by Gay Cook
Valentines is a day to have fun together with just the two of you making small Lover’s Lane heart-shaped pizzas. These pizzas are similar to pizza margheritas, a popular Italian pizza, except these are made in a heart shape. They have a simple topping of crushed tomato, cherry tomato halves, topped with small balls of mozzarella bocconcini and parsley pesto. The best part of the pizza is baking it on a hot pizza stone. I love my Emile Henry’s lightweight stone that comes in different colours and is available at J.D. Adam Kitchen Co. 795 Bank St., in Ottawa. Cost is $49.95. The preheated stone cooks either in the oven or backyard grill resulting in an even crisp or soft crust and can withstand temperatures up to 700ºF (370ºC). The stone heats up quickly and has a non-stick glaze with handles to make it easy to lift.
1 cup (250 mL) crushed tomatoes
½ tsp (5 mL) dried thyme or twice as much if it’s fresh thyme<=R> Salt
12 cherry tomatoes, halved crosswise
100 g fresh bocconcini (mozzarella) pearls or balls sliced
Parsley or basil pesto
Olive oil for drizzle
1 tsp (5 mL) dry yeast
Pinch granulated sugar
1/3 cup (75 mL) warm water
1 cup (250 mL) unbleached hard flour or all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
1 Tbl (15 mL) olive oil
1. In mixing bowl, use wooden spoon to combine the yeast, sugar and water and leave to dissolve 2 minutes. Stir in the flour, salt and olive oil and knead for several minutes. Enclose bowl in a plastic bag and leave dough to rest one-hour in a warm area to rise. Dough can be refrigerated for several hours or overnight if not needed immediately. If dough is chilled, allow it to come back to room temperature in a warm area.
2.;Preheat oven to 490ºF (250ºC) and preheat pizza stone (it takes 15 minutes to be hot enough). To make pizzas, turn dough onto a lightly floured work surface. For each dough piece, use your hands or a rolling pin to stretch the dough into a heart shape. Coat each pizza with the crushed tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and thyme. Place the cherry tomato halves around the heart. Sprinkle on the bocconcini. Add 4 – 5 small spoonfuls of the parsley pesto on each pizza. Drizzle olive oil over each pizza.
3. Carefully transfer the hot pizza stone to a heatproof surface. Quickly but carefully transfer the three hearts on to the stone and return it to the oven. Bake the pizza about 15 minutes or until the crust is cooked and the cheese is bubbling.
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Photo: copyright Gay Cook 2012