First Pies

Our very white grout is in the process of receiving multiple coats of sealer, so I want to lay off the cooktop adventures until I don’t have to live in fear of fat splatter.

Which is why I decided to make pizza.

I said I would not be doing any oven work until I had countertops. Then it was faucets. Now that we are practically all done with the kitchen, save for endless finish work, I had no excuse. And, taking into account the grout situation, really didn’t think my kids would go for a dinner of baked sweet potatoes.

Lotus cut down my soapstone tiles to fit in my tiny ovens. I bought ingredients at Hitchcock’s, our local and often disappointing food store. Thankfully, the shop exceeded my expectations in most areas. To my huge surprise (no exaggeration) I found King Arthur AP flour and a decent looking jar of artichoke hearts. The jalapenos were in good shape, Polly-O ricotta and mozzarella score high in quality for  mid range cheeses in my cookbook and the organic cream was a nice touch. Roma’s are creeping up there in price as the summer moves on and the crushed tomato situation was a little bleak. With an eye on the bank balance, I opted for California ripe olives instead of Kalamata–the price on the Greeks was really alarming. While some people would rather eat toes than California jumbos, I don’t mind. Not ashamed to say that I loved them as a kid and my heart–and stomach–still have a special place for those black, meaty American beauties.

All toppings on deck. Clockwise from left to right: white sauce, artichoke hearts, Roma tomatoes, California olives, diced jalapenos, ricotta, home grown basil, tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella.

Oven was preheated at broil for just an hour. I like to preheat for many an hour to really get the pizza stone hot, but it was late in the day, work was going on in our kitchen and I have really been feeling terrible (cough-wise, not pregnancy-wise). I just needed to get it done. The dough was made about five hours earlier. As per Radharadhya’s recommendation to me, I use a scant amount of yeast and prefer the dough to ferment it out in the fridge a few days. No time for that. Super wet and goopy, the dough rose gradually and produced a lot of bubbles. Not bad. Better than your average 1.5 hour rise-time dough.

First pizza was for the kids, who were starving. They like it simple. I have one kid that prefers cheese and another that prefers crust, so there is some swapping going on across the table. We are taming them, though, and have to say, they each ate at least 75% of their least favorite parts before trading.

The pies were in the oven for an average of 4-5 minutes, with a soapstone tile above and underneath each pie. I don’t have an oven thermometer yet, so I really can’t tell you what the *real* temp was and I am clueless as to how much heat loss is incurred from opening the door to insert and remove the pies. Things to look into in the future. Nevertheless, my hunch is that the small “European” oven size helps cut down on heat loss/recovery time.

My kids don’t care for a dark, charred crust so these pies were right up their food alley. I would have liked the crusts to be a bit more done, but like I said earlier, the wetness of the dough gave it such a lightness, that I am not complaining too much–considering the kitchen is still in a rather unordered state.

First pie out of the oven--basic red sauce for the kids. They loved it.

Second pie was ladies choice. I went white. Very good. Very dairy. Very fat. I snuck it in on the top stone–a small mistake since the broiler gave it burnt spots. No worries when it came time to bite. It didn’t taste burnt at all, just delicious.

White sauce pizza, for the adults. White sauce, ricotta, artichoke hearts, black olives, basil.

The crust was not ridiculously off the dough hook, but it did elicit satisfied moans from me. See:

Delicious pizza crust! Not the penultimate for many reasons, but the wet dough really helped it triumph over its shortcomings.

I was talking while making the second red pie so I didn’t realize until after I slid it into the oven that I scrimped on the cheese. When it came out of the oven, I worried there might be some protest from the cheese lover of the familia, but she was already starting to feel stuffed so no complaints. And the crust lover was over the moon for this one! To be honest, this pie made me a bit sad. The crust was very light in color. But I ddin’t fret it because my kids like it that way. I aim to please.

Second red pie out of the oven and soon to be onto the plates.

The grand finale–another white pie, this time with my best pizza friend, jalapenos. Yumm-inauthentic-yumm.

Final white pie. More of the same, but this time with the jalapenos. I love the jalapenos.

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6 Comments

Filed under baking, italian, kitchen, sabjimata

6 responses to “First Pies

  1. Gaurangi Priya

    Sounds scrumptious! That is neat that you put a tile on the top shelf and the bottom. Was the pizza on the bottom tile, or on a rack in the middle of them both? I need the slow-rise wet pizza crust recipe.

    • sabjimata

      I used both, top and bottom, but I read where people make a little house in their oven (always reminds me of the stone houses people make @ govardhana hill 😉

      I would share my crust recipe but honestly I have been sworn to secrecy by Radharadhya (his recipe). Write to him, though. He is on Facebook. He gave me the recipe a year ago and I think he has moved on to way more artisanal doughs.

  2. brooke

    As a self-proclaimed awesome pizza maker (ahem), your pies look gorgeous! I am an artichoke heart / caper kind of gal, although since S.’s bday party I’ve not made pizza (I made so many for the party I’m okay with a break).

    Tonight is salad maki: dressed lettuce, cuke, carrot and tofu salad cuddling inside the nori and rice. I’m making the rice now and the tofu has been draining for a while. Y. makes the most splendid miso dressing (creamy and a little sweet) — I’m telling you this salad maki is a slice of heaven! Hope you’re feeling better.

    • sabjimata

      Brooke, I am feeling better…well, getting there. Last night I was up way too late putting away stuff but I found our rice paper wrappers and thought of you!

  3. Cristina

    i am my child’s remnant eater….I love crust 🙂
    More over I like the bubbles…yours looked quite bubbly!

    • sabjimata

      it was surprisingly bubbly! apparently you are not supposed to roll over the edges..i am trying to nix the rolling pin and go more free-handstyle.

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