So I had a little chat with Francis (an 11 year old rugby-playing burger-lover who enjoys reading Private Eye! Really.), after chocolate milkshake- his two favourite things are cheeseburgers…and pizza (and then cherry tomatoes…I’ve seen him eat an entire punnet in minutes…and I have also seen him eat a cheeseburger in about 50 seconds!)

And really who doesn’t like pizza?  I have shamelessly stolen and adapted the crust recipe from Ken Forkish’s great bread book, ‘Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast”.  It is dead easy – just mix stuff the night before.  Divide up the dough and pop it in the fridge.  It is good for a few days and makes a great thin crust with a nice bite.  If you want a more last minute recipe for pizza crust try this one: Jamie Oliver’s Basic Pizza

Dough:

  • 500g flour (I use a combination of strong white and strong wheat, about 330g white to 200g wheat – but you could use all white)
  • 350g warm water
  • 10g salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried yeast

Mix the flour with 250g water and let sit for 20 minutes.  Mix the yeast with the rest of the water and set aside, while the flour rests with the water.  Mix the salt in to the flour then add the water/yeast and mix well with your hand.  Let sit for 30 minutes then come back and fold the dough over on itself about 4 times-  then form a nice ball and let it sit in a bowl overnight, covered with plastic wrap.  I usually do this around 7-8pm the night before.  The next morning gently tip the dough out on to a floured surface and pull it together into a nice ball.  Cut this ball in to 3…..form into 3 balls, lightly dust with flour and put on a tray in the fridge for 6 hours – or up to 2 days.  Cover the dough lightly with plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out.

The meaty bit (enough for x2 pizzas):

  • 450g mince beef
  • 140g can of tomato puree (paste)
  • 1 clove garlic, garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • Salt

Brown beef in a pan, over med heat smashing it up so it is nice and crumbly.  Drain the fat then add the tomato puree plus half a can of water, crushed garlic, oregano, paprika and a good pinch of salt.  Cook over low heat for 10 minutes and then set aside.

Pizza assembly:

  • 1 c grated mild cheddar (any cheese really, I also like a mild blue)
  • cornmeal or polenta

Heat your oven to 220C.  If you have a pizza stone, toss that in to heat up.  If not – no worries, just pop you pizza on a  tray that has been dusted with coarse cornmeal – or polenta.  Roll out, punch out, flip around your dough on a floured surface until it is the shape and size you want.  Transfer to your cornmeal ‘sprinkled’ tray or pizza peel.  Cover the pizza with half the meat mixture and top with the grated cheese. That is it – contrary to those Pizza Hut adverts…. pizza is better when it isn’t too overloaded (my opinion of course).   Bake for ~10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and the crust nice and crispy

Now comes the fun bit (although I think the dough bit is also pretty fun)!

Toppings:

  • Sliced tomatoes
  • Chopped lettuce (I like romaine)
  • Sliced red onions
  • Dill pickle slices
  • Mustard
  • Ketchup
  • ….and whatever else you like on your ‘burger’

Slice the pizza and then everyone can top their own with whatever makes them happy!  If you are feeling a bit decadent- serve with a chocolate milkshake.