Wood Fired Pizza
There is so much pleasure to be had when cooking your own hand made wood fired pizza in a wonderful wood fired oven. Cooking with fire is such an organic and almost primal way to cook, the smoke enhancing the flavours, the wood and the fire are so interactive.
Please keep reading for my favourite home made pizza recipes below.
My Giving Table
Firstly the reason for our beautiful wood fired pizza feast was to share a meal with friends and to raise funds for the Townsville Women’s Centre with a My Giving Table event. The idea being that you cook for friends or strangers and they contribute to the cause of your choice, for the pleasure of sitting and dining with you. It is a beautiful way to share a meal and create a positive impact in our community.
Friendship and Philanthropy
My dear friend Cindy was the host for the event. Cindy has an incredible home on Townsville’s Castle Hill with breathtaking views over the Coral Sea and out to Magnetic Island. The warm sea breeze drifts through the house and the impact of the blue sky and water calm the soul. It was the perfect setting for a wonderful Giving Table event.
Cindy and I spent the day preparing the delicious toppings for our home made pizza, making the dough, stoking the wood fired oven and filling the house with flowers.
The Wood Fired Pizza Base
Making your own pizza dough is super simple and so worth the effort. I am fairly flexible with the quantities a little pinch more or less will not be a problem, so just relax and enjoy the tactile fun of making dough.
1 desert spoon of yeast
2 tsp sugar (and a bit more for luck)
almost a cup of warm to hot water
2 cups of plain flour (sometimes I run it through a sieve to lighten it but it is not really necessary)
1/2 tsp Salt
Mix yeast sugar and water in a bowl and stir it well. Sit aside for 5 minutes or so in a warm place to start to activate – it will bubble and froth.
Put the 2 cups of flour in a bowl with the salt and make a well in the middle. Pour in the bubbling yeast and water mix and using your fingers work it around until it starts to stick together. Keep a small pile of flour handy to get the stickiness off your fingers and slowly knead the dough, adding small amounts of the extra flour onto the surface of the bench-top to work it together into a smooth dough.
Knead it for a good 5 minutes – the texture will go from sticky and messy, to slightly lumpy then finally the dough will feel soft, smooth and even, a lovely texture.
Place the dough in a bowl that has a light coating of oil and cover with a damp tea towel to sit in a warm place to rise for half an hour or more.
Once risen it is time to cut the dough in half and knead gently and form into a ball. Finally, using a floured rolling pin and a floured surface you gently roll out the dough to make the perfect pizza base. You can make several smaller ones or 2 quite nice sizes for sharing.
You are now ready to add the exquisite toppings.
Fabulous Wood Fired Pizza Recipes
I love coming up with great combinations for toppings. Here are some of my favourites and how to make them sing.
Pear, Gorgonzola and Caramelised Onion
First of all quarter several pears, cut the seeds out then cut each quarter in half. Smear with a small amount of olive oil and balsamic glaze. Get a heavy grill pan hot and sear each side of the pears quite quickly – a minute or two should be sufficient to give a slight bit of colour, you are not wanting to cook them through and make them turn to mush, just give them a little colour.
Set them aside.
Caramelise several onions by slicing thinly and cooking low and slow with a dob of butter and oil and a little dash of balsamic glaze or sugar.
Add the well caramelised onions to your prepared pizza base, smear it over the base so it is well flavoured. Arrange the pears on the top of the onions then pop small chunks of the Gorgonzola, equally spaced on top.
Optional is some prosciutto added as well and also some fresh mozzarella to round out the cheese.
Finally, bake in the piping hot wood fire pizza oven to make the magic happen and top the cooked pizza with fresh rocket… delicious. Sometimes a little drizzle of balsamic glaze also gives it that final note of perfection.
Seriously I cant tell you enough how goods this is as a combination.
Roast Tomato Sauce
The classic and always popular base for delicious pizzas is the classic tomato sauce. I always slow bake a tray of tomatoes with plenty of cracked pepper and whole garlic bulbs. Tomatoes are simple cut in half or quarters and drizzled with olive oil.
The best way to do the garlic is without peeling the cloves therefore I always cook the garlic whole, this way they do not burn and the result is creamy baked garlic that can be squeezed out of the skin and added to the tomatoes.
Once blended roughly the tomatoes and garlic make the most delicious pizza base sauce.
Enjoy experimenting and creating
The roasted tomato and garlic sauce is of course perfect for any of the classic favourites, simply add mozzarella and fresh basil for a delicious Pizza Margherita, add salami and ham, olives and anchovies… the list is endless.
One of my personal favourites is grilled banana and bacon on a simple base of caramelised onion, heaven indeed.
What I do know is when you start with a great sauce and a great home made pizza base you can let you imagination run wild and experiment and create your own favourites… please let me know the combos that make you happy.
Home made wood fired pizza is always a winner.
More Fabulous Wood Fired Pizza Recipes
There are so many wonderful toppings for home made, wood fired pizza and it is so pleasurable to spend the day preparing simple ingredients with love and care, creating a delicious taste sensation. I am sharing several of my favourites that are simple enough and just require a bit of effort and planning.
Of course you can buy ready made pesto and tomato sauce but the effort of roasting and seasoning and avoiding the preservatives that come in store bought products are worth every minute. The flavours are real and fresh and so much more enjoyable.
Pesto, Basil and Pine Nuts
Firstly the pesto, personally I believe it is always worth making your own pesto because the taste is way superior to anything you can buy.
Grab a big handful of basil leaves – I include the softer stalks as well, but remove any of the woodier parts.
3/4 cup of pine nuts or so
several cloves of garlic (plus a few more for good fortune)
a good splash of olive oil and a good wedge of Parmesan cheese (about 3/4 of a cup grated).
Blitz it up in a blender and check for taste. Add more cheese, nuts garlic or oil depending on your taste preference. The more garlic the hotter it gets, the nuts soften the flavour and the cheese adds bite, so you just get it how you love it.
Pumpkin and Nutmeg
I love a good Jap Pumpkin, always my preference for savory baking – they bake up so sweetly and softly. Firstly cut the pumpkin into nice small wedges, coat in olive oil and pepper and most importantly lots of fresh ground nutmeg and garlic. Nutmeg and pumpkin are a foodie marriage made in heaven and indeed should be united as often as possible. Toss with some good oil and extra pepper.
Bake in an oven at about 190 centigrade, until soft with lovely brown edges.
Set aside to cool.
Coat a fresh rolled pizza base with lashings of pesto and place the delicious pumpkin on top. Pop on some little dollops of mozzarella and sprinkle with a handful of pine nuts. For a vegetarian option this is delicious.
Alternatively you can add in some this sliced maple bacon, if you need to impress the meat lovers.