Happy things tend to be round… Cakes, cupcakes, the sun, doughnuts, the moon, bubbles, egg yolks, avocado bellies… Ooh! And pizza.
Business has been picking back up with cake orders coming in. Either that or most birthdays fall in June. I’m not complaining. I enjoy baking chocolate cake…
I still dread macaron orders but I have to admit that I derive a sense of satisfaction from the aftermath of baking them. They are pretty little things. I usually make hazelnut macarons instead of the usual almond based ones. I find that they take on a more complex flavour and don’t taste quite as sweet even though the quantity of sugar used in them is the same. Filled these shells with Nutella chocolate ganache as requested by the customer for her good friend’s birthday.
Also had fun creating this pandan vanilla bavarian mousse cake with gula melaka-ed bananas – that is, instead of caramelising the bananas, I used palm sugar instead and reduced it before adding sliced bananas in to cook. This was the cake I had extra components of and used to construct Dad’s mini birthday cakes. Lol.
And then there are pizzas! I’ve been working on my sourdough pizza recipe and the last many times I’ve made them, they’ve not been as fluffy and puffed up as I like. So on our most recent pizza night, I prepped the dough the day before but again, my sourdough refused to cooperate and I had to scrap it in favour of this 24 hour yeasted dough. Totally nothing wrong with instant yeast.
This recipe worked like a charm and made such a delicious crust that my hubsy, the pizza connoisseur, declared that this be our ‘always and forever‘ pizza dough recipe. I think that stubborn old me will still work on the sourdough one from time to time, but even I have to admit that this was pretty awesome. The base remained beautifully thin and crisp, while the crust got all pillowy and puffy like a cloud.
I made one as per hubsy’s order – ham, cheese, cherry tomatoes and sliced red onions, while the other was topped with tomatoes, burrata and basil. So yummeh!
The four of us shared two pizzas although the hubs can actually eat one entire pizza by himself. It’s apparently a very European thing and they find it ridiculous that us Asians order pizza to share. I find it ridiculous that they can stuff so much bread and cheese in their tummies at one sitting!
Anyway, this pizza recipe reminded me very much of the pizza we had in Naples, perhaps even better. The pizzeria we waited an hour to eat at in Napoli served very soft-based pizzas even though they were soft and pillowy. They were almost soggy in the middle. At least at home, we can make pizzas to our own liking with customised toppings galore!
I’d love to claim all the credit for this beautiful recipe but I actually got it online and cannot, for the life of me find it anymore. So… here it is:
Neopolitan Pizza Dough (makes 4 pizza bases)
638g bread flour (or plain flour can also be used)
3g instant yeast
420g cool water
- Mix everything with a paddle on low speed for 1 min. Rest mixture for 5 min.
- With a dough hook, knead on medium speed until dough becomes smooth and supple.
- Place on lightly oiled bench and hand knead for 1 min to make final adjustments. Cover with a bowl and let rest 30min.
- Divide into 4 285g portions. Form into balls. Lightly oil a large container or tray and place balls of doughs in, with lots of space around them to expand. Cover and chill 24 hrs or up to 3 days. If you are having it sooner, you can chill it for 6-8 hours, minimum.
- Remove from fridge 2 hours before baking. If freezing some, lightly oil the top and place into a lightly oiled ziplock bag. Dough can be kept frozen up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in fridge and treat it as refrigerated dough the next day.
- Preheat oven to 250 deg C or as high as it can go. Ideally use a pizza stone and preheat for an hour.
- On a lightly floured bench, gently stretch dough out in a circular fashion but be careful not to squeeze the air out of the edges. I usually leave about a 3/4-inch rim for the crust. Top with tomato puree, cheese, whatever you like and place onto pizza stone. Let cook for 8 minutes then broil another 2-3 min or until it is to your liking.