Saturday, June 16, 2012

Little Tuscan Pizzas

Little Tuscan pizzas, also known as schiacciate, are little individual,rustic-style pizzas with crusts rolled as thin as you can possibly get them.  This was an amazing pizza break-through for us. . .I had never before baked a pizza in quite this way and we absolutely loved it!  This would be a great pizza to make with your family or a group of friends because everyone can get involved and make their own pizza according to their own personal taste . . . and have a blast doing it!
 I prepared the dough in the dough maker using the recipe I have always used.  About 20 minutes before the crust was done I put the pizza stones into the oven at 425 degrees and then began preparing the toppings.  I set out a selection of zucchini, tomatoes, anchovies, prosciutto, caramelized red onions and capers that we each could choose from to make our own personal pizza.  This was the first time Mike or I had been brave enough to try anchovies; they weren't as bad as I thought they would be but I've had them once and I think that is enough.  On the other hand, Mike really enjoyed them.  I think next time I would I would not caramelize the red onion but use thin slices and I would like to try some pancetta.   Once the dough was ready, I divided it among four sheets of parchment paper that I had sprayed with olive oil cooking spray and sprinkled with cornmeal.  I dusted each lump of dough with a bit of flour and then used a trick I learned from making pie crusts: I topped each one with a piece of wax paper (another piece of parchment paper would work fine, but I was running short on parchment paper so I decided to use the wax paper) and then rolled the crusts out between the two pieces of paper.  This allowed me to roll the crusts incredibly thin, and when the top piece of paper is peeled off the pizza is much more manageable. 
We topped the uncooked crust with shredded mozzarella and then the toppings of choice.   Leaving the pizza on the parchment paper, I was then able to use a spatula and plate to move the pizza onto the hot pizza stone in the oven. 
My mom keeps telling me I need a pizza paddle and I thought I would never really use one; but now I can see that one would be extremely helpful!  I'm not sure how long the pizzas baked, maybe 10-12 minutes.  I just kept an eye on them and pulled them out when the crust had browned. This crust was amazing!  The lack of sauce, baking at a higher heat than I normally do, and placing the pizzas on the hot stones made for a beautifully browned and crispy crust. After we pulled them out of the oven we sprinkled each pizza with some fresh basil.  We watched The Spiral Staircase, a thriller set in 1916 about a mute girl in an old mansion faced with a serial killer.  Have you ever had one of those nightmares when you wanted to scream for help but nothing comes out?  This was not quite as scary; just suspenseful enough to be a lot of fun.  It was made in 1945 and stars Dorothy McGuire, George Brent, and Ethyl Barrymore and is definitely well-worth the time.

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