Polenta Pizza

Guys! Guys! Guys! So I’ve not posted savoury food for a while, not because I haven’t been eating (obviously) but because I hadn’t cooked anything that I thought was inspired enough to wax lyrical about. But by the exclamation mark count at a massive three already – here is me waxing lyrical.

Yesterday after what would rank up there as the most Relaxing Sunday Ever where myself and a significant person went for an all day wander through a park which culminated in an impromptu coffee with a friend, said significant person and I decided to make some homemade pizza for dinner. Only what with me not eating gluten we decided to make a polenta pizza and it was so flipping good! Honestly, you don’t even have to be gluten intolerant to enjoy this. Other massive bonus. It can be relatively easy to knock up as you don’t have to wait for the dough to prove. Essentially you’re cooking up some polenta in the traditional manner, but making it as thick as possible so it sets quicker and has a bit more structure post bake. Toppings wise we just went classic with a bit of tomato sauce (but made with plum vine tomatoes), mozzarella, and some slices of cured Spanish ham.

Polenta Pizza Base:
700 ml vegetable stock
170 g polenta, coarse type favoured
100 g grated parmesan
Pizza Toppings:
125 g mozzarella
200 g approx. tomato sauce
6 slices of cured ham - lomo in this case
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to finnish
crushed black paper and sea salt

Oil a non stock pan big enough for your pizza.

In a saucepan at medium heat, bring your stock to a boil and while whisking furiously in one direction only (to avoid clumps) add your polenta in a fine stream. Keep stirring at all times to avoid your polenta from sticking to the pan and get this mixture nice and thick and reduced. You want to get it so thick that when you whisk it barely settles back in the pan. At this stage, probably 15-20 minutes down the line (read: strong arms), you want to add the grated parmesan.

Quickly pour your polenta on the previously prepped pan and use the bake of a metal spoon spread out a pizza base shape, complete with slightly raised crust along the edge. Work fast, this will set quickly. Set this aside to cool.

While this is cooling get that oven to 220°C. Make your tomato sauce and prep your toppings. Once your oven is to temperature and your polenta is sufficiently set (cool to the touch and has a nice bounce to it), quickly dress the pizza. Save the olive oil, salt and pepper for when it’s fresh out of the oven. Whack your pizza in and bake it until it’s nice and browned on the crust and the cheese is bubbling. Ours took approximately 20 minutes.

Carefully use a spatula to loosen the pizza from the pan, you should know that the bake is good because it will be crispy on the bottom. Sprinkle on some salt and pepper and drizzle that olive oil. Eat immediately.

I cannot express the sheer amount of pleasure this dish produced, if you’re talking about a great dish of soul food, this is certainly up there and resulted in me doing a happy food dance before I chowed down.

Thanksgiving Potluck: Pumpkin Pie

Last year, a friend of mine decided to host a Thanksgiving dinner. But as the task was a bit vast a pot luck dinner was agreed where each guest would focus on one element of the meal. It was a great success. This year Thanksgiving Potluck was had again, and it’s looking like a pretty nice tradition being established. Good food, good friends, and a moment to be thankful for the past year.

Last Thanksgiving I made a pumpkin pie. It was latticed, yummy but too massive for a comfortable after dinner treat. So this year, I used a different recipe and tried to focus on dainty.

The first thing you want to do is make the pie crust:

Basic Pie Crust:
260 g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
110 g unsalted butter
a 23 cm pie dish - greased
baking beans

Flour, salt and butter in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment. Beat at a low speed until they’re all combined and  you get a sandy consistency. Add a tablespoon of water and start to increase the mixing speed. When well mixed, add another tablespoon of water. You want to get a smooth even dough, but you don’t want to add too much water. It’s better to be patient and wait while that paddle it going round super quick to bring that dough together. Wrap in cling film. Rest in the fridge for at least an hour.

Oven to 170°C.

Lightly flour a work surface and roll that dough out and line your pie dish. Put some greaseproof paper on and fill with those baking beans. Partially blind bake this for 10 minutes. It should be a bit raw still. Keep that oven at 170°C and make that pie filling.

Pumpkin Pie:
1 egg
425 g tinned pumpkin puree
235 ml evaporated milk
220 g caster sugar
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp plain flour

In a large enough bowl, thoroughly mix up all these ingredients and pour them through a sieve into you’re slightly raw pie crust. I know, I know. I’m using tinned pumpkin puree…oooh…contentious. But you know what? I actually think it tastes nicer than prepping all that pumpkin myself. I usually like doing everything from scratch, but you get less of that green/fresh vegetable taste and I’m not keen on that in my desserts. Bake for  30-40 minutes, or until the filling has set and has lost that wobble when you shake it. Serve it with some ice cream or cream. Hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving.

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