Valentine’s Day Pizzettes

Alrighty, the obligatory Valentine’s Day post. At the request of my 20th Century Food Systems professor, we’re all bringing in heart-shaped foods to today’s class. This was good thinking on our prof’s part: today’s 2 hour and 45 minute seminar is on organic and inorganic nitrogen fertilizer (riveting…) and what better way to stimulate discussion than with cute heart-shaped food.

Rather than bake something overtly cliche/sappy/cutesy, I decided to explore the opposite end of the aesthetic spectrum: pizza. Granted, these particular pizzas aren’t exactly the most low-brow of the species; I took the recipe from sustainable-foodie-demi-goddess Alice Waters’s cookbook the Art of Simple Food AND these ‘pizzettes’ are heart shaped. On today’s playlist: Feist (SO MUCH FEIST), this awesome cover of “Limit to Your Love” by James Blake, the new Fleet Foxes song “Helplessness Blues,” Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros’ “Home” (ok, I realize this is incredibly cheesy but it’s such a good sing-along-while-you-bake-song), and of course Arcade Fire’ now Grammy winning album The Suburbs. Happy Valentine’s Day!

2 tsp. of dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/4 cup unbleached white flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour (the original calls for rye flour)
3 1/4 cups unbleached white flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup cold water
1/4 cup olive oil
your choice of toppings!

1. Stir together yeast and 1/2 cup lukewarm water. Mix thoroughly with 1/4 cup unbleached white flour and 1/4 cup whole wheat flour. Allow the mixture to stand for 30 minutes until bubbly.
2. In another bowl, mix together 3 1/4 cups of unbleached white flour and salt. Once the starter is ready, mix it with the dry ingredients along with 3/4 cold water, and 1/4 cup olive oil.
3. Mix thoroughly with either your hands or a stand mixture. If using hands, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is soft and elastic, about 5 minutes. If the dough is too wet and sticky, add more flour, but only enough to form a soft, slightly sticky dough. If using a stand mixture, fit it with the dough hook and knead for about 5 minutes. The dough is the right texture when it pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
4. Put the dough in a large bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until it’s doubled in size, about 2 hours. Or let the dough rise slowly overnight in the fridge. Remove from the fridge 2 hours before shaping.
5. Divide the dough into two balls and form each into a smooth ball. Allow the balls to rest at room temperature, wrapped loosely in plastic, for about an hour.
6. Flatten the balls into a disks about 5-6 inches in diameter, flour lightly, cover, and let rest for another 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. (The original recipe calls for a baking stone on the lowest rack of the oven, but I don’t have a baking stone so I used a good ‘ol baking sheet with some parchment paper.)
7. Gently stretch the disks into rounds about 10 inches in diameter. Brush the dough with olive oil and leave a 1/2 inch border. **I used the second dough for the individual, heart shaped pizzettes.** Top with your favorite ingredients! I used a fig and an herbed goat cheese with a traditional tomato sauce for the individual pizzas and I honey-carmalized shallots with garlic and the herbed goat cheese for the larger pizza. Yum!


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