Usually pizza is a good way to clear out the fridge. You can pretty much throw anything on dough and it will kind of come out okay. But you know it’s a success when you go out and buy all the ingredients you just used up because the pizza was so, so good. Which is exactly what happened with this pizza. I was in Montreal visiting Emma and TIff, and we were discussing dinner over coffee (maybe my second favourite thing in the entire world, after discussing dinner over lunch…). We decided on pizza, and they realized that they had a lot of pears and some almost-over brie that would either have to be incorporated or would be thrown out. When we got home, Tiff made the dough from the awesomely straightforward Joy of Cooking:
• 1 1/3 cups warm water
• 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
• 3 ½ to 3/ ¾ cups all-purpose flour
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 tablespoon salt
• 1 tablespoon sugar
Let the yeast dissolve in the water for about five minutes. Mix everything together for about a minute, and then knead it for 10 until the dough is smooth. Transfer the dough to a bowl lightly coated with olive oil and turn it once to coat with oil. Cover with a kitchen cloth and let it rise in a warm place until it’s doubled in size, about one to one and a half hours.
This is the hardest part: waiting for the dough to rise. Basically, I spent that hour thinking about pizza. I also find it’s helpful to cook the raw pizza dough for maybe ten minutes when it’s spread into pizza shape, which Jen showed me. Sometimes if you put a lot of toppings on, it’s hard to cook the dough in the middle.
We opted for a simple pizza, with the brie and pear and some walnut pieces. For the sauce, we decided to try to add a bit of kick, so we mixed together some dijon mustard with balsamic vinegar. You might be skeptical, but this is so amazing and really brings it all together. When I came back to Toronto, one of the first things we did was recreate this pizza with Hannah, Ashley and Mike. So much for emptying the fridge…