Monday, 12 May 2014

Pizza, only better

It's time for the last leg of Pernod Ricard's OivaPari- recipe contest. This is our last wine match. And probably the best. No, make that one of The Best Things Ever To Come Out Of My Kitchen. Ever. Though I can't take all the credit myself. In the past months The Boy Next Door has turned out to be a grateful guinea pig, delightful plus one, accomplished restaurant critic and quite a visionary in the kitchen too! Remember our entry in the last leg of the recipe contest; those pulled lamb sliders? His brain child. Now there's no stopping him: to the exhilaration of vegetarians everywhere in the middle of the pulled meat mania raging in Finland right now he's talking about launching shredded celery. Yeah, you just watch that space...!

The last wine the bloggers were invited to create a food match for is Gato Negro Cabernet Sauvignon, #1 wine in Finland. And for a reason. It's easy to drink and its smooth tannins make it easy to combine with a host of foods. We immediately thought of combining it with equally easy (and popular) food: pizza. But with an eye on the parties spring and summer always have in store we tweaked it just a little and came up with these bite-size gems - perfect for finger food. And obviously we didn't settle for just any old ham and pineapple... Prosciutto, inspired by the duck confit salad, was paired with pear, dried cranberries left over from halloumi salad to compliment wine's berry notes and toasted pine nuts to add a little crunch. Then some rucola to give it a nice green colour and pepperiness to balance pear's fruitiness. And some rosemary oil to give it just a little bit of extra oomph. These are pizza biancos, which means there's no tomato sauce at all. 

Like the brioche dough, you can make the pizza dough in advance and leave it to rise in the fridge overnight. In that case you can halve the amount of yeast. Rosemary oil can be made weeks in advance.

2 normal size pizzas or 15 mini pizzas 

Pizza dough:

12, g - 25 g fresh yeast (depending on how long you proof the dough for)
2,5 dl warm water (37°)
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp (rosemary infused) olive oil
5,5 - 6,5 dl fine (00-grade) durum flour

Crumble the yeast into the water and mix until it has dissolved. Then add salt, oil and the flour, little bit at a time. Knead until smooth, elastic dough that doesn't stick to the sides of the bowl, cover with cling film and let rest, either in room temperature for a couple of hours or in the fridge until the next day.

Prosciutto, pear and brie pizzas:

300 g brie
150 g prosciutto
1 pear
1/2 dl dried, soft cranberries

to serve: 1/2 dl toasted pine nuts, rucola, (rosemary infused) olive oil

Rosemary infused oil:

2,5 dl olive oil
2 sprigs of rosemary

Warm oil in a pot with rosemary to moderate heat (below simmer so the rosemary won't burn, resulting in bitter tasting oil). Let cool, remove the rosemary and bottle. 

Depending on the size of the prosciutto slices cut them lengthwise into 2 or 3 strips.Peel and core the pear and cut into thin slices. Toast the pine nuts on a dry pa until they are golden and fragrant. Let cool.

Divide the dough into 3 segments and those into 5 balls. Roll into thin discs. Sprean a coupls of slices of brie onto each of them, 1-2 (depending on the size) slices of pear, sprinkle some cranberries on them and top with prosciutto slice.

Heat oven to 250°. If you have a pizza stone, put it in the oven now. If you don't, put the tray into the oven - hot tray helps the crust to get crispy. Place the pizzas on the hot tray and bake for about 7 minutes. For more crunch you can prick the pizza bases and pre-bake them for a couple of minutes before adding the toppings - this way the brie won't burn before the crust is done. 

Scatter a couple of rucola leaves on top of the baked pizzas, top them with toasted pine nuts and drizzle some rosemary oil on top. Best served in the company of good friends and a fruity red wine. Oh, how about Gato Negro Cabernet Sauvignon!

Those of you who've been following this blog for some time are familiar with my frequently documented profound dislike of cheese, but my, oh my. Hell must be getting ready to host the Winter Olympics as I couldn't get enough of these. You just try - they're ridiculously delicious!




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