There’s something about homemade pizza, craft beer, and good television. They’re one of the small wonders of the world. A perfect trio.
Last night, we got home from Tracey doing a ton of baking and myself doing a ton of PhD work, and we were utterly exhausted. “What’s for dinner,” she says. “I dunno, I’m tempted to make them bring us pizza. I don’t have any energy to make anything,” I say. Luckily, and I dont’t know which one of us realized it first, we had about a third of a recipe of that wonderful buttermilk bread dough I raved about in an earlier post sitting in the fridge from five days ago, just waiting for the opportunity to be made into spontaneous pizza.
So I cranked up the oven to 500, as high as this poor American electric oven would go. Tracey chopped onions and grated cheese. I got the heavy marble rolling pin out, and rolled the dough out super thin (which by the way is a lot easier if the dough is refrigerated, as it doesn’t try to bounce back at you). I threw cornmeal on the cookie sheet (we don’t make pizza very often, so we don’t have a stone; this will have to be corrected). If you don’t use cornmeal, by the way, your crust will stick like glue to whatever you’re baking it on. I parbaked the crust just a bit, with some olive oil on top, and I have to say I don’t think I parbaked it quite enough. Our pizza wasn’t quite as crisp crusted as either of us would have liked in the end, and this is the step that usually makes that happen.
Note, by the way, that if you parbake crusts, you either need pie weights or you need to poke holes in the top with a fork. The pie weights work better, in my opinion, because poking holes tends to give liquid toppings, like pizza sauce, a way to pool toward the bottom and make your crust tough. Last night, though, was the quick method, and we poked holes.
Once parbaked, we threw on sauce, three cheeses (mexican quesa fresca, parmesan, and chevre), sundried tomato paste, tomato sauce, capers, and onions. Back in the 500 degree oven for about 8-10 minutes, and lo and behold it was pizza.
Last night’s beer of choice (I drink beer, Tracey can’t stand the stuff) was a Hook and Ladder Backdraft Brown, which compliments the roasted taste of a crisp neopolitan style crust really well. And the show of choice (because good pizza and beer is nothing without the right moving pictures) was Firefly. There are other good pizza and beer movies: Big Trouble and Little China; The Fifth Element; Better off Dead; Ferris Bueller’s Day Off… you get the picture.
All in all, a very satisfying night and meal. Like I said, I’d cook the pizza crust a bit more first — maybe 8 minutes by itself before throwing everything on there, but I’m just a crisp-crust kind of guy.