Did you ever see that scene in Swingers were Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau are having breakfast at a casino (Vegas baby. Vegas) and Favreau's line is something like "It says on the menu you can have breakfast anytime." And the waitress says "Yea?" And Favreau says "I'll have the the blueberry pancakes in the age of Enlightenment." (Insert intellectual snort here.) I was reminded of that when I was making these little individual pizzas that you can have anytime.
The pizza pictured above is a goat cheese, beet and caramelized onion pizza. My style all the way, but not so much my husband's. He's more of a traditional cheese and sauce kinda guy, although I did get him to try a tiny wedge of it. Well now you can have your pizza, just the way you want it, anytime. And it's all about the dough.
If you're like me you're babying a sourdough starter right now, even as we speak. And every week you feed the little monster (I say that lovingly) and you end up with a cup of starter. Once your drains become clogged with discarded starter you begin to think of ways to use it up. Originally I was making a lot of fantastic scones until I realized I was also eating a lot of these fantastic scones. Not that there's anything wrong with scones, but women cannot live by scones alone. Was there a way to use up the starter and make something really healthy, say with veggies? Yes, and for me the answer was pizza.
And that's when I started using the left over starter to make pizza dough, making little pizza shells and freezing them so we could have pizza (and just the one we wanted) anytime. And in addition to the standard toppings for the Mr., I am sure to load them up with super healthy ones like mushrooms, spinach, broccoli rabe, red peppers, onions, fresh tomatoes, Brussels sprouts and yes, even beets. That's my kind of enlightenment! And of course it goes without saying but I'll say it anyway, I'll have my pizza in the age of Beat poetry.
pizza anytime sourdough pizza dough
1 package instant yeast
1 cup sourdough starter
1/2 cup warm water
1 tablespoon olive oil (plus more for baking)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1+1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
In a small bowl whisk together 2 tablespoons of the warm water and the package of yeast and let sit until bubbly.
In a stand mixer with a dough hook combine the yeast, the rest of the water, starter, oil and salt. Mix on low and start adding the flour a little at a time until dough forms. Mix on medium speed for about 30 seconds more. Dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl and be just a little tacky.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, 2 or 3 minutes. Place dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. At this point you can refrigerate the dough and let it rise overnight or let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size.
Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface and knead it for a minute. Cut it into 4 equal portions. Roll each one out to about 5 inches in diameter and place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and sprinkled with flour or corn flour so they don't stick. Cover the dough and let it rest for a least 1 hour.
When ready to bake the shells preheat oven to 500 degrees and place a pizza stone or sheet pan on the lowest rack. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on the shell, make a few pricks with a fork to prevent the dough from puffing up too much and bake for 5 minutes or until just baked through but still light around the edges. Please use caution getting the shell in and out of the oven! I use the bottom of a cheesecake pan which works great with this size pizza.
Once all the shells are baked you can proceed to the finished pizzas, just add the toppings of your choice and bake again at 500 for another 5 to 7 minutes. Or let them cool, wrap each individually and freeze for future pizza parties.
To use frozen shells, remove them from the freezer about 1 hour before baking and let them come to room temperature before adding your toppings and baking as above.
beet poetry pizza, with caramelized onion and goat cheese
(I've included links for the three main ingredients but please enjoy the lovely photos of my efforts. They are pretty standard items that should be in every cook's repertoire, but just in case they aren't, here you go. Besides, this post is already too long and I really wanted to cut to the pizza already.)
1 cup caramelized onions
4 small roasted beets, peeled and sliced
1 cup sauteed beet greens
4 ounces goat cheese
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Preheat oven to 500 degrees and place a pizza stone or sheet pan on the lowest rack. Sprinkle the pre-baked pizza shell with olive oil and herbs. Layer toppings, starting with garlic, then onions, beet greens, beets and lastly the cheese. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil and sprinkle more herbs if desired. Carefully place the pizza on the stone, as I mentioned above, I use the bottom of a cheesecake pan, but the important thing to remember is that the oven is very hot and do whatever you need to to not get burned! Bake on a pizza stone for 5 or 6 minutes or until cheese is melted and edges are browned. Makes four individual pizzas. Serve immediately.