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Crispy-Bottomed Traybake Pizza

Updated: 5 days ago

by Anna Jones from Easy Wins - 12 flavour hits, 125 delicious recipes, 365 days of good eating (4th Estate) 

Photography: Matt Russell


There is a lot to say here. First of all I make a very wet, no-knead dough, so while this recipe needs some time it’s very hands off. It’s the only kind of pizza I would try to make in a domestic oven, which I don’t think gets quite hot enough for thin Neapolitan-style pizza, though I still stand by my frying-pan pizza recipe.

 

The crispy bottom of the dough is what makes this kind of oven-baked Roman pizza so good, so don’t scrimp on the oil. Lots of oil between the dough and the hot tray is what’s going to give you that golden crispy bottom.

 

I’ve given you two routes for the dough – one that is an overnight prove (for maximum flavour in the dough) and one that you can make at lunchtime for your dinner.

 

When it comes to toppings, I keep things pretty simple and truly believe the best pizza is a Margarita. I’ve also given some of my other favourite options – but this is pizza, which I know is personal, so feel free to put on it whatever you love best. Just don’t overload it.



Serves 6–8


Ingredients

1 teaspoon (7g) active dry yeast

2 teaspoons runny honey

700g strong bread flour

½ tablespoon sea salt (about 12g)

40ml extra virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing and finishing

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed

1 x 400g tin good-quality finely chopped tomatoes (I use Polpo ones)

1 ball of mozzarella, torn

a bunch of basil, leaves picked, stalks finely chopped


Plus the toppings you love – these are mine:

1 green chilli, finely sliced

50g Parmesan cheese, grated

2 tablespoons stone-in green olives destoned and torn

1 tablespoon capers


Method


Make the dough

 

Whether you are doing an overnight prove or a shorter prove, stir together 525ml lukewarm water with 1 teaspoon (7g) of active dry yeast and 2 teaspoons runny honey. In a large bowl, mix 700g strong bread flour with 1⁄2 tablespoon sea salt, then add the yeast and honey mixture and 40ml extra virgin olive oil. Stir to combine using a spatula or dough scraper until there are no floury pockets in the dough. The dough will still look scrappy and scruffy at this stage and that’s what you want. Scrape your hands and the sides of the bowl clean and cover with a tea towel.

 

First prove of the dough

 

For an overnight prove put the covered bowl into the fridge until you are ready to work with it. It should have at least doubled in size by the morning. For a shorter prove, knead the dough for 4 minutes until smooth, then leave at room temperature (away from draughts or cold spots) for 1 – 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

 

Second prove

 

If you have proved your dough overnight, get it out of the fridge and allow to come to room temperature. Once it has reached room temperature or, if using the shorter prove, doubled in size, pour 4 tablespoons oil on to a 4cm deep 35 × 35cm roasting tray. Using your hands or a dough scraper gently transfer the dough into the tray. Drizzle then use your hands to rub another 2 tablespoons olive oil over the dough. Gently stretch it to the edge of the tray. Leave it to rest for half an hour to 45 minutes until it’s puffed up to about double the size.

 

Make the quick tomato sauce

 

While the dough is having its last prove, heat a glug of olive oil in a frying pan. Once the oil is warm, but not too hot, add 2 peeled and crushed cloves of garlic and cook on a medium heat until the room smells of garlic and the edges are just beginning to brown. Add a 400g tin of good-quality finely chopped tomatoes and a good pinch of salt and cook on a medium heat for 8 – 10 minutes, until the tomatoes have broken down and the sauce has thickened and sweetened. Turn off the heat.

 

Preheat the oven and shape the pizza

 

Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan. After the dough has had its final rest, dimple the dough once more with the pads of your fingertips. You want the dough to be a bit flatter and less aerated than a focaccia, so don’t be afraid to remove any big air bubbles here.

 

Top the pizza

 

Spread all of the tomato sauce on to the dough, leaving a border around the edges, then scatter a ball of thinly torn mozzarella over it. Then add your toppings. My forever pizza is topped with capers, destoned, torn green olives, finely sliced green chilli and a good grating of Parmesan, but top yours with what you love. Remember this is a big pizza so you can divide it up in half or quarters and finish each one differently.

 

Bake the pizza

 

Drizzle the pizza with another 1 – 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, then bake in the oven for 30 minutes until golden and bubbling.

 



Favourite pizza topping combinations:

 

Classic

Tomato sauce, mozzarella and – once it’s out of the oven – basil.

 

AJ

Tomato sauce, finely sliced onion, finely sliced green chilli, capers, torn green olives.

 

Lemon bianco

No tomato, just mozzarella or ricotta, thinly sliced red onion, thinly sliced lemon.

 

Potato and taleggio bianco

No tomato, just very finely sliced potato, a few rosemary needles, dotted with taleggio.

 

Greens and ricotta

Tomato sauce, greens scrunched with salt and olive oil, ricotta, lemon zest, lots of grated Parmesan when it comes out of the oven.



Drinks tasted on air alongside the pizza.

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