Saturday, 18 February 2012

Homespun Heart Shaped Pizzas

I have worked through all the "extras" on my chore and to-do list this week, except for one - the fun one! We decided that, given the expense of buying the raw ingredients to make marmalade, weighed against the cost of buying a ready made jar, and the fact that we don't eat a huge amount of it in our home, it wasn't really worth the cost of making it myself, so I took that item off the list. I've made chutney and jam many times, which is a good way to use up a glut of vegetables or fruit, but marmalade is not so economical (it is the season for Seville oranges, but they were not on offer in the supermarket).

Everything else, I have done. I made the Valentine hearts, painted the chair in the bathroom, tidied up the bathroom ceiling, sorted out files and paperwork, and washed the car (I LOVE washing the car! It is such a great way to get a workout, outside in the fresh air, and the result is so satisfying! Our car is black, so it always looks terrible when it is dirty, and wonderful once it has been cleaned, really sleek and shiny, even though in truth it is a real "old banger"! It makes me SO happy to see it all clean and bright again, when I have washed it! It has to be one of the most rewarding cleaning jobs there is. I have to take the car to Grandmama Bear's home, to wash it, as it would be impossible to wash it at home - we have no garden and the garage where we keep it is quite some distance from our third floor apartment. So I get to see my mams as well, which is an added bonus!).

I also made these ... heart shaped Valentine's pizzas! (I made a cake too. If you want to see how to make that, please click here. I'm sorry I didn't take photographs of it - we don't have a camera and it is quite tricky to take photographs of food using a laptop. The bear family were more than ready for their meal by the time I'd taken the final pizza photos, so I didn't feel I could take any more pictures! The cake was heart shaped also, and delicious, but very time consuming and not that economical to make, though I did make a few cost saving adjustments, so I don't think I'll make it again. I have so many other delicious cake recipes! Papa Bear liked it, but his favourite cake of all is still apple caramel, which he asks for every birthday. That means you might have to wait until October to see that recipe!).

To make home made pizzas, I use this simple dough recipe, which I make in my bread maker ...

Put into the pan of your bread maker in the following order:-

1. 1 1/4 cups water
2. 1/2 teaspoon sugar
3. 2 teaspoons oil
4. 1 teaspoon salt
5. 3 cups strong bread flour (I used white)
6. 2 teaspoons dried yeast

1. Use the dough programme on your machine, and when it is done, remove from the pan (it will be sticky).

2.Place on a floured surface and knead a few times into a nice round shape. Then break this into 4 equal sized pieces. I find this easiest to do with my hands, covered in flour, but you may prefer to cut it with a knife or pair of scissors if you have some large enough.

3. Grease a large baking tray, and then place the 4 pieces of dough on it. I find it easiest to shape them into hearts right on the tray. If you make the pieces into rough circles first, it is then easy enough to fashion a heart shape if you are patient. I find it helps to pull one end towards you with one hand, whilst pinching in the middle of the opposite end with the other hand. Then pull out the 2 corners either side of where you have pinched. They will not be perfect, but they'll rise and look better afterwards.

4. Leave your dough hearts in a warm place (I use the top of the stove, if I have been baking earlier in the day, or our airing cupboard, if not) to rise for about 30 minutes. During this time, you can sort out what toppings you want to use! I selected these ...

5. You can see in that picture, anchovies, spicy sausage, tomatoes, red pepper, sweetcorn, red onion, mozarella, cheddar, parmesan and tomato sauce. I just get a small jar of pasta sauce, but you may be able to find pizza sauce in your supermarket.

6. When the hearts are nicely risen and puffy, you can cover them! I used about 2 teaspoons of pasta sauce to spread as a base on each heart, and then a selection of sliced vegetables as listed above, and small pieces of spicy sausage and anchovy. We could have also had olives, but none of us are that keen on them yet. We keep trying! I like to put plenty of mozarella and parmesan on my pizzas, and occasionally also add cheddar as well (in fact I didn't this time, although I did get it out of the fridge! There simply wasn't room to put anything else on!). Here they are ready to go into the oven ...

7. Then put them in the oven at about 200 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes (mine took 15). And they're ready to eat! (They are also delicious cold, much nicer than bought ones, but we rarely have any leftovers, when I make pizza!).

Yum! We LOVED these! I'll admit, the dough is quite tricky to handle, if you aren't use to making your own pizza base, but so worth it - it makes a wonderful light, crisp base which bakes really evenly, with no horrible soggy bits! I think making individual pizzas is a great way to serve everyone their favourite toppings, and they do seem to turn out better if they are not so big. I have made one huge heart mind you, which was also successful, but these were really lovely. There was not a scrap left of these pizzas on St. Valentine's day, which I served with a simple mixed salad and French dressing.