White Pizza from the New York Times

Winter Squash, Onion and Pine Nut Pizza (from the NY Times)

This flavorful autumnal pie uses winter squash purée as the pizza topping; the purée is spread like a sauce on the crust. You can find puréed winter squash (sometimes labeled as “puréed acorn squash” or “puréed butternut squash”) in the freezer section of most markets — thaw according to the package instructions before using.

  • Yellow cornmeal to dust the pizza stone (or nonstick spray to grease the baking sheet)
  • 1 pound fresh dough (from a pizza shop) or a frozen dough, thawed; or prebaked pizza crust – Or even better, try making your own dough!
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, halved through the stem, then thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup frozen winter squash purée, thawed
  • 2 teaspoons minced sage leaves or 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated or ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano or pecorino, finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts

1. Preheat pizza stone or oven. If using a pizza stone, preheat it in the oven at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 45 minutes; if using a pizza tray or a large baking sheet, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

2. Prepare the crust. If you’re using fresh dough on a pizza stone, dust a pizza peel lightly with cornmeal. Add the dough and form it into a large circle by dimpling it with your fingertips. Pick it up and shape it by slowly turning it by its edge, stretching that edge all the while, until the circle is about 14 inches in diameter. Set it cornmeal side down on the peel.

To use fresh dough on a pizza tray or a large baking sheet, grease the tray or baking sheet lightly with nonstick spray. Lay the dough on the baking sheet and dimple it with your fingertips — then pull and press it until it forms a circle about 14 inches in diameter on the pizza tray or a 12-by-7-inch, somewhat irregular rectangle on the baking sheet. If you’re using a prebaked crust, place it on a cornmeal-dusted pizza peel or on a greased pizza tray or a large baking sheet.

3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, then swirl in the oil. Add the onion slices, reduce the heat to very low, and cook, stirring often, until soft, golden and very sweet, 20 to 25 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, stir the squash purée, sage, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl until uniform. Spread this mixture evenly over the prepared crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border at its edge.

5. Top with the caramelized onions, then sprinkle the finely grated cheese and pine nuts over the pie. Slide the pizza from the peel to the very hot stone, or place the pie on its tray or baking sheet with the pie either in the oven or on the section of the grill grate that’s not right over the heat source.

6. Bake or grill with the lid closed until the crust is golden and somewhat firm to the touch, perhaps even a little darkened on its bottom, 16 to 18 minutes. Check fresh dough occasionally to prick any air bubbles that may arise so you’ll have an even crust on the pie. Slip the peel back under the pie to get it off the stone, or set the pie on its tray or baking sheet with its pie on a wire rack. Cool for 5 minutes before slicing. If you want to make sure the crust stays crunchy, consider transferring the pie directly to the wire rack after a minute or so.

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Fixed!

Ok, I think I’ve actually, finally, probably, (maybe) fixed this damn thing which apparently broke about a week ago when I migrated from wordpress.com. Looks like most of the usual traffic had been blocked from finding me here for the better part of last week, but I think we’re up and running now! Here’s hoping. And here is a quick and easy video on white pizza.  And sure, Claire looks like she’d rather eat you than any sort of silly pizza, and sure she “LOVVES” store bought pizza dough, and… well, I guess suffice it to say I needed a video to test and make sure that the video embedding was all nice and happy. So do like I do, and watch this one with the sound off… and a hand held up in front of your faec so you can’t see her overly emotive face…. Oh what the hell, here it is – enjoy!

Breakfast Pizza and Test Dough

Tonight I was testing a new dough formula (think secret ingredients) and came up with a few simple combinations, and photos, that I hope get your mouth watering and your brain looking around this here blog for a good dough recipe to try out in your own kitchen. One was a simple pie with fresh tomato, provolone, and parmesan. The other was a breakfast pie with my breakfast potatoes from this morning, two raw eggs, ricotta, parmesan, and white truffle oil. There were both fabulous, and we all agreed that the secret ingredient was promising to boot! Here’s to inspiration!

-Ryan

A New Home – InSearchOfThePerfectPie.com

Hi Ya’ll,

I’ve moved the blog’s hosting to my own server at RyanSanders.org, so now I’ll have more freedom to install plugins, customize the site site’s functionality, and generally post and host more stuff. I’m hoping that I’ve done it in a way that you won’t notice a difference, but if something doesn’t look right or seems to be acting funny, drop me a note and let me know.

Here’s hoping it goes smoothly..

Thanks!

-Ryan

Published in: on October 19, 2010 at 2:27 pm  Leave a Comment  
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A Recent Thin Cracker Crust Success

Published in: on August 31, 2010 at 7:46 pm  Comments (2)  
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New Pizza Flours from Central Milling

Hello. Have I extolled the virtues of contacting and subsequently ordering fabulous flour from Nick over at Central Milling lately? Well let me tell you, I just received four bags of his latest and greatest “00” flour – two bags reinforced, two bags normal – and can’t wait to get started putting it through the pizza paces. I’ll let you know as soon as I’ve completed a few test pies, until then, how about to email him and order some of your own?

Talk soon,
Ryan

Oven Dried Tomatoes – Your New Favorite

There was a great, quick little article about oven drying tomatoes in Food & Wine magazine recently, so I decided to go ahead and give it a try. The product is an awesome dried tomato that is much less tough and ‘raisiny’ than sundried tomatoes – and they make GREAT pizza toppings! They are soft and easy to bite through while remaining sweet and carmelized tasting. The best of both worlds! Try this recipe out today and you’ll agree, oven dried tomatoes are your new favorite 🙂

Update: The tomatoes made a guest appearance in a recent video.

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 pounds firm but ripe plum tomatoes, cored and halved lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for packing
  • 2 heads of garlic, cloves separated but not peeled
  • 12 large thyme sprigs
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 325° and position 2 racks just above and just below the middle of the oven. Working over a medium bowl, pry the seeds and pulp out of the tomatoes and discard. Pour 1/4 cup of the olive oil onto each of 2 very sturdy, rimmed, light-colored baking sheets. Arrange the tomatoes cut side down on the baking sheets and scatter the garlic and thyme all around. Make a tiny slit on each tomato.
  2. Bake the tomatoes for about 45 minutes, until the skins begin to wrinkle. Shift the pans from top to bottom halfway through. Carefully pinch off the skins. Flip each tomato and bake until the surface looks dry, about 1 hour. Flip the tomatoes again and continue baking until the surfaces look dry but the tomatoes are still slightly plump, about 2 hours longer. Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper and let cool completely.
  3. Discard the thyme sprigs and peel the garlic cloves. Layer the tomatoes with the garlic in five 1/2-pint jars. Add enough olive oil to cover the tomatoes by at least 1 inch. Slide the blade of a knife along the side of each jar to release any air bubbles. Seal the jars and refrigerate for up to 2 months or freeze for up to 6 months.

My Latest Variation on a Thin Crust Dough Recipe – Bacon Grease Anyone?

Hi Ya’ll,

Just wanted to share with you my latest variation on my dough along with a new little video I shot for you the other day. Things to note in this new variation: Vital Gluten, malted syrup, bacon grease, and a rolling pin! Enjoy.

Recipe

  • 22.5 oz of flour
    • First put in 2oz of vital gluten
    • Then 20.5oz of all purpose flour
  • 1T malted syrup
  • 2tsp salt
  • 1tsp Instarise yeast
  • 2T bacon grease
  • 1.75c + 1T warm water (’bout 100 degrees)

Toss all the ingredients into your stand mixer and mix on slow ’til everything comes together – should be about 2-3 minutes. Once it looks like a chunky, cohesive mass, turn the mixer off and let the dough sit for 10-20 minutes with a nice clean shower cap over the top of the mixer bowl – many people like to put a towel over the top of the bowl, but many other people claim that the towel absorbs the moisture in the air, which isn’t great for the dough, so I like the shower cap. Reusable as well 🙂 Once at least ten minutes is up, start mixing again on slow for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the mixer off and rest for another 10-20 (remember that shower cap). Finally, pull the dough out and form 4 10oz balls and place into air tight containers (this could be tupperware, plastic bags, etc). Put the containers in the fridge and let them hang out for two to three days. After at least 48 hours, pull the dough out two hours before you plan to bake the pies. One hour before you want to eat, put your stone in the oven, crank it up as hot it will go, and let it pre-heat for the last hour. Lastly, pull your dough out onto a lightly dusted counter, flatten your ball out with your knuckles – try pushing the bubbles that have formed out to the outer rim of the dough. I’ve been playing with a rolling pin recently and liking it a lot, so grab a floured rolling pin and do some rolling out til you get a nice flat disc going. Lastly, pick it up and slap it back and forth to dust off the excess flour, toss it a few times to get that final thin stretch, then plop it on a peel, top it, and slide it in the oven. If your oven gets nice and hot, you won’t need to cook it more than five minutes or so. Enjoy!

Alton Brown’s Latest Wood Fired Pizza Recipe

Alton Brown of the Food Network recently released another episode in which he covers recipe and techniques for making flat, crisp, BBQ’d pizzas. I have to admit, I’ve always loved Good Eats, but for some reason, never really liked his pizza dough recipes. From my point of view, the best dough comes from two to four days of prep time, and I don’t think his half-hour show has the ability to showcase the BEST techniques, so this might explain my WANT to love his pizza dough, and my subsequent let down. I was sad to discover that this recipe, as like the last try, was not a contender to recipes from Tony Gemignani and Peter Reinhart.

Now again, I love that good ol’ Alton, and his show is always chock full of useful knowledge, regardless of whether you like the recipe or not so I still full-heartedly recommend watching the episode (below) and picking up a little pizza science. Also, he did suggest one novel ingredient (novel to me anyways): Malted Barley Syrup. Really enjoying the results from the Syrup so far 🙂

Enjoy!
-Ryan

Ingredients

Dough – Enough for 3 (16-inch) round pizzas:

  • 16 ounces all-purpose flour, plus extra for peel and rolling
  • 1 envelope instant or rapid rise yeast
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 10 ounces warm water, approximately 105 degrees F
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons for bowl
  • 1 tablespoon malted barley syrup

Margherita topping – Enough to top 1 (16-inch) round pizza:

  • 1 large tomato, cut into 1/3-inch thick slices
  • 5 to 7 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2-ounce grated Parmesan
  • 1 1/2 ounces part skim mozzarella, shredded
  • 4 to 6 large basil leaves, shredded

Date and prosciutto topping – Enough to top 1 (16-inch) round pizza:

  • 3 1/2 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
  • 3 to 6 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2-ounce grated Parmesan
  • 1-ounce prosciutto ham, approximately 3 slices, coarsely chopped
  • 4 whole dates, pitted and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

Pizza cracker:

  • 2 to 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Special equipment:

  • Vise-Grips

Directions

Dough:

Combine the flour and yeast in the work bowl of a stand mixer. Add the salt, water, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and malted barley syrup. Start the mixer on low, using the hook attachment, and mix until the dough just comes together, approximately 1 1/2 minutes. Increase the mixer speed to medium and knead for 15 minutes.

Tear off a small piece of dough and flatten into a disk. Gently stretch the dough until thin. Hold it up to the light and look to see if the bakers windowpane, or a see-through, taut membrane has formed. The dough will be quite sticky, but manageable. Fold the dough onto itself and form it into a smooth ball. Oil the bowl of the stand mixer or other large canister with 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Put the dough in the bowl and roll it around to coat with the oil. Cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap and leave at room temperature to double in size, approximately 1 hour.

Split the dough into 3 equal parts using a knife or dough scraper. Flatten each piece into a disk on the countertop. Form each piece into a ball. Roll each ball on the counter until they tighten into rounds. Cover the balls with a tea towel and rest for 45 minutes.

To shape and cook the margherita pizza:

Heat a gas grill to high and make sure the grill grates are clean and free of debris.

Toss the tomato with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the garlic, salt and red pepper flakes in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.

Lightly flour the countertop and flatten 1 of the dough balls. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a 16-inch round, rotating and stretching the dough as you go. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured pizza peel and stretch to re-shape if necessary.

Oil the grill grates and decrease the heat to medium. Brush the dough with 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil and flip onto 1 end of the hot grill, leaving room for the tomatoes on the grate. Put the prepared tomatoes on the grill, close the lid and cook until the bottom of the crust is golden brown and the tomatoes are softened, about 1 to 2 minutes. Brush the raw side of the dough with 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil, then immediately flip using the peel. Top with the grilled tomatoes, smashing and spreading the tomatoes to create a sauce. Sprinkle with the Parmesan, mozzarella and basil. Close the lid and cook until the bottom of crust is golden brown and the cheese has melted, another 1 to 2 minutes. Using the peel, remove the pizza to a cooling rack and let rest for 3 minutes before slicing.

To shape and cook the date and Prosciutto pizza:

Heat a gas grill to high and make sure the grill grates are clean and free of debris.

Layer 2 paper towels on a plate and lay the mozzarella slices in a single layer. Top with 2 more paper towels, a second plate, and a 2 pound weight. Set aside at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, lightly flour the countertop and flatten 1 of the dough balls. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a 16-inch round, rotating and stretching the dough as you go. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured pizza peel and stretch to re-shape if necessary.

Oil the grill grates and decrease the heat to medium. Brush the dough with 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil and flip onto the hot grill. Close the lid and cook until the bottom of crust is golden brown, for 1 to 2 minutes. Brush the raw side of the dough with 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil, then immediately flip using the peel, brush with remaining 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil, and top with the Parmesan, prepared mozzarella, prosciutto, dates and thyme. Close the lid and cook until the bottom of crust is golden brown and the cheese has melted, about 1 to 2 minutes. Using the peel, remove the pizza to a cooling rack and rest for 3 minutes before slicing.

To shape and cook cracker pizza:

Lightly flour the countertop and flatten 1 of the dough balls. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into an 11 by 17-inch rectangle to fit a standard, stainless steel cooling rack. Lay the dough sheet onto the rack and gently stretch around the edges, pinching to hold in place. Brush the dough with 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Attach the Vise-Grips to 1 end of the cooling rack to use as a handle. Turn a gas burner on high. Hold the rack about 2 inches above the flame, and move back and forth constantly until the bottom is golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Carefully turn the dough over, brush with 1 to 2 teaspoons olive oil and season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Cook, as before, until golden brown, an additional 2 to 3 minutes.

A Great Pizza Read – Recipes from a Pro

Recently I’ve purchased Peter Reinhart’s fabulous pizza book, American Pie, and let me tell you: best – pizza – book – ever! The book details Peter’s travels through Italy, New York, California, Chicago and other locations in search of his most favorite pizza in the whole world. The first half of the book is his tales of pizza travel. The second half of the book, however, is a giant pizza resource center wherein Peter tries to re-create all of the various pizzas he had across the world and shares his recipes and findings with you. This would be cool enough for me to pick up a copy, but then you consider that Peter is a professional baker AND recipe product developer and suddenly his collection of dough, sauce and toppings recipes seem like the Lost Arc of the Pizzanant! I guess what I’m trying to say is that Peter’s book was not only a mouthwatering good read, but also has become my #1 go-to guide for new dough and sauce recipes.

I wanted to share with you a recent recipe I made from his book, as well as some photos of the results. This dough was much different to work with than my dough that I usually make, but I got the hang of it pretty quickly, and the flavors and texture (not to mention the great big bubbles that formed out on the crown of the pizza) were well worth the learning curve. I would highly recommend you go spend $15 and pick up this great resource!

Peter Reinhart’s Neo-Neapolitan Dough

The dough to use for making New-Haven-style pizza and/or pizzas in the style of Lombardi’s, Totonno’s, or Grimaldi’s. Makes a “thin, crisp crust with airy pockets in the crown”. Slightly sticky and may be tricky to work with. Requires high-gluten flour.

Makes 4 10 ounce dough balls ( but I like to make 13.3 ounce balls)

Ingredients

Directions

  1. With a big metal spoon, stir together all the ingredients in a 4-quart bowl or the bowl of an electric stand mixer until combined.
  2. Fit mixer with dough hook; mix on low speed for about 4 minutes, or until all the flour gathers to form a coarse ball.
  3. Let dough rest for 5 minutes, then mix again on med-low speed for 2 more minutes, or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl and sticks just a little to the bottom.
  4. *If the dough is too soft and sticky to hold its shape, mix in more flour by the tablespoonful; if it is too stiff or dry, mix in more water by the tablespoonful.
  5. The dough should pass the windowpane test—snip off a piece of dough and gently tugging and turning it, stretching it out until it forms a paper-thin, translucent membrane somewhere near the center; if dough does not form this membrane, it probably needs another minute or two of mixing).
  6. Immediately divided the dough into 4-equal portions; round each piece into a ball and brush or rub each ball with olive oil.
  7. Place each ball inside its own zip-lock freezer bag; let the balls sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, then put them in the refrigerator overnight or freeze any pieces you will not be using the next day.
  8. The next day, remove the balls from the refrigerator 2 hours before you plan to roll them out to take the chill off.

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