colour you can trust that it's done. Take it out, let it cool a bit, as it can be quite crumbly — assuming you don't like your pizza to be bread-like — before you start slicing it up. Enjoy.