Delia

Four Seasons Pizza

Originally the toppings were placed on this pizza in four sections, representing each season, but because this pizza serves two, it's better to distribute them around more evenly.


Sufficient for a 10 inch (25.5 cm) base pizza – serves 2

This recipe is taken from How to Cook Book One and Delia's Complete How To Cook

Four Seasons Pizza
Ingredients
For the pizza base:
 6 oz (175 g) plain white soft flour
 1 level teaspoon salt
 1 level teaspoon easy-blend dried yeast
 ½ level teaspoon golden caster sugar
 1 tablespoon olive oil
 2–3 level tablespoons polenta (cornmeal) to roll out, plus a little extra
For the topping:
 1 heaped tablespoon sun-dried tomato paste
 3 oz (75 g) Parma ham (about 4 slices)
 5 oz (150 g) Mozzarella, cubed
 4 oz (110 g) small tomatoes, thinly sliced (approximately 3 tomatoes)
 2 oz (50 g) small open mushrooms, thinly sliced
 1 rounded tablespoon salted capers or capers in vinegar, rinsed and drained
 8 pitted black olives, halved
 4 anchovy fillets, drained and split in half lengthways
 a few basil leaves, dipped in oil and torn, plus a few extra leaves to garnish
 2 tablespoons olive oil
 Pre-heat the oven to its lowest setting.
Equipment

You will also need a pizza stone or solid baking sheet measuring 14 x 11 inches (35 x 28 cm).

Method

Begin by warming the flour slightly in the oven for about 10 minutes, then turn the oven off. Sift the flour, salt, yeast and sugar into a bowl and make a well in the centre of the mixture, then add the olive oil and pour in 4 fl oz (120 ml) hand-hot water. Now mix to a dough, starting off with a wooden spoon and using your hands in the final stages of mixing. Wipe the bowl clean with the dough, adding a spot more water if there are any dry bits left, and transfer it to a flat work surface (there shouldn't be any need to flour this).

Knead the dough for 3 minutes or until it develops a sheen and blisters under the surface (it should also be springy and elastic). You can now either leave the dough on the surface covered by the upturned bowl or transfer the dough to a clean bowl and cover it with clingfilm that has been lightly oiled on the side that is facing the dough. Leave it until it looks as though it has doubled in bulk, which will be about an hour at room temperature.

Having made the dough and left it to rise, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 8, 450°F (230°C), along with the pizza stone or baking sheet. The next stage is to tip the dough back on to a work surface that has been sprinkled generously with polenta to prevent it from sticking. Knock all the air out of the dough and knead it for a couple of seconds to begin shaping it into a ball. Then dust your rolling pin with polenta and roll the dough out to a circle that is approximately 10 inches (25.5 cm) in diameter. Then finish stretching it out with your hands, working from the centre and using the flat of your fingers to push the dough out; it doesn't need to be a perfect round, but you want it to be a fairly thin-based pizza, with slightly raised edges.

Meanwhile pre-heat the oven to gas mark 8, 450°F (230°C), along with the pizza stone or baking sheet. Spread the sun-dried tomato paste up to the edges of the pizza dough then carefully lift it on to the hot baking sheet or pizza stone. Then first lay the slices of Parma ham over, folding them, and then simply scatter the cubes of Mozzarella, the tomatoes, mushrooms, capers and olives all over. Finally, decorate with the anchovy fillets in a criss-cross pattern and the basil leaves. Now drizzle the olive oil over and bake on a high shelf for 10-12 minutes, until the crust is golden brown, then scatter the whole basil leaves over before serving.

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