Fun, Easy, Yummy

Though Italian in origin, pizza is a globally popular dish with many mouthwatering variations from around the world. You can certainly have it delivered to your door or pop a frozen pizza in the oven, but making your own pizza gives you the opportunity to experiment with pizzas inspired by different cuisines or your own tastes. Once you have a pizza dough in hand, you can top it with any number of ingredients and never even have the same pizza twice. Here is our simple guide to making pizza dough and three palate-pleasing pizza recipes to put it – or a store-bought crust – to use.

Homemade Pizza Dough

Makes 2 pizza crusts

The consumer desire for homemade or home-baked pizza has beckoned the supermarket availability of ready-to-roll-out pizza dough and ready-baked pizza shells needing nothing more than topping ingredients. Store-bought pizza dough and crusts are savory solutions for the days you want pizza – pronto! – but on those days you have more time or feel the need to knead some dough, make the following homemade pizza dough recipe.

Ingredients:

1-3/4 cups warm water

1 tablespoon honey

1 packet or tablespoon active dry yeast

5 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons salt

 

Directions:

1. Pour water into the bowl of a standup mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add honey and blend slightly. Sprinkle yeast over water and allow it to sit for 5 to 10 minutes or until it is bubbly and yeast has dissolved.

2. Add 1 cup flour, oil and salt and mix until well-combined. Add 3-1/2 cups flour and mix with dough hook until dough starts to come away from the sides of the bowl and holds together. If dough seems wet, add a bit more flour. Knead with dough hook for 8 to 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and no longer sticky.

3. Form dough into a ball and place it in a greased bowl, turning it so the top is also greased. Cover with plastic wrap or a slightly damp towel and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until dough has doubled in size. (Note: If you are in a hurry, allow the dough to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before rolling and topping; it won't be as flavorful or light as a fully risen dough, but it will still be homemade and delicious.)

4. Punch dough down and place it on a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into two even pieces and use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll each piece into a 12- to 14-inch crust.

 

Apple Walnut Pizza

Makes 1 (12- to 14-inch) pizza

Reminiscent of apple cheddar pie, this unusual sweet and savory pizza is a welcome change from the typical tomato sauce and cheese topped rendition.

Ingredients:

1 homemade or store-bought pizza dough, rolled out

3 Granny Smith apples, cored, thinly sliced

1 cup apple juice

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons honey or agave

1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts

2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

 

Directions:

1. Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place dough on a pizza peel or the back of a large baking sheet dusted with cornmeal.

2. Meanwhile, place apples and apple juice in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are fork-tender.

3. Drain off juice and reserve. Arrange apple slices on pizza dough. In a small saucepan, whisk together cornstarch, apple juice, cinnamon, and honey or agave. Cook over medium heat until cornstarch is dissolved and mixture is hot. Drizzle sauce over apples.

4. Sprinkle evenly with walnuts and top with cheese. Slice pizza onto baking stone. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly, and the crust is crisped. Slice and serve.

 

Asparagus, Red Onion and Fontina Pizza

Makes 1 (12- to 14-inch) pizza

Try this fabulous five-ingredient pizza cut into small wedges and served as an impressive appetizer.

Ingredients:

1 homemade or store-bought pizza dough, rolled out

10 stalks asparagus, ends trimmed, blanched, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 red onion, halved, very thinly sliced

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

2 to 3 cups fontina cheese

 

Directions:

1. Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place dough on a pizza peel or the back of a large baking sheet dusted with cornmeal.

2. Arrange asparagus and red onion on pizza dough. Sprinkle with parsley and top with fontina cheese.

3. Slide pizza dough onto pizza stone and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and the crust is crisped. Slice and serve.

 

Curried Hummus Pizza

Makes 1 (12- to 14-inch) pizza

A hearty vegetarian pizza, curried hummus serves as a base for a medley of Mediterranean toppings.

Ingredients:

1 homemade or store-bought pizza dough, rolled out

1 cup prepared hummus

2 teaspoons curry powder

3/4 cup pitted black olives, chopped

3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, drained, chopped

1 cup marinated artichoke hearts, drained, chopped

1/2 cup shredded fresh basil leaves

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

 

Directions:

1. Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place dough on a pizza peel or the back of a large baking sheet dusted with cornmeal.

2. In a bowl, mix hummus with curry powder. Spread hummus on pizza dough. Top with remaining ingredients.

3. Slide pizza onto pizza stone and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and the crust is crisped. Slice and serve.?

FOR MORE SHEKNOWS RECIPES:

Make your own condiments

Comfort food makeovers

Turn your leftovers into mouthwatering meals

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