Here’s a pizza of mixed descent – Italian by origin and Hawaiian by name (even though apparently Hawaiian Pizza was devised in Canada – lol). But, regardless of who dreamed it up, we’re forever grateful here in Down Under land – it’s our most popular pizza.
As far as I’m concerned though, pizza must, must, must have a thin, crisp base (the way the Italians make it). None of this over-the-top deep-dish, cheese-filled stuff for me. Nup, to my mind a good pizza is a marriage between a plain, crisp crust and simple, flavoursome toppings.
I basically followed Michelle Southan’s recipe at Taste.com.au, but subbed in the crust and tomato sauce (passata) components from the Pizza Margherita recipe I made a few months ago. The result was totally delicious and it was wolfed down in minutes – that I actually managed to take a photo of it is a minor miracle.
For the base:
- 300 g bread flour (I used organic, stone-ground flour *See note below for using white spelt flour instead)
- 1 tsp instant yeast from a sachet or a tub
- 1 tsp salt
- 200 ml warm water
- 1 Tbsp olive oil plus extra for drizzling
For the Passata:
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
- 2 x 400g can whole peeled tomatoes
- 4 tsp tomato paste
- 2 tsp sugar (optional)
- Handful of mixed fresh herbs (such as oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary), or you can use dried
- Salt & pepper to taste
For the topping:
- 110 g coarsely grated mozzarella (I used more as I love cheese!)
- 200 g shaved ham
- 400 g fresh pineapple, peeled, quartered lengthways, thinly sliced crossways (I used a can of pineapple chunks in juice, which I sliced up more finely)
- 1 small green capsicum (green bell pepper, seeded, coarsely chopped)
- For the Passata:Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened. Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, herbs and salt and pepper. Cook gently, stirring occasionally, for about 10-15 minutes or until the sauce reduces and thickens. Taste and adjust seasoning as required. Put aside while you make the pizza bases.
- Heat oven to 230°C (445°F) and put a baking sheet (or pizza stone) onto the baking tray on the middle shelf. The pre-heated baking sheet or pizza stone will help crisp up the base.
- For the pizza bases:Put the flour into a large bowl, then stir in the yeast and salt. Make a well, pour in the warm water and the olive oil and bring together with a wooden spoon until you have a soft, fairly wet dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for approx. 5 mins or until smooth. Halve the dough and shape into two balls. If not using immediately, put aside and cover with a tea-towel (it doesn’t need to rise, as it’s a thin crust anyway).
- On a floured surface, roll out the dough into 2 large thin rounds (about 25cm across), using a rolling pin. Lift the rounds onto 2 lined baking sheets. Smooth sauce over each base with the back of a spoon. Scatter with half of the mozzarella. Top with ham, pineapple and capsicum. Sprinkle with the remainder of the mozzarella.
- Put one pizza on top of the preheated baking sheet or pizza stone**. Bake for around 15-20 mins until the mozzarella is melted and the base is crisp. Put it in the oven warmer while you repeat the process with the other pizza. Let them cool for a couple of minutes and serve.