I was looking forward to this month’s challenge, but it wasn’t without a bit of trepidation. I…do not have the best of luck when it comes to pizza dough – I’ve tried it in the Kitchen Aid, I’ve tried it in the food processor with the regular blade, and I’ve tried it in the food processor with the dough blade and it’s never very pretty. I think pizza dough is difficult to render inedible – even I have not managed that yet – but it’s never been easy. It always ends up horribly crumbly and then I argue with it and add water and knead it and swear at it and eventually we come to a bit of an agreement in which no one is killed and in the end we both count it a vague success.
So this time I tried it just using my brute strength…and then I argued with it and added a bit more water and kneaded it and swore at it and here’s what we came up with!
The dough actually turned out very well – I was worried that it wasn’t going to be soft and sticky enough to actually throw because it was a tad on the tough side when I put it into the fridge at the end of Day 1, but after it had rested at room temperature for two hours on Day 2, it was lovely and soft and perfect for tossing.
The Tossing of the Dough
It actually went pretty well, I think – and super-quick! Much easier than rolling it out. (Apologies for the bad quality, but trust me, this is still better than an attempt at a still photo would have been.)
I halved the recipe – in case my pizza dough curse struck again, I didn’t want to have wasted 4 1/2 cups of flour – which gave me enough for three pizzas:
Pizza 1 – Acorn Squash and Gorgonzola
This is the pizza I was telling you about earlier. It is, frankly, amazing – the gorgonzola is lovely and salty and the squash is sweet but spicy with the hot red pepper flakes and the mozarella just fills in the blanks.
Pizza 2 – Boozy Peach
This was an improvised dessert pizza. I used the cream cheese base from this pizza and the leftover peach filling I had from the Bourbon Southern Comfort Peach Hand Pies that I made earlier. The cream cheese mixture nearly overflowed the pizza dough, but that was easily solved with foil. I let that bake until it was set, then added the peach mixture and baked it…a while longer, I don’t really know.
This pizza may be one of the ugliest things I’ve ever made, but it sure is tasty – it’s a little heavy on the cream cheese, but I’d say that’s more in its favor than not.
Pizza 3 – Pizza Margherita
This? Was SUPER-DUPER-YUMMY! This was the only one of the three that I actually baked at the high temperature called for in the dough’s recipe (500 degrees) – the other two I did according to the instructions for the toppings, but I figured the mozzarella, tomato, and basil that I used here were sturdy enough to handle the very high temperatures.
And I’m sooooo glad I did. The other two were good, but this is outstanding! The pizza base is crispy, but fluffy and sort of sweet – something I didn’t notice in the other two, even the sweet dessert pizza. And the sauce is really good, too – it’s not called Exquisite Pizza Sauce for nothing – and easy, too – it’s just combining ingredients, no cooking required.
All in all, a very successful Daring Bakers Challenge! (Click on the Daring Bakers logo at the top to see what everyone else came up with.)