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eggplant, tomato, and mozzarella pizza

September 7, 2010

This pizza dough was a troublemaker from the start. Admittedly, my mom’s KitchenAid has become a bit of a crutch for me in making dough, such that I’m slightly a fish out of water when it comes to making a dough without a stand mixer on hand. So I probably should have known that when we mixed this one, adding a small amount of olive oil to a large amount of flour would result in little round pellets of oil-flour that wouldn’t fully incorporate into the dough when the water was added. 


And I probably should have known that when Pioneer Woman says that this dough should be made at least 24 hours in advance, if not 3 or 4 days, she probably doesn’t mean that we can throw the ingredients together, leave for 3 hours, and come back to a crust that’s practically thrown itself in the oven for us. 


Also, I probably shouldn’t have promised C that after rising, the dough wouldn’t be nearly as sticky as it was when he mixed it, and that by the time he’d have to stretch it out to fit the pan, things would be much easier. 

However. The dough did rise quite a bit when we got back to the house—maybe even doubled—and once C kneaded it around for a few minutes, stretched it out into the pan, and scraped the wads of gluey dough off his hands, we were pretty much good to go. 

The pizza was ultimately delicious, too. Granted, we probably should’ve parbaked the crust a bit more before adding the toppings, because it ended up being so thick that by the time the cheese was brown-almost-burned, the dough innards were still a bit underdone and innards-y. 


Still, though, I’ve tried many a pizza crust involving just flour, water, yeast, oil, and salt, and been pretty underimpressed with most of them—usually, it ends up being so bland that I feel the need to cover it with cheese (not that I really need an excuse for that). This one, though, was completely awesome—so much so that I actually went back for a corner piece with fewer toppings. And I’m not really even a crust person.

Eggplant, Tomato, and Mozzarella Pizza
[If you’re using a stand mixer, you’re probably better off going to Pioneer Woman’s original recipe and using that one. Here, I’ve altered it according to our lack of a stand mixer and what I think might work better for the liquid incorporation, but PW’s version is probably more dependable if you’re well-equipped. Plus, she’s the bomb-diggity, so.]
Ingredients:
1 teaspoon active dry or instant yeast
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 whole large eggplant
1 pint grape tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced or sliced
8 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced thin
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Directions:
1. Sprinkle yeast over 1 1/2 cups warm (not lukewarm) water.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Combine olive oil with yeast/water mixture, pour into flour mixture, and mix until just combined.  
3. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and store in the fridge until you need it—preferably at least 24 hours in advance. Alternatively, leave on the counter until doubled in size—probably 2 hours or so, 3.5 hours max, depending on your kitchen temperature.
4. Preheat oven broiler.
5. Slice the eggplant thinly. Sprinkle both sides with kosher salt and place into a strainer in the sink. Allow to sit for 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse eggplant lightly in cold water, then pat the slices dry between layers of paper towels.
6. Slice grape tomatoes in half lengthwise and toss into a bowl with minced garlic.
7. Cut eggplant slices into fourths and toss with olive oil. Arrange on a baking sheet and place 8 inches under the broiler.
8. Broil for 3 minutes, then toss around and broil another 3 minutes. Remove pan from oven and add tomato/garlic mixture. Broil for 2 to 3 minutes, then remove and set aside. (May do this 1 hour in advance.)
9. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
10. Drizzle olive oil on a large baking sheet and use fingers to coat thoroughly. Remove half the pizza dough from the bowl. [Hmmm…we used all the dough. In retrospect, probably why it was so thick. Still yummy, though! If you’re better at reading instructions than we are and only use half, you probably won’t have to parcook the crust as long, if at all.] Stretch pizza dough into a large rectangle, pressing with fingers to finish forming. Dough will be very thin. [Or…not.]
11. Bake for 5 minutes or so, just until the dough starts to firm up a little.
12. Lightly drizzle a little olive oil on the dough. Lay mozzarella slices over the surface of the dough. Spread vegetables all over the surface of the cheese. Top with Parmesan.
13. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly. Remove from pan and slice. Serve immediately.

Source: Pioneer Woman

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