Monday, October 15, 2012

White Clam Pizza

Contributed by Dawn Marie Hamilton

When the weather cools, Friday is pizza night.

We like thin crust pizza at our house. You can start with a ready-made pizza crust or make the crust from scratch. I've been experimenting, trying to make a crust containing whole wheat that isn't heavy. I think I've finally come up with a recipe I like, using whole wheat pastry flour and unbleached white flour.

The recipe makes enough for two 15-inch crusts. I use one crust on Friday with one topping and keep the second in the refrigerator for Sunday night with a different topping.

Ingredients for two 15-inch pizza crusts:

1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (100°F-110°F) (or more if necessary)
2 cups unbleached white flour
1¼ cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Ingredients for topping for one 15-inch pizza pie:

2 tablespoons olive oil
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup coarsely minced fresh basil
1 6.5-ounce can chopped clams, drained
1 6.5-ounce can minced clams, drained
1 cup ricotta cheese
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
ground black pepper

Preparing the crust:

1. Combine flours, yeast, and salt in a mixing bowl. (I use a food processor with a dough blade.)

2. In a large measuring cup, combine water, honey, and olive oil. Pour into flour mixture and stir or whirl until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and forms a ball. (Add a wee bit more water if too dry.)

3. Remove dough from mixing bowl and lay on floured surface. Flour hands and knead dough with the heel of your hands until no longer sticky, adding additional flour as needed. (About five minutes.)

4. Place in large, oiled bowl and flip to coat. Cover and place out of drafts. Let rise for one to two hours, until doubled in size.

5. Remove dough from bowl and divide into half. Shape one half into a disc and place on a seasoned 15-inch pizza stone or well-greased baking pan and roll out dough with a floured roller to within 1/2 inch of edge.

I've found it helpful to prepare the dough the evening before and store in a cake pan with a plate on top in the refrigerator until needed.

Hint: Sprinkle surface of baking stone with cornmeal to help prevent crust from sticking.

Preparing the topping:

1. Mix oil with minced garlic in a small bowl and spread evenly over prepared crust. Sprinkle minced basil over garlic. Evenly spread chopped clams then minced clams over top. Sprinkle with black pepper to taste.

2. Drop teaspoonfuls of ricotta over top. Complete with shredded mozzarella cheese.

3. Bake in a 400 degree preheated oven for about 15-18 minutes until slightly brown on top.