Good news first!!
My daughter got accepted into UNC at Chapel Hill last week, one of the best universities in southern USA. She is still in the second (and the last semester) of senior high school right now but she had applied for "early decision" phase of that U and made it there. We are very proud parents indeed. Her college starts in August! :)
I watched another talented Indian-American student of Chapel Hill (doing his Masters there) on TV, who sings very well but dresses like a nerd! (Simon's words! :D) Anoop is contesting in "American idol" this year. He calls himself "Noop Dawg!" aka Anoop Desai! I hope he makes it to the end unlike that dreaded "Sanjaya" 2 years ago! :D
It snowed here yesterday at last and it's all gone now! :P
Well...coming to today's menu...my daughter loves Spinach and Feta combo in any dish, specially in Greek Spanakopita. I had baked a Spinach and Feta bread last month which she loved. Last week, I thought I will make her a Italian pizza with a Greek twist, a Spinach-Feta Pizza Pie as my "thank you for being wonderful daughter all these years" to her, which she loved as well. This deep pan Pizza pie is lot different from the usual open faced Tomato sauce based Pizza which came out great. With a piece of the same Pizza dough, I made a very simple dessert pizza which was delicious too. So here they are, enjoy the recipes! :))
Spinach-Feta Pizza pie slices topped with Tomato sauce and cheese and a small Peach-Grape dessert Pizza:
You need a deep pan pizza baker with perforated bottom to circulate the hot air which keeps the bottom crust crisp rather than soft (see the photo of the 14" deep Pizza pan below in the collage). If you don't have this pan, you can use a 12" round deep cake or regular deep Pizza pan to bake as well but at the last 5-10 mins of baking, you need to take out the pizza pie out of the pan and place it directly in the oven to make the crust crisp.
You need a 14" wide and 2"-3" deep round pizza pan.
For the crust, you need:
4 cups all purpose flour, (may need a bit more flour, add only if you need it),
1 tsp salt,
3 tbsp olive oil or Canola oil,
1 tbsp sugar,
1 package of dry yeast, quick rise yeast is good too,
1 cup warm water or milk, between 110F to 115F.
2 more tbsp oil to brush the pizza dough.
1. Heat water/milk just enough to make it warm to 110F, add yeast and sugar, mix well and let it rest for 5-10mins or until frothy in a mixer bowl if you are using the Machine to knead with a dough hook or in a big bowl.
2. Add oil, 4 or more cups of sifted flour+ salt slowly, bit by bit, to the machine and knead for 5 to 10 mins to a firm and smooth dough to get pizza dough consistency. Brush some oil on top of the dough.
3. Cover the bowl, let it rise in a warm place until double or for 1 to 2 hrs.
While it's rising, make the filling and let it cool.
4. Once the dough is risen, punch down, take a tennis size ball out of it and keep it aside for a 6" small dessert pizza. Divide the rest of the dough to 2 pieces, 1/3 rd and 2/3rds. 2/3 dough goes to the bottom of the pan, and 1/3 rd dough goes on top of the filling.
Roll out both of them into 15-16" rounds, 1/8" thickness.
5. Spray some oil on the pan. Drape 2/3rd part of the rolled dough on the bottom of the pan snugly on the bottom and over with dough slightly hanging over the edges of the pan as you see in the collage. You can cut of the extra dough later if it's too much. Brush some oil on top of the dough.
6. Cover both rolled doughs with clean kitchen towel and let it rest for about 10mins to rise again.
You need these for topping the pizza:
2-3 tbsp ready made Pizza tomato sauce from the jar mixed with 1-2 tsp sugar if the sauce is tangy (heat it and cool before use), 1-2 tsp oil to brush on top, 1 tbsp each of Mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese, 1/2 tsp chopped fresh Basil or dry Basil (optional) if you have it to sprinkle on top.
Make the filling:
I used 1/2 tbsp butter, 10 oz pack of frozen Spinach, thawed and squeezed dry, 1 tbsp dry Onion flakes or 1/4 minced onion, 1/4 tsp red dry chilli flakes, 5 oz of crumbled Feta Cheese, 2 tbsp grated Mozzarella cheese , 1 tbsp Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, 1 tsp Cornstarch, 2 tsp milk, 1/2 tsp Garlic powder.
1. Heat butter in a pan on medium heat, add chilli flakes, minced onion or onion flakes, saute.
2. Add the Spinach, stir fry until it's fairly dry and cooked soft. Sprinkle cornstarch+milk, cook for minute.
3. Turn down the heat and add all the other ingredients, adjust the spices, mix gently and stir for 1-2 mins. Keep aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 425F.
1. Uncover the pan lined with dough, sprinkle 2 tbsp Mozzarella on top. Then add cooled Spinach-Feta mixture and spread evenly in the pan to cover the bottom.
2. Cover with the rolled out dough, pinch the edges of the both doughs on the edge to seal them together, you can cut out the excess dough if it's too much.
3. Cut an "X" or a slit in the middle to let the air out while baking or prick with aknife all over the top dough. Now, add just enough Tomato sauce on top of the dough, do not use too much which makes the top layer soggy. (Hold the cheese and Basil to use it later to avoid burning)
4. Put the pan in the oven and bake for 35 to 45mins or until golden on top and baked. Ovens are different, please use your judgment.
5. After you turn off the oven, place th Pizza pie on the cooling rack. Sprinkle Mozzarella-Parmesan cheese, Basil on top of Pizza, it melts as the Pizza pie cools. (I added cheese before baking but they start to burn in the oven! Add it after you turn off the heat and take out the pizza so it just melts, not burn in the heat of hot oven.)
1. If you find the bottom crust still soft when baked in regular pizza deep pan without the holes in the bottom, take out the pie gently out of the pan and place it in the oven again for 5 mins to get it crisp. Wait until the Pie is a bit cooler before you cut into pieces to serve.
2. You can also use store bought Dough to make the crust, but homemade dough is better! :)
I am sending this Spinach and Feta Pizza slice to Sindhura of "Bay leaf" blog, who is hosting a event called "The Bread Mania-Sandwich". Thanks Sindhura, enjoy the entry! :)
Baked Pizza Pie and a dessert Pizza:
Dessert Pizza is easy. I used "all fruit" Peach and Grape preserve I always buy which has less sugar and more fruit. Since tangy pizza doesn't taste good, I sprinkled some brown sugar on top. If you use sweet jams, you don't need to use sugar. Hope you try it.
1. Roll out the saved dough to a 6" thicker circle, brush with little butter (optional). Take few tbsps of preserve and spread evenly all around the pizza leaving an inch at the edges.
2. Sprinkle 1 tbsp brown sugar or as much as you like, on top.
3. Bake at 400F for about 20 mins or until baked. Ovens are different, please use your judgment.
4. Take it out, let it cool on the cooling rack. Serve at room temperature, it's yum.
You can also layer the Pizza with some sliced fresh fruit and Streusel topping on top of the dessert pizza before baking as well! :))
Below is last list of my "Tried and Tasted" dishes I cooked from other bloggers last August before my kitchen was demolished. I haven't been able to cook any from you so far, being busy cooking for events! I should start soon! Click on the collage to make it larger.
Onion Tomato chutney, from Vysh.
Squash Gojju, from Paaru.
Avarekalu Saaru, from Mamatha.
Vegetable Kurma, from Bhags.
Tomato Rasam, from Priya.
Bhindi Gojju, from RC.
Spring onion chutney, from Jayashree.
Majjige Huli, from Anu.
Gutti Vankaya, from Syamu.
Plain paper dosa, from Ramya.
Padavalakai Kootu, from Latha and Lakshmi.
Have a great weekend, Chettinad veg cuisine next! :))