Sunday, 19 May 2013

Pizza bites

Nothing fancy. There are recipes all over the internet dime a dozen. This just happens to be a tried and working vegetarian variation. The classic recipe is with pepperoni. Also in this version the tomato sauce goes into the dish and is hence easier to serve. The prep for this dish is exactly the same as for pizza. In fact in the last minute you can just decide to make it a pizza, albeit one with only very unimaginative toppings. So let's get started.
The recipe has two parts- dough and filling. Start with the dough.
Warm about 1/4 cup of fluid (water or milk). You should be able to comfortably keep a finger in the water. "Ouch"- hot is equal to "ouch, you killed the yeast". If this subjectivity is too much for you, get a thermometer, we want 60 degrees C. Add 60 degrees C water to 3/4 tsp dry yeast and 1/2 tsp sugar, stir and keep aside while you measure out flour.
For 12 pizza bites you will need 2 cups of all-purpose flour. If all-purpose flour is synonymous with maida for you (which it is not, ask me), then take 1 3/4 cup of maida and 1/4 cup of atta. Add salt to taste and check the yeast now for bubbly froth. No froth? Pack up- next recipe please. Yeast has to be frothy. Pour the frothy yeast into the flour and an additional 1/4 cup plain water. Measure out 1/4 cup water and keep aside before starting to knead. Use the dough hooks attachment on your hand mixer. You will need more water as you knead. Use the measured out 1/4 cup of water, but that is the max you can go with water i.e. 2 cups of flour to 3/4 cup of water in total (1/4 cup with yeast, 1/4 to start kneading and 1/4 as you go on). It is precisely 2 cups of flour to 2/3 cup of water. Since atta soaks a lot we allow 3/4 cup water , but really no more. Knead 5-7 mins with the hand mixer or 15-20 mins after the dough comes together if kneading by hand. Nice smooth and springy ball, coat with a dot of oil to avoid drying and then pizza dough - R.I.P (rise in peace).
Summing up pizza dough ingredients and proportions:
- 2 cups flour (see above about what kind)
- 2/3 cup water in ALL (3/4 if using whole wheat, see above)
- 3/4 tsp dry yeast
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- salt

For the filling you will need:
- 6-7 ripe tomatoes
- A knob of butter (1tsp)
- 10 leaves of of fresh basil or dry oregano/thyme
- Black pepper corns
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- Handful of sweet corn kernels (frozen is fine)
- 75 gms of your favourite cheese (cheddar or mozarella works fine).
- 2 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
- salt

Quarter tomatoes and throw them in the jar of a blender. Pulse for 3-5 seconds. We don't want them pureed; just thoroughly crushed small chunks are good. Set on a stove a saucepan or any heavy bottomed vessel with the knob of butter on high flame. Add all the tomato mush and bring to a boil. Then reduce the flame to simmer; cover and forget about it for at least 20 mins.
Meanwhile, crush pepper corns, peel and mince garlic, thaw the corn kernels and cut the cheese into 12 equal cubes/pieces.
Back to the tomatoes. Scrape the sides of the pot and bring the pulp together in the middle. There should be very little water separating out of the tomato pulp, else cook open on a high flame. Add the crushed pepper, salt and minced garlic and stir well on high flame. You should have crossed pizza sauce consistency reached almost a loose tomato paste consistency. Turn off the heat and mix in the corn kernels immediately. After about 2 mins stir in olive oil and shreds of basil.

Assembly. Deflate with flour dusted hands the now risen pizza dough and make a ball with as little handling as possible. Depending on your work surface, roll out the dough as thick as you would for pizza (or a little thicker if you only make thin crust).

 Cut them up into about 3 inch pieces (squares/rectangles) with a knife.

On each piece of rolled out dough place some filling and a piece of the cheese (no grating..yipee!).

Wrap up each piece bringing up the sides and sealing in the filling. Place seam side down on a greased baking dish.

If you do not want them pull-apart style use a large cookie sheet and place them well spaced (totally unnecessary in my opinion). Let rise for another 20-30 mins and bake in an oven pre-heated to 180 degrees C for about 30-40 mins or till the bread looks done. Optionally brush on top with butter and dry spices when still hot. Pull apart (or not) and enjoy.

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