Eddingtons has a new line of Pizza Express kitchen goodies and I was recently sent a few of them to try. I love to try out new things and this particular line is really nice. You can now have that full pizza restaurant experience at home!
The Pizza Express Linden Wood Pizza Paddle is the perfect way to serve your pizza at the table. It's very easy to use. You just sliced it underneath the cooked pizza base and carry it to the table, ready to serve. It must be handwashed and dryed thoroughly after use, but is very attractive and I can imagine that with use it will develop lots of character.
The Pizza Express Pizza Wheel is designed to slice your pizza with ease. Ergonomically designed and made from stainless steel, it is perfect for precision pizza cutting, with great results every time. I found it did an excellent job, cutting right through the crust edge with no problem. Recommended for hand washing only, it comes with a protective plastic cover. It's very sharp.
Should you run into a stubborn crust the Pizza Express pizza knife is the perfect tool to use to cut your pizza with ease. With it's partially serrated stainless steel blade, it's designed to cut through even the toughest of crusts. The distinctive half-moon sharpened steel blade echoes the traditional Italian Mezzaluna and glides effortlessly. It is perfect for that at home Pizza restaurant experience. This is also recommended as hand wash only and has a very sharp blade.
For my crust I chose to make my super quick crust. Basically after kneading, it rises and is ready to use in half an hour. You get a lovely crust that browns nicely and that isn't too doughy. We don't like a really doughy crust. I like them thin, with a crisp edge.
My oldest son used to work in a pizza place once upon a time and has taught me the tricks of the trade. They had what they called a "Dimpler" which was a tool they ran over the crush after it was stretched out, cutting dimples into the crush, which helped it to rise evenly. They also brushed their crusts with some garlic oil and dusted it lightly with parmesan and pre-baked them for a few minutes to set them prior to putting on the sauce and fillings.
I have done all my pizzas this way ever since and they always turn out lovely. I chose to do a simple margharita pizza this time. Todd isn't overly fond of thick doughy crusts and lots of toppings. He's a simple man with simple tastes. The sauce I created for this is simply passata, seasoned with a bit of salt and black pepper, some garlic, a touch of sugar and balsamic vinegar and a smattering of dried chillies for a bit of a kick. Just brush it over the partially baked crust. You don't need a lot. This recipe makes just the right amount for one pizza, and you don't have to precook it either . . . it cooks in the oven.
I use only two cheeses. A semi hard mozzarella and a really good Parmesan. You can grate the mozzarella, or cut it into slices. This is where the wet mozzarella doesn't really work that well. At least we don't like it here. It's a bit too soggy and wet. We much prefer the harder one, and don't ever buy the pre-grated stuff . . . they add something to it to keep it flowing and it affects the results in an adverse way, in my opinion.
Normally I would have fresh basil to tear over top, but I forgot to pick it up at the store and so I used Barts Freeze Dried Basil Flakes and they worked really well. People used dry herbs for years and years. Sometimes I think this practice of always using fresh herbs is a bit of a gimmick perpetrated by the grocery shops to get you to buy something which is really overpriced and which has no staying power. In the summer I grow my own herbs for the most part and they're really good . . . but in the winter, more often than not I will use good quality freeze dried ones.
If you are looking for a really tasty basic pizza, a Margherita Pizza can't be beat. Simple to make, with fantastic flavours that everyone likes. You don't need much more with this other than perhaps a tasty salad on the side. I have to say these Pizza Express goodies made for a very enjoyable Pizza Night experience and I, for one, can't wait to use them again! I love, LOVE pizza, and there is nothing nicer than a pretty decent homemade one! (A lot cheaper too!)
*Pizza Margherita*makes one 12 inch pizza
1 TBS oil, mixed with 1/4 tsp garlic powder85g of tomato passata (strained pureed tomatoes, 12 cup)
black pepperpinch of sugar
few drops balsamic vinegar
pinch crushed red chillies
1 small clove of garlic, peeled and minced finely
a handful of freshly grated good Parmegiano Romano Cheese (plus a bit extra for the crust)
140g of mozzarella cheese, grated (5 ounces)
a few fresh basil leaves torn, or if you can't get that you may use about 1/2 TBS
freeze dried basil leaves
Make the crust. Preheat your oven to 110*C/225*F/ gas mark 2 for five minutes, then turn it off.
Put the warm water into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over top and allow to stand for five minutes. Add the olive oil and flour, and then the salt, mixing in with a wooden spoon until you have a soft craggy mass. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for five minutes, until you have a smooth elastic dough.
Clean the bowl and oil with some olive oil and put the dough into the bowl, turning it to coat with the olive oil. Cover the bowl with plastic cling film and place in the warm oven to rise. Let it sit in there for about half an hour or until it has doubled in size. Two fingers punched into the dough should leave a mark.
Stir the tomato passata together with salt, sugar, vinegar, crushed red chillies and garlic, Set aside.
Preheat the oven to it's highest temperature. Dust a baking sheet with some cornmeal.
Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it into a 12 inch circle. Prick it all over with a fork at regular intervals. Place it onto the baking sheet. Brush it with the garlic oil and lightly dust with some parmesan cheese. Place it into the oven for 5 minutes, then remove. Spread the tomato passata mixture evenly over top. Scatter the Parmesan cheese over top and then the Mozzarella. Top with the torn basil, or basil flakes. Continue to bake in the oven for 7 to 11 minutes, until bubbly and golden brown on top. Cut into wedges to serve.
Eddington's Pizza Express line also includes a Pizza Stone and a Stainless Steel Olive Oil drizzler, oven mitts and a whole host of goodies. Available at Tesco Direct.