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A super speedy pizza

 My daughter is one of those children who was born eating absolutely everything.

"Broccoli!" she'd squeal with excitement as I placed a bowl of steaming green vegetables on the tray of her highchair.

With the exception of baked beans, she didn't refuse a thing, and I smugly assumed that all my offspring would fit this mold.

The arrival of my son a few years later put paid to these expectations.

"What would you like for breakfast?" I naively asked him once.

"Marshmallows and Coke", came the hopeful reply.

Fast forward to his teenage years, and I have to admit that very little has changed.

According to Sam, pizza should be considered a food group, and he sees no reason why he shouldn't be allowed to make a meal of this every day.

Reluctantly accepting of his pizza habit, I have to admit that until recently I regularly bought what I believed was a reputable brand, as I couldn't face the schlep factor of making it from scratch.

This all changed the day I took the trouble to decipher the ingredients on the back of the pizza box - I was appalled to discover that these included 9 preservatives, artificial flavors and colorants - and I vowed never to purchase ready-made pizza again.

A bout of enthusiastic recipe testing ensued as I compared complex, long-rise doughs containing oil and eggs with this quick-rise, 3 ingredient dough.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was the simple version that took first prize in every taste test.

Not only is this super speedy pizza far better for your health, but it's far easier on your pocket too.

Release your inner Italian and stir up a batch today.

The teenagers in your life are sure to thank you.

HOMEMADE CRISPY, THIN PIZZA BASE

¾ cup lukewarm water
1 teaspoon instant yeast granules
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt

1: Combine water and yeast in a mixing bowl, stir to dissolve the yeast, add salt to the liquid and then add flour and mix well.

2: Turn out onto a board and knead till all the flour has been incorporated and dough is smooth and elastic - this should take 5 minutes - or mix in an electric mixer with the dough hook. The dough should feel moist and slightly sticky, but if it's sticking to your hands or the board, work in an extra tablespoon or two of flour till smooth.

3: If you have the time, allow the dough to rise for an hour till doubled in bulk, but you can also roll it out immediately on a floured sheet of baking paper.

4: Roll the dough very thinly then add toppings - see COOK'S NOTES below - and slide paper onto a baking tray.

5: Preheat oven to 240 C - pizza is best cooked in the upper part of a very hot oven - and cook for approximately 8 minutes till base is crisp and cheese is melted.

COOK'S NOTES

Top with home-made or store-bought red pasta sauce, thinly spread white cheese or a simple brush of olive oil. Add sautéed onions and sautéed red or yellow peppers, mushrooms, baked eggplant or butternut cubes, smoked salmon or any other topping you choose. Sprinkle with grated Mozzarella, Parmesan or cubes of Feta before baking, and dust with dried oregano. This recipe makes 2 pizzas, and leftover dough may be refrigerated. You also have the option of replacing half the flour with whole-wheat, though the end result will be slightly heavier.

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Monday, 20 September 2021

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