Ingredients (for 2 pizzas)
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, plus a splash more for greasing
250ml warm water
7g (one sachet) fast action dried yeast
375g plain flour
55g ground roasted hazelnuts
1 teaspoon of sea salt
Take a mixing bowl and pour in the water followed by the yeast. The recipe online said to leave it until it went frothy but that never happened (but it didn't seem to have an adverse effect on the end result). Leave it for a few minutes and see what happens!
Stir in the oil. Sieve in the flour, add the hazelnuts (I couldn't find hazelnut meal so I whizzed some up in a food processor) and salt and mix together with your hands until the mixture comes together to form a soft dough.
Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth (this should take about 5 minutes).
Oil your mixing bowl (it doesn't matter if little bits of dough remain from your mixing) and turn the ball of dough around in it so it's coated in a light layer of oil. Leave the dough in the bowl, covered with a clean tea towel, in a warm draught free place for an hour. It should double in size.
Pre-heat your oven to 500F/250C i.e. HOT!
Divide the dough into two even pieces. If you happen to have some polenta, sprinkle some onto 2 baking sheets. This will give your pizzas a crunchy base. Alternatively, dust your baking sheets with flour. Pummel and stretch the dough to fit the baking sheets and then add your toppings. I made the mistake of rolling out the dough on the work surface and then adding toppings which made it very difficult to then get onto a baking tray so I highly recommend getting the dough on the baking sheet first.
I made my own tomato sauce using a splash of olive oil, a finely chopped onion, 4 finely chopped cloves of garlic and a tin of tomatoes. Heat up the olive oil over a medium heat, turn the heat down and then add the onions and garlic. You don't want them to brown but when the onions have turned soft and translucent, throw in the tomatoes. Bring up to a lively simmer then leave on a low heat for about an hour, by then it will become thick and rich.
Then it comes to adding your toppings. A couple of tablespoons of thick tomato sauce makes a good foundation, then you can add whatever takes your fancy. The idea is that the pizzas go into a really hot oven for a very short time so you don't want to pile it high with toppings. Joe and I made ours with a sprinkling of basil...
...chorizo, olives, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, mozzerella, chilli, finished with a sprinkling of parmesan.
Once topped with your favourite morsels, pop in the oven for about 6 minutes. This should be enough time to crisp up the base, melt the cheese and form a charred crust on slices of chorizo.
The photo of the finished article doesn't do it justice (I'm in need of some food photography lessons!) but please believe me when I say the hazelnuts really make a difference. The base was crisp on the outside and had a satisfying chewiness to it. The flavour was also really good, the base wasn't just a bland vehicle for all the toppings but its nutty notes could easily be identified amongst the other strong flavours. All in all, a success!