This pizza was one of six different thin, crispy based pizzas that came out of the oven last weekend, but it was my favourite. They were all good, and it’s hard to beat the salty sliver of an anchovy on a pizza, but onions caramelised with fresh bayleaves and whole peppercorns is some sort of voodoo magic. Delicious.
We ate them at the long table at our Fitzroy house sitting house that Sarah had a lend of just for the weekend. The wisteria in the courtyard was bare-armed and bony, but the weak winter light made it further into the kitchen.
I like the ritual of making pizza, how they come one at a time from the oven, with waiting in-between. The smell from the oven keeps appetites sharp and the kitchen warm. There’s plenty of time to drink wine and dinner can go for hours. It’s much more fun than the formality of a three course meal, that signals with desert and coffee, ‘the end’.
POTATO AND CARAMALISED ONION PIZZA
1 packet active dry yeast
1 tbsp honey
1 ¾ cups warm water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 ½ cups all purpose unbleached flour
1 cup semolina flour
1 tablespoon flaky sea salt
5 potatoes boiled and cooled, sliced into 5mm thick rounds
5 onions chopped finely into rounds and cooked very slowly on a low heat in 4 tbsp of olive oil, two bay leaves one tsp sugar and 5 whole black peppercorns for 20 mins stir regularly
1 ball good quality mozzerella
Sea Salt to season
4 Sprigs of thyme
In a bowl place the warm water (can be from a kettle with a little cold water added, make sure its not too hot) and honey and mix til honey is dissolved.Sprinkle the dry yeast on top of the watery mix and wait 5 or so minutes to be sure it is activated (foamed). It will look like sea foam, or the foam at the top of your beer. Add the oil into the yeast water, and mix with a fork. In a kitchen mixer with a dough hook, (or by hands, this will take a bit more time), mix both flours and salt for a minute, then slowly add liquid ingredients over dry ingredients and mix on lowest speed for 10 minutes, until a single dough ball forms. Allow dough ball to rest for 20 to 30 minutes in the bowl covered by a damp kitchen towel. A warm room helps this process along. The dough should double in size.
Pre-heat your oven to 220 degrees (very hot).
When the dough has risen, knock the air out of it with your fist and tip onto a floured surface (knocking the air out of the dough is one of my favourite parts of the process).
Divide dough into four equal parts, form into tight dough balls and set aside. Each ball of dough makes one pizza.
With floured hands, knead your dough a little on a floured surface. Roll out your dough to your desired thickness (I like mine about 3mm thick) and to suit the tray you are using. I highly recommend a tray with no edges, that way, when the pizza is cooked, the stress associated sliding it off the tray is lessened. Wipe your tray with a bit of olive oil on some paper towel, dont drench it, there should just be a fine flim so the base of the pizza is crisp and doesn’t stick.
Place your rolled out dough on the tray and stretch it out to evenly cover your tray.
Place potato, caramalised onion, cheese, salt and thyme on the dough (in that order) being careful not to overload it, especially in the centre otherwise it will become soggy. I think a perfect pizza should have a bite of everything on every slice, but you should still see spots of golden dough through the cheese!
Cook in the oven until the edges are golden and the centre is cooked through too. Around 10 mins depending on your oven.