Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pizzas topped with zaatar and bechamel sauce

This month's sweet punch challenge was pizza. Yes, good ol' pizza. I think this was a really good choice. I mean, there are 1000+ variations that you can bring about in a pizza. Only the pizza base recipe was given. We had the freedom to use our favorite sauce, toppings and cheeses. Wow! My mind was running. I thought of barbeque sauce pizza, bechamel sauce pizza, paneer pizza, zaatar pizza and on and on and on. And then, after a week, I got busy enjoying my holidays and completely forgot about the challenge. Yes, you read that right.

Today, while surfing on the net, I decided to visit Divya's blog. I saw her latest post: the sweet punch challenge. Man, I  got the shock of my life. I was like "What! Today is the 7th of April". So I rushed to the kitchen to prepare the pizza. As I began assembling the ingredients, I realized there was no yeast in the house- or at least I couldn't find it. I checked all the cupboards, the fridge, every possible place. But I couldn't find it. Finally, I found a small packet of yeast in our fridge. Oh, the relief!

The base dough came about very easily. Since I didn't have a lot of time, I decided to keep it simple. I prepared a quick bechamel sauce and used up some zaatar I had bought. As soon as I sent my pizza into the oven, my aunt asked me if I wanted to accompany her to our neighbour's house. "It will take just 10 minutes. We'll come fast" she told me, and I agreed. But we are ladies girls. Once we get together, we forget everything. So my pizza had baked for a good twenty minutes before I came home running. The pizza hadn't burnt, but the overcooking had made the crust a little hard, or should I say crispy? Actually, crispy sounds better. It sounds like a whole new variation, right? A pizza whose crust is crispy while the body is soft.

However it was, I loved both the toppings. The bechamel sauce pizza had a very soft base. And the best part of it is that the sauce, topping and cheese is combined. I think it was the best pizza topping I've ever prepared.

For the crust(Makes two crusts):

1 teaspoon Active Dry Or Instant Yeast
4 cups All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
⅓ cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sprinkle yeast over 1 1/2 cups warm (not lukewarm) water.In a mixer, combine flour and salt. With the mixer running on low speed (with paddle attachment), drizzle in olive oil until combined with flour. Next, pour in yeast/water mixture and mix until just combined.Coat a separate mixing bowl with a light drizzle of olive oil, and form the dough into a ball. Toss to coat dough in olive oil, then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and store in the fridge until you need it. ***It’s best to make the dough at least 24 hours in advance, and 3 or 4 days is even better.Roll out the dough onto the cookie sheet 1 hour before baking. Let it rise. Add the sauce, toppings and cheese and bake in a preheated oven at 400 F for 15-18 minutes.

For the bechamel sauce:

1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup mozerella cheese
salt and pepper
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 sausages, sliced

Heat oil  in a frying pan. Saute the sausages till the are slightly browned. Heat butter in a saucepan. Add flour and mix vigorously for a minute. Add milk while continuously stirring. Keep stirring till the sauce thickens . Add salt, pepper, cheese and sausages. Mix well till cheese melts. Remove from flame.

For the zaatar pizza:
Drizzle a generous amount of olilve oil onto the pizza and sprinkle zaatar powder.