"Athenian Pie" Pizza

Posted by francis keyser Thursday, September 3, 2009
Taste Level: VGR
Cost: $20 and under
Serves: 4
Prep Time: 40-45 min.
Cook Time: 25-30 min.
Difficulty: 2

Out of the many Greek Pizzas out there why should you try this one? Because of this ones sauce of course! I did not take much time coming up with toppings but I really took my time coming up with this sauce. This sauce really makes this the best Greek styled pizza I've ever had. Instead of using brown sugar and garlic, I decided figs and shallots would give this a more traditional Greek flavor. Then I decided on rosemary and thyme to take a step out of Italy and into Greece. I will admit I was afraid of using figs in a pizza sauce when I first had the idea but I have no fears anymore, just happy taste buds! If you love Greek styled pizzas make sure to put this one at the top of your must try list. You will not be disappointed!

(For instructions on how to make your own sourdough pizza skin check posting dated 7/7/09.)

Ingredients:
Toppings
17 Kalamata olives (halved)
1/3 cup feta (crumbled)
1/3 cup red onion (sliced in rings)
1/3 cup baby spinach (chopped)
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves (chopped)
6 1/2 oz artichoke hearts in oil (chopped)
10 oz fresh mozzarella (shredded)

Sauce
6 oz tomato sauce
2 tbsp shallots (diced)
1/3 cup figs (diced)
2 Campari Tomatoes (diced)
1 tsp fresh rosemary (diced)
1/2 tsp fresh thyme (diced)
kosher salt (to taste)
fresh crack pepper (to taste)
2 1/4 tsp olive oil

Brushing sauce
2 tbsp red wine
2 tbsp artichoke heart oil (saved from jar)

Crust
1 portion of sourdough pizza dough check posting for 7/7/09 or pre-made crust

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Tossing dough
What works best for me is I strongly throw the ball of dough down on a solid flat surface covered with a piece of wax paper until it is large and flat enough for me to easily balance on top of both of my fists. Then I make an X with my arms keeping my fists close together (backhand to back hand, the dough atop of them both) and I fling the dough upwards with my fingers as I simultaneously bring my arms quickly parallel (palm to palm) about 3-4 inches apart. As the dough falls I remake my fists and catch the dough atop them again in the X position and repeat until the dough has formed a 12-14 inch crust.

(Alternately you can lay dough on a solid flat surface covered with wax paper and squish flat with hands. Roll into a ball and slam the dough down onto your solid flat surface covered with a piece of wax paper. Using your fist mush the dough down repeatedly as if you were punching it softly but firmly (this helps get any air bubbles out of it.) Now using your finger tips press and stretch dough until you have formed a 12-14 inch circular pizza skin (you can also make an easier rectangle skin.)

Brushing Sauce
In a small bowl use a whisk to vigorously mix brushing sauce ingredients.

Sauce
Heat olive oil in small sauce pan over medium heat. Saute Shallots until turning translucent (3-5 min,) add the rest of the ingredients and bring to simmer stirring frequently. Let simmer 10-20 minutes.

Pizza
Sprinkle corn meal onto a baking sheet and lay skin on to it. Use a basting brush to coat the crust with your brushing sauce and then pour the fig marinara into the center of crust. Spread sauce evenly up to about an inch and a half away from the edge of the crust (I find using a pastry spatula works great for spreading tomato sauce.) Mix together mozzarella with spinach and basil and then evenly sprinkle over the sauce. Add olives, onions, artichoke hearts and then sprinkle feta over the top.

Place pizza on baking sheet lightly coated with corn meal. Arrange your oven racks to where they are on the upper and lower thirds of the oven. If you are using a baking stone as we do place it directly onto the floor of a preheated oven for 45 minutes (but you will be less likely to ruin your pizza stone if you place it on a rack at its lowest position.) Place baking sheet with pizza on the lower oven rack and bake for 7-10 minutes, move pizza on baking sheet to upper rack and bake 7-10 minutes (if cooking a second pizza you can put it on the lower rack now on a separate baking sheet.) Slide Pizza off of baking sheet directly onto baking stone and cook for 3-8 minutes or until crisp and bottom is browning (if you were cooking a second pizza you would move it to the top rack on its baking sheet once you slide the first pizza onto the baking stone and of course you would move it to the baking stone once you have remove the first pizza and cooked the second one 7-10 minutes on the upper rack.)

Slide pizza onto a cutting board or baking sheet and use a pizza slicer to cut into 8-10 slices and serve hot with your favorite pizza sides, seasonings and sauces!

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