We have a family tradition of going to our local pizza place every Friday night. Master Three has a huge crush on one of the waitresses, and has made friends with one of the Pizza Makers, so it’s a ritual I think we’ll have to keep to for a while. He just has to go and see the “Little Princess” every week – he runs up to her and gives her a huge hug and a kiss – he clearly has a thing for older women! Master Three usually has the smoked salmon pizza, so I figure there’s not too much wrong with that once a week. This week, we had the neighbours in for drinks and I decided I wanted to give the Spelt Pizza a go – the kids could eat it, the adults could eat it – and it’s easy – super easy to make.
This is one of Jo Whitton’s recipes from her allergy-friendly food blog at quirkycooking.blogspot.com Jo’s blog focuses on tweaking everyday recipes and making them healthier and more interesting.
I’d never cooked with spelt before, but I was at the Health Food Shop a few days before and saw the grain and the flour available, so I bought what I needed and took it home. The spelt dough needs at least 2 hours (and up to 6 if you want) to prove, so it’s a good recipe to make if you have an afternoon at home, and the heater is on – especially with this cold, cold winter we are having. I made the entire recipe as suggested in the book, but there would be absolutely nothing stopping you putting on any topping of your choice, so long as you adjusted the pre-cooking time, and cooking time to suit your toppings.
The spelt dough is quite sticky, but don’t be put off. As I mentioned earlier, it does take a long time to prove, so make sure you have the time. I made the dough straight after lunch, let it rise for a few hours, then rolled it out into 4 good sized pizzas – I did a couple of big circles, and a couple of oblongs for good measure. The recipe did say to prove it in a plastic bowl, but I must have skipped over that bit – and I used a ceramic bowl – but there were no ill effects. When I initially took the tea towel off the top, my heart sunk as I thought it was going to be a nightmare to get out of the bowl, and thought I should have oiled the bowl first – but it was fine. Just make sure you put it in a BIG bowl, as it rises quite a bit, and makes a lot of dough.
You will need a bit of extra flour to make the dough a little less sticky when you roll it out – so make sure you have some on hand. Master 3 had the time of his life helping me roll the dough out – I’m so glad I bought him an apron recently…he really got into it!!
I made the lamb mix for the topping, which is also very quick and easy to make. I used a home grown chilli, which made a huge improvement to the overall flavour, and next time I think I’ll go down a more middle eastern path and use some more spices, sumac, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and maybe even add in some pine nuts or use a chilli pesto to spread as a base for the lamb mixture.
I brushed the bases before I pre-cooked them with left over curry oil from the Cauliflower Sausages, and it was terrific. It was mellow curry flavour and I’m sure it contributed to the overall success of the dish. I think I overcooked the bases and lamb a little, so do watch it when it’s in the oven.
One thing I didn’t expect – this pizza is really, really satisfying. A few small pieces and you feel quite full. It must be the spelt grain – no wonder it’s so acclaimed.
I’m a bit torn about this dish – the pizza base was great. I loved the taste of the lamb, but I did think there needed to be more of it, and that it would have been greater still with some flavours other than the lamb, yoghurt, rocket and lemon juice.
I’ll definitely do the bases again and play around with the flavourings to see what I come up with.
Want the recipe I used? Check the recipe tab!!