Look at this pizza.
Just look at it.
Doesn’t that make you want to reach through the screen, pick a piece up, and eat the ever-lovin’ daylights out of it?
That’s precisely what I want to do every time I see a picture of a crust like that. Those uneven curves and bubbles. That char. The stray dust of flour on the edge. My god, I can smell it.
So it was when I saw the recent post on Lottie & Doof, about the latest pizza dough recipe from Jim Lahey. I saw it. I had to have it. And my life will never abide a lesser pizza from my oven again.
I thought I had found a great pizza crust recipe. Twice. Well, three times counting the recipe I turned to most often, scribbled in my all-purpose notebook with no source (of course).
But this one. Oh, this recipe.
Just delete all the other links you have to other pizza dough recipes, because this is the only one that will be worth making ever again. It’s dead simple, and it’s phenomenal. A crust like this from your own oven will make you think you can open your own pizza restaurant. You may want to resist that temptation.
Be warned, this no-knead beauty takes about 20-24 hours to prepare (mostly hands-off time, of course). Sure, you’ll fool around with some same-day recipes, and they will be… fine. They’ll do the job well enough. But you will know. You will dream of this crust. You will bite into The Other, and you will know what is lacking. And it will not satisfy you any longer.
Here is the recipe. I got 8 portions of dough out of that (use one per person). Halve it if you want, but be prepared to make it again immediately, because you will want it again immediately. Freeze what you don’t need after letting it rise the first 18 hours. And for the love of Pete, weigh your ingredients. In grams. Even the water (3 cups = 680 grams), because your measuring cup is not that accurate, and this recipe is perfect.
And then, as if it couldn’t get any better, I topped Plato’s Ideal Crust with salty country ham, tangy-sweet Boat Street pickled figs, crisp arugula, and blueberries. And my good god, it was only sublime.
If you think I’m exaggerating, behold. This pizza is so nice, I made it twice. I never make the same thing two nights in a row.
The proof is that the drinks in the photos are different. The first night was beer, the second night was white wine. Proof!
Seriously, though, go make you some pizza.
This recipe was born, as so many are, out of the random detritus found in my fridge. On this occasion, it included some Broadbent country ham left over from our Kentucky Derby party, and a jar of Boat Street Pickled Figs, which are one of the best things I've ever put in my mouth. I can't say good enough things about those pickled figs. Go get you a jar.
So once again, I am compelled to offer substitutions for obscure delicacies. Instead of country ham, use thickly-sliced prosciutto. Instead of pickled figs, use fresh (if you can stand to cook with them while they're in season). Or reconstitute some dried figs in a simmer of vinegar and red wine, port, orange juice, or all of the above. Throw in some herbs if you get a wild hair.
This is a white pizza. Don't go asking where is the tomato sauce, because there isn't any.
- Pizza dough of choice (it is this one)
- 1/2 cup ricotta
- 1/4 cup mascarpone
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 2 teaspoons fresh)
- 1 large pinch cayenne
- Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
- 2-3 slices country ham
- Pickled figs (or fresh figs, quartered)
- A few handfuls of baby arugula
- 1/2 pint blueberries
- Olive oil
1. Prepare the oven as directed here. They will do you right. If you need further assistance, maybe the advice from Lottie & Doof can help.
2. In a bowl, mix together the ricotta, mascarpone, thyme, cayenne, and pepper. Break or cut the country ham into bite-sized pieces.
3. To assemble the pizza, gently and evenly spread the ricotta mixture over the shaped pizza dough, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge. Top with the country ham and pickled figs.
4. Follow the baking instructions found here.
5. Remove from the oven, and scatter the arugula and blueberries over the top. Drizzle with a good-quality olive oil. Slice, serve immediately, and eat it with your hands.