Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Valentine's Day Pizza for Daddy!

For those of you who have been following my blog on a regular basis, it will come as no surprise that my 9-year-old daughter, Anna is a great baker and an all around proficient cook. So, when the other night we decided to have family pizza night and make our own pizza from scratch, she was on-board 100%! Each of the kids had a chance to make their own pizza and Anna's was spot-on for Valentine's Day! First, she decided to stuff the crust with cheese by crimping the edges after lining them with mozzarella cheese. Then, she came up with the idea of shaping the pizza as a heart and executed it all on her own! I was duly impressed by the perfect heart shape she achieved without any help! Then, she proceeded in the usual way by topping the pizza with tomato and herb sauce, mozzarella, basil and in her case half the pizza with onions and the other half- with garlic: Daddy's two favorite toppings, as it was, after all a pizza for the man who has her heart- her very own Papa!

Here is the recipe we used to make our pizza dough. It is excellent and comes out just right every time we make it!

Perfect Pizza Dough

1/2 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
1 envelope (about 2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
1 1/4 cups water, at room temperature
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups (22 ounces) bread flour, plus more for dusting work surface and hands
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Olive oil or nonstick cooking spray for oiling the bowl


Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand until the yeast dissolves and swells, about 5 minutes. Add the room-temperature water and oil and stir to combine.
Place the flour and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle. Briefly combine the dry ingredients at low speed. Slowly add the liquid ingredients and continue to mix at low speed until a cohesive mass forms. Stop the mixer and replace the paddle with the dough hook. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Form the dough into a ball, put it in a deep oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for about 1 1/2- 2 hours, or until doubled in size. 
When ready to make your pizza, place a pizza stone on a rack in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven to 500° for at least 30 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Use a chef’s knife or dough scraper to divide the dough into three or four pieces. Form each piece of dough into a smooth, round ball and cover it with a damp cloth. Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no more than 30 minutes.
Working with one piece of dough at a time and keeping the others covered, shape the dough, then transfer it to a pizza peel that has been covered with parchment paper and lightly dusted with semolina or cornmeal. Top pizza as desired. Slide the dough onto the heated stone together with the parchment paper- it makes this step a breeze! Bake until the crust edges lightly brown, 8 to 12 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Here is my little chef with her finished heart-shaped stuffed-crust Valentine's day pizza for Daddy- so happy and proud! :) The pizza was deeelicious! And Daddy was smitten!

Recipe for the pizza crust originally from: Annie's eats

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