Hope you’ve had a lovely weekend.
I spent much of mine just chilling out and shovelling obscene quantities of food into my face. But that’s what weekends are all about, right…?!
Last Saturday, myself and Mr Man woke up really, really early (well, super early for a weekend anyway) and made our way to St Katherine’s Dock for a bread making class, which was a very thoughtful birthday pressie.
I had such high expectations, but, on the whole, the class was very basic. Rather than having individual work benches and ovens, pairs took turns to go up and prepare something in front of the rest of the group. As a result, the class made something like 6/7 different varieties of bread – everything from flatbread to focaccia. We were instructed to use the same basic bread recipe for everything and ultimately all of it was a little samey and, um, crap?
One of the many things we made were pizzas, and I quote the instructor who said they’d “lean towards the deep pan side.” Deep pan is not my pizza style of choice but, I mean, I can totally get down with that, provided they’re done right, you know?
What we actually made was what Mr Man dubbed a “hench pizza.”
(Do people still use the word hench?)
Anyway, to say it was a chore to eat is an understatement.
Like seriously, pizza and chore shouldn’t be in the same sentence. When people whack tomato ketchup on bread and throw on some cheese and have the nerve it refer to it as pizza, it makes me want to cry. Really.
Pizza that’s anything less than joy-inducing shouldn’t be allowed.
I came home and decided I wanted some real pizza, something that would blow the one we had out of the window. My thoughts turned to a pizza I had for lunch with Google, a week or so ago, and so I whipped up this little number:
A garlicky white sauce base, topped with luxurious, creamy burrata, colourful perfectly slow roasted, sweet and juicy cherry tomatoes and a drizzle of herby pesto.
Kinda like a Margherita pizza, only better.
A lot better.
Exchange the standard tomato base for a creamy white sauce. Swap the mozzarella with it’s classier, smoother older sibling. Turn the bog standard tomatoes into delicate little gems, bursting with flavour. And finally, trade the basil leaf for some nutty, herby pesto.
Have you guys tried burrata yet? It’s mozzarella but WITH CREAM.
And there we were thinking that mozz was perfect already… I’ve been buying it at Waitrose (can’t find it anywhere else) for a while now. It’s one of my favourite things, ever. You don’t even need to do anything to it. So low maintenance. Just enjoy it as it is.
- 675g strong white bread flour
- 1 teaspoon yeast
- 1.5 teaspoons salt
- 400ml water
- 50ml olive oil
- Semolina flour for sprinkling
- 1.5 tablespoons butter
- 0.5 tablespoons olive oil
- 3/4 cloves of roasted garlic, minced
- 125ml double cream
- 60ml whole milk
- 50g parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
- Burrata x2
- Slow roasted tomatoes:
- Cherry tomatoes (I used a couple of packets of these, but regular baby / cherry toms will do)
- 1 head of garlic, unpeeled but separated into cloves
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper (couple of pinches of each, don’t over do it, the tomatoes will be packed with flavour)
- You’ll need to make the pizza dough the night before. Add the flour, yeast and salt to a large bowl and mix well to combine. Create a well in the centre.
- Measure the water and olive oil in a jug and pour into the well. Use a spoon to combine before kneading with your hands for around 10mins until nice and smooth. You’re looking for a tacky dough, not too sticky.
- Separate the dough into six balls before placing into an olive oil greased glass tray and spraying generously with more olive oil. Cover with a couple of layers of cling film, ensuring it’s completely airtight before placing the tray in the fridge overnight to rise.
- Around 2 hours before you’re ready to make the pizzas, half your cherry tomatoes, place on a baking tray and season. Spread your whole garlic cloves (without peeling) randomly. The garlic serves two purposes – it’ll infuse the tomatoes but you can also use it in the white sauce later.
- Drizzle generously with olive oil and place in your oven to slow roast on the lowest setting available. This is usually gas mark 0.5 or if you have an oven like mine, it will have a slow cook setting. Cook for 1 – 1.5 hours until soft, shrivelled up but still juicy.
- Take the tray out of the fridge around 30mins before you plan to start. At the same time, preheat your oven to the highest setting, move the rack to the top shelf (or wherever your oven is hottest) and place your pizza stone inside so it’s searing hot for when you begin.
- Meanwhile, start on your white sauce by heating the butter and olive oil on medium heat in a saucepan. Once melted, peel and mince a few cloves of your roasted garlic (from the tomatoes) and give it a good stir to mix. (If you’re anything like me and looove garlic, throw in a couple more minced cloves).
- Add cream, milk and stir until heated through. Season to taste and add parmesan. Cook on low for a couple of mins until the parmesan melts and it starts thickening up and then turn off the gas. The sauce will thicken further as it cools.
- Take the pizza stone out from the oven, sprinkle with semolina flour and using your hands, stretch out the first of the dough balls into a rough, circular shape. Spread 2 tablespoons of the white garlic sauce evenly over the surface, add 1/3 of a burrata, a handful of tomatoes and drizzle on some pesto.
- Place back in the oven for 8-10mins until cooked through.
- Repeat with the rest of the pizza dough and ingredients.