I’ve decided to join the Vegan MoFo challenge (Vegan Month of Food), and I’m starting off with this recipe for vegan pizza… ’cause hey, who doesn’t love pizza?
The pizza crust is adapted from a magazine (BBC Good Food Vegetarian Christmas 2005, if you must know). The crust ingredients make enough for two 33cm (12-3/4″) pizzas (which happens to be the size of my pizza pans). It won’t matter if your pans are a bit bigger or smaller than that. The sauce and toppings are for one pizza, which is enough for two people with normal-type appetites. If your household or your appetites are bigger, you’ll probably want to make both pizzas, in which case you’ll double the sauce and topping ingredients. I always freeze the extra crust (partially baked), so that making pizza next time is super-quick.
Last night, both Mr Thrifty and I had a hankering for ham & pineapple pizza. The day before, I’d made vegan ham from Tracy’s recipe over at A Vegan for Dinner. The ham is really good, even though I didn’t have all the ingredients, namely liquid smoke, which as far as I can tell isn’t available on this side of the pond. (I used smoked paprika instead.) It also didn’t quite cook the way it was supposed to, probably owing to my [gas] oven, so I’m going to play around with the cooking method next time. But all in all, a great recipe (thanks Tracy!).
For cheese, I used Redwood’s Cheezly, “super-melting” Gouda flavour. Vegan cheese in the UK is light-years ahead of what’s available in America/Canada (as an expat Canadian, I can say that the vegan cheese available there ranged from simply uncheeselike to truly disgusting. Happily, I now live on this side of the pond, and the Brits are masters of vegan cheese, so I can now have all the wonderful cheesy things I missed, like pizza, lasagne, enchiladas… but I digress.)
I always put the cheese UNDER the toppings (directly on top of the sauce), it melts better that way and doesn’t dry out in the hot oven.
We also added a few ‘shrooms… they were in the fridge asking in small mushroom voices to be used, and I couldn’t say no.
Vegan ham & pineapple (& mushroom) pizza
|For the crust||(makes two pizza crusts)|
|225ml||warm water||7/8 cup|
|1-1/8 teaspoon||active dried yeast||1-1/8 teaspoon|
|340g||strong white flour (bread flour)||2-3/4 cups|
|3/4 teaspoon||salt||3/4 teaspoon|
|1-1/2 tablespoons||olive oil||1-1/2 tablespoons|
|For the sauce||(enough for one pizza)|
|2 teaspoons||olive oil||2 teaspoons|
|1||large garlic clove, minced||1|
|175ml||passata (tomato sauce)||2/3 cup|
|6||fresh basil leaves, minced||6|
|salt to taste|
|For the topping||(enough for one pizza)|
|95g||vegan cheese, “melty” type||3-1/2 ounces|
|110g||vegan ham, thinly sliced||4 ounces|
|1/2 can||pineapple chunks, drained||1/2 can|
|110g||fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced||4 ounces|
|1 tablespoon||olive oil||1 tablespoon|
1. First, prove the yeast. Add pinch of sugar to warm water and give it a couple of stirs. (If you’re new to making yeast doughs, water should be the same temperature as the inside of your wrist. Warm the water and dribble it over your wrist. You’ll hardly be able to feel it if it’s the same temperature as your wrist; otherwise it will feel too hot or too cold.) Sprinkle yeast over top and leave to stand for 10 minutes. After this time there will be a layer of foam on top of the water. If there isn’t, maybe your yeast is too old, or the water wasn’t the right temperature.
2. While yeast is proving, measure flour into a large mixing bowl. Stir in salt and set aside.
3. When yeast is ready, stir in the 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil, then add to the flour. Stir until it’s more or less evenly mixed. Turn out onto a lightly floured countertop and knead for 10 minutes, until smooth, springy and elastic. Add flour a bit at a time if dough is too sticky. Shape dough into a ball and place in a large greased bowl. Set aside in a warm place for 1-1/2 hours to rise. (If you keep your house fairly cool, a good place to rise dough is in a oven that has been turned onto low for a few minutes, then turned off. Don’t have the oven too warm or you’ll cook the dough. It shouldn’t be warmer than a nice warm room.)
4. While dough is rising, make the sauce. Heat olive oil in a small skillet and saute garlic for one minute, until fragrant but not browned. Add passata (tomato sauce) and basil leaves and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
5. After dough has risen, punch down and shape into two balls. Press one ball into a 20cm (8″) circle, then transfer to an oiled pizza pan and continue to press dough until it fits the pan. Repeat with second ball of dough and second pizza pan. Set pans aside in a warm place for 15-30 minutes, until risen slightly.
6. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200C (400F). Position rack about 19cm (7″) from the top of the oven.
7. At this point, I partially bake the pizza crust I’m going to freeze. Bake for three minutes, then rotate pan and bake for another three minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. When cooled, wrap pizza (and pan) in foil, then place in a heavy plastic bag and freeze.
8. Assemble pizza. Spread sauce evenly onto crust, leaving a 2.5cm (one inch) border all around. Brush the edge with a bit of olive oil. Grate cheese over top. Arrange ham and pineapple on pizza, then top with mushrooms. Drizzle with remaining olive oil.
9. Before putting in the oven, I place a strip of foil along the back edge of the pizza; otherwise it burns, but with your oven, YMMV.
10. Bake for 20-30 minutes, rotating half way through, until crust is golden and crispy and cheese has melted.
This is a great pizza. The salty ham and sweet pineapple complement each other perfectly.
Makes two servings.
Tip: If you’re making pizza using the frozen crust, don’t thaw it first. Top it straight from the freezer and bake as above.