Monday, 8 June 2009

Double Stuffed Crust Pizza

On Saturday night, we were flicking through a Pizza Hut leaflet, and came to the conclusion that we couldn't get ourselves a decent feed for less than about £15. Thinking this seemed a little steep for trashy take-away food that was going to be delivered to us in a sweaty cardboard box, we decided to make our own meaty, juicy, stuffed crust creation. This pizza is delicious, cheap, and just as good as anything you'd get from any of the well-known pizza chains (well, I think so anyway!). Making your own pizza involves several stages, and the recipe may seem complex at first, but once you've got the hang of dough making, it's really straightforward and lots of fun. You'll probably have most, if not all, of the dough ingredients in your kitchen already, and what you decide to top your pizza with is up to you. We like meat and wanted to use plenty of it, but play around with whatever you feel like and use your favourite toppings. The next time I make this pizza, I'm keen to try a tasty BBQ version; I think I'll mix some BBQ sauce in with the passata, and top it with big, juicy chunks of cajun chicken, caramelised onion, sweetcorn and green peppers. 

Makes one 10 - 12 inch pizza; serves two hungry people!

For the dough (recipe by Delia Smith):
175 g / 6 oz plain white flour
1 tsp salt
3 g / 1 tsp easy blend dried yeast
1/2 tsp caster sugar
1 tbsp olive oil 
120ml hand-hot water

For the stuffed crust and topping:
olive oil cooking spray
3 tbsp passata 
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp oregano
150g lean ground beef (10% fat)
1/2 red onion, diced
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp mild chilli powder
20 slices chorizo
10 slices salami
4 slices of jalapeño peppers, diced
150g mozzarella, grated

Making the dough and forming the pizza base 

Sift the flour, salt, yeast and sugar into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre, and pour in the olive oil and water. Gradually combine the wet and dry ingredients to form a dough, initially mixing it together with a wooden spoon, and then using your hands when the ingredients are nearly combined. Use the dough to collect any lumps or remaining dry ingredients from the bowl. 

Lightly flour a clean work surface, and remove the dough ball from the mixing bowl. Knead the dough for 3 minutes, or until the dough feels elastic and springy. You may notice small blisters appear below the surface of the dough. If you find the dough is too wet and is sticking to the surface, simply add a little more flour. Lightly spray a large, clean mixing bowl with cooking spray and place your dough ball inside. Cover with clingfilm or a towel, and place in a warm place. Leave the dough for about 1 hour, by which time it should have risen to around double in size. 

You may wish to prepare your ground beef at this stage for the topping - see below. 

Whilst the dough is rising, pre-heat your oven to 220°C  (430°F). When the dough is ready, knock the air out of it by punching it with your fist, and then knead it a couple of times and form it into a ball. Flour your work surface again so the dough won't stick - you may also wish to use polenta for this purpose, if you have it to hand, but flour works fine. Roll the dough out into a circle, between 10 - 14 inches in diameter, and 3 - 5 mm thick (I prefer a thinner base, as it will rise some more during cooking). Roll the outside inch of the circumference of the base even thinner so it is approximately 2 mm thick; this is for the stuffed crust, you don't want it to be as thick as the pizza base when it's rolled up. 

Place a sheet of greaseproof paper on a large baking tray. Generously give it a coating with olive oil cooking spray. Gently pick up your pizza base and place it on the tray. 

Making the stuffed crust

Take some chorizo slices (approximately 10) and cut them into half-moon shapes. Arrange them around the circumference of the base, approximately 1 cm from the edge. Place a thin layer of grated mozzarella on top of the chorizo. Don't be stingy, but don't over-stuff the crust - it will make it very hard to roll up and it may burst during cooking. When your stuffed crust ingredients are in place, take the edge of the dough and pull it over the stuffing ingredients, tucking it in underneath and gently pressing it down so the crust stays in place. Don't worry if it doesn't look perfect or you end up stretching the dough a bit when rolling it over. Spray the base and crust of the pizza lightly with cooking spray - this keeps the base nice and soft, and allows the crust to brown in the oven.

Topping the pizza

This is the fun bit! Begin by cooking the ground beef in a non-stick frying pan. You may wish to add a little cooking spray to help this along if you have very lean mince, but don't add a lot - the end result needs to be dry. Season it well, and add in some paprika and mild chilli powder (you can add more if you want your spicy beef extra hot!).  When the beef is cooked, set it aside. 

Combine the passata with the dried oregano and basil in a small dish, and with a metal spoon, apply it to your prepared base, smoothing it evenly all over, right up to the stuffed crust. You should aim for a thin, but thorough covering - you don't want the pizza to be too wet or sloppy.

Evenly add the cooked ground beef and diced onion to the base, and then apply a thin layer of grated mozzarella. Next, add the rest of your meat - I started with salami, and then put the chorizo on top - as the chorizo was fattier, I wanted it to be more exposed to the heat of the oven, allowing it to crisp up nicely. Add some more mozzarella, and finally, top with diced jalapeño peppers. With regards to the quantity of toppings stated in the recipe, you don't need to follow this exactly; the directions will give you a generously topped pizza that isn't too heavy.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the crust is lightly browned.