Friday, 11 April 2014

Fig, Goats' Cheese & Parma Ham Pizza with Rocket

Homemade pizzas are far simpler to make than you might think and once you have made the dough for the bases, you can top them with whatever takes your fancy. In my opinion they are really simple to make and every time I do so, I wonder why it is not a more regular event in our household as everyone loves to get stuck in, rolling out the dough and selecting their own favourite toppings.

The only time consuming part of the recipe is the making of the dough as, because it is a yeast dough, it must be given time to prove, but the pizzas themselves cook really quickly in the oven and if you have pre-made your dough, these are the ultimate in home cooked “fast-food”.

I recently had some figs leftover after making my Raspberry & Fig Tarte Tatin, so decided that I would use them on my pizza. No great thinking went into the making of this pizza. I literally looked in the fridge and store cupboard and used what I had to hand.
 
Luckily I had a packet of Parma ham and a log of goats’ cheese and knew that these would go wonderfully with the figs. Even though I could have made a tomato based sauce as I had the necessary ingredients, I decided that for this pizza I wouldn’t include a tomatoes either in a sauce or in any other form as I felt that their tendency towards acidity would fight against the musky fruitiness of the figs. I scattered everything on top of the pizza dough as artfully as I could and popped the pizza into the oven preheated to its highest temperature, for about 7 minutes until the base was cooked through and the cheese just melted.
 
The pizza was so simple to make, but most importantly, it was absolutely delicious.
 

Ingredients:

Dough:
500g strong white bread flour
½ tsp fine sea salt
1 x 7g sachet of dried yeast
3tblsp of olive oil
300ml of lukewarm water
A little semolina for sprinkling on the baking tray
Topping:
8 ripe figs, halved
200g soft goats’ cheese, roughly crumbled
8-10 slices of Parma ham
A little olive oil
A little balsamic vinegar
A large handful of rocket leaves
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
 


Method:

Dough:
1. Sieve the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle in yeast. Make a well in the centre and add the olive oil and gradually add the water. Start mixing everything together with your hands to create a firm but not overly dry dough – if need’s be add a little more warm water.
2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work-surface and knead for approximately 10 minutes until it is smooth and springy to the touch.
3. Place the dough in a lightly oiled, clean bowl and cover with a damp clean tea-towel or some lightly oiled cling-film. Leave in a warm room for about an hour until the dough has risen and has doubled in size.
To finish:
4. Preheat the oven to its highest setting (on my oven this is 250C). Lightly dust a large baking tray with a little fine semolina and set aside.
5. Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured work-surface and knead it a little, punching out the air. Divide the dough into four equal pieces.
6. Roll each piece of dough out into a rough circle about ½cm thick leaving a slightly thicker narrow “lip” of dough around the edge. Place on the semolina dusted baking tray. Scatter over 4 fig halves, a quarter of the crumbled goats’ cheese and some of the Parma ham. Drizzle with a little olive oil and a small amount of balsamic vinegar. Season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
7. Bake in the preheated oven for 7-10 minutes until the base is cooked through and everything is piping hot. Remove from the oven and scatter a handful of fresh rocket leaves on top. Serve immediately, cut into slices.
8. Repeat this process with the remaining dough and other ingredients to make 4 medium to large pizzas.

Makes 4 medium to large pizzas.