Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Apple Strudel Pizza

The last time I said "dessert pizza" I was quickly chastised by my wife. "That's not a dessert pizza, it's just a rustic tart/pie. We'll make a REAL dessert pizza, then you'll see."

And so we did! Though it is sometimes uneven (I think the topping quantities are for 20" pies so I adjust down accordingly) the Pizza book has a chapter on dessert pizzas. These real pies start with an almost-normal dough recipe (honey, cinnamon and nutmeg are the only variations), the dough can be tossed (though the book categorically recommends rolling out all dough with a pin. I disagree wholeheartedly and ignore the book completely), it's topped with cheese (I did a cheddar/mozzerella blend)

and gets lovely bubbles in the crust like a normal pizza.

Apples, raisins, brown sugar and toasted walnuts complete the picture

And the result can be topped with ice cream or powdered sugar

(note: after the sorry pic on the left I decided to use a sifter for the powdered sugar. That slice looked much better!)

Now the book is not perfect; they had a weird scheme where you first cook it (dough with just cheese) on a perforated pizza screen, THEN transfer it to the pizza stone, THEN add the topping and cook some more. This was not only fussy it was over kill and lead to some charring of the crust on the edges. Now on a normal pizza charring on the crust is excellent. For dessert? Not so much. But this (along with the rolling vs. tossing issue and the toppings quantity issue mentioned before ) is really a minor quibble. The recipes here have some good 'bones'- you need to flesh them out with your own style and verve.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Oh the horror... the horror!

It's taken a week to post this only because it was too difficult to face. (actually, I was a bit busy with a 5k for brain cancer research)

Above you'll find the crime scene photo. And this was not the result of long term neglect; this was the result of a single locally raised chicken roasted to a smokey end in about an hour.

While it was absolutely delicious, the smoke alarm went off no less than five times. The recipe (from Cooks Illustrated) had you roasting upside down at 450 for 25 min, flipping the bird over and roasting another 15-20 minutes, then pumping the heat up to 500 and finishing off. The high heat makes for a crisp skin but as the fat dripped from the bird it spattered from the pan and all over the oven.

But I think it was fortuitous that this blog post was delayed (procrastination: what can't it do?!). As I relayed this tale of horror to a friend of the family (Hi, Vivian!) she said "Have you heard of Barbara Kafka? It sounds like you really need to."

Apparently my enormous 16-inch roasting pan is absolute overkill for a small chicken. An overly large roasting pan was the culprit. Apparently IKEA has a small roasting pan that's perfect for the job, although perhaps just an appropriately sized cake pan could do the work, as well. Since there won't be a rack to fit just pad the bottom with potatoes and onions (etc) to elevate the bird.

In the meantime I'm relegated to the grill for bird-work, but with another five birds coming in the weekend from Fox Hollow farm I'm sure I'll have plenty of opportunities to test this out.