HHDD#17 - Oh excitement!
My first Hay Hay it’s Donna Day! I have wanted to take part ever since I first read about it - coincidentally at Joey's lovely blog 80 Breakfasts, who's hosting the event this month. I had been charmed by Donna Hay from the very first time I set an eye on her cookbooks - it was the beginning of something good that changed my relationship with food. Her simple yet exquisite recipes, always accompanied by outstanding food styling and photography had me from the first moment. I had decided to take part of HHDD's when I came across her magazine (issue 35) in my favourite stand. What an eye candy! It was an old issue but I wasn't to complain - never before had I seen such beautiful magazine in Portugal! And as Donna Hay won't accept subscriptions for my country, that was quite a finding.
I used Donna's pizza crust recipe from Issue 35 (I had to! I'm so in love with the magazine). For topping, I had this fixed idea of pears with Gorgonzola cheese. Just because this flavour combo kept haunting me since I had a marvelous salad a few months ago in London. My great new magazine featured Pancetta as 'a must have ingredient' - I was willing to try it too. So far I had selected pears, Gorgonzola and Pancetta. Good. But as I would find out, Donna doesn't have any sort of pizza with such ingredients. That's when I called Bon Appétit for help. I didn't exactly follow a recipe (yeah, as if that comes as a surprise...) but took some inspiration from here. The overall result was tasty (not to mention pretty) and I absolutely loved the way all flavours came around.
Pear, Pancetta and Gorgonzola Pizza with Walnut Pesto and Spinach
from Donna Hay magazine Issue 35, p.79
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon caster (superfine) sugar
3/4 cup (6 fl oz) lukewarm water
1 1/2 cups (225 grs/8 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes
2 tablespoon olive oil
Semolina to dust (original recipe doesn't call for this step but I find it essential so the crust won't stick)
Place the yeast, sugar, and water in a small bowl and stir to combine. Set aside in a warm place for 5 minutes or until bubbles appear on the surface. Place the flour, salt, and oil, and make a well in the centre. Add the yeast mixture and stir with a butter knife until a dough forms. Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic (it took me 10 minutes). Place in a lightly greased bowl, cover with a tea towel, and set aside for 30 minutes or until it has doubled in size. Divide dough in two equal parts.
* Makes enough for a couple of pizzas for 2 persons or 4 individual pizzas. I've frozen half the dough. Directions: when kneading is done, prepare any dough you want to freeze. In a small bowl, add some olive oil. Roll the dough ball in the oil and place into a freezer bag. Freeze immediately. The day before you want to make pizza, remove frozen dough from the freezer and into the refrigerator to defrost overnight. Follow recipe from here.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC (355ºF). Place a pizza stone in the oven to heat. Press dough onto a large baking sheet generously dusted with Semolina, and roll out to 2-3 mm thick to form a circle. Sprinkle some Semolina on top.
For the walnut pesto:
3/4 cup walnuts
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
4 slices Havarti cheese
4 slices Pancetta
1 pear, halved, cored, thinly sliced
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
6 medium fresh spinach leaves and steems
In preheated oven, toast nuts on a baking sheet until brown, about 5 minutes. In a food processor, place nuts, add olive oil, honey and cilantro. Blend until nuts are finely chopped. Season pesto to taste. If necessary add extra olive oil to desired consistency.
Steam the spinach in a coriander above a pan of boiling water, until slightly wilted. Remove from the heat and press out the excess liquid. Set aside.
Spread pesto over crust, top with coarsely diced Havarti cheese. Lift the baking paper and pizza onto the preheated stone. Bake until bubbly and golden, about 12 minutes. Remove baking sheet and pizza from oven (carefully, you don't want to get burned!). Place pear and Pancetta slices, top with crumbled Gorgonzola. Sprinkle with pepper. Bake for extra 3 minutes to allow cheese to melt. Remove from oven, tuck in spinach and keep warm for a couple of minutes, so flavours can come together.
note: I've returned the pizza once again into the oven after placing the spinach. I won't do it in the future, as I find it unnecessary.
Et voilá! Here you have my pizza-nality!!