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Recipe: Make your own pizzas

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Kids are getting so hard to whelm. Some time ago, a few friends with kids called over for a big long lunch, and Jean suggested that I let the little ones decorate their own pizzas.

Turns out the kids were way less interested in topping pizzas than I was. So I kept it simple, throwing on tomato sauce, mozzarella, a little ham, plus a few olives for Jean’s little girl.

I’ve seen pizza bases in the local SuperValu, retailing for a somewhat hefty €6.69, although I picked them up in Gleeson’s of Booterstown. You can also get them in Liston’s.

I’ve never made a base from scratch, and I’m not sure I’d be bothered, so this is the next best thing. My friend Phoebe used to make the most delicious pizzas any of us have ever tasted, spending hours generously kneading her way through copious amount of strong white flour. But we were never satisfied and wanted more. Turned out it was too much work for one person. Phoebe moved away.

So, are these bases with your own toppings cheaper than a manky frozen pizza? Course not. Is it worth it?

Well, yes…

When you make your own tomato sauce – just throw a few glugs of olive oil in the pan, throw in some basil (ideally fresh but use dry if you have it), add a jar of pomodoro or tinned tomatoes and reduce on a pan with a dash of balsamic and a spoon of sugar – plus the bases and a half-decent cheese, you’ll be shelling out around €9 if you get your cheese and tomato ingredients in Lidl, Aldi, or an ethnic store. Then, add in whatever extra ingredients you have lying around and it might come closer to €10-12, or more if you go to a more expensive shop.

For this money, you’re getting three 12 inch pizzas, of restaurant quality, with one of the lightest, crispest, and most delicious pizza bases I’ve ever tasted. I’ve since made my own pizzas, topping them with anchovies (mmmmmmmchovies), capers, and olives, and I think they make a nicer, and much cheaper treat than what’s on offer in the likes of Domino’s or your local chipper.

And no…

Over €6.50 seems a little bit hefty for three (albeit delicious) pizza bases in a supermarket. Ultimately it’s just fancy bread.

On balance…

In spite of the irking cost of the bases, I reckon this treat represents good value, and perhaps your family will find making them more interesting than my friend’s kids did.



16 Comments

  1. They have much cheaper premade bases in Fresh Supermarket. I’ve also seen them in Fallon & Byrne but not sure what the price was.

  2. We’ve rarely bought frozen pizza or Dominos since we started making our own bases/pizzas. With a breadmaker, there’s no hassle of kneading etc either – just throw the ingredients in and it’s ready 90 minutes later. Just took a bit of trial and error with the baking (simple in the end – hottest possible oven, and no baking sheets, just a floured pan)

  3. I have never had a delivery pizza but I can’t understand how you can baulk at paying such a “high” price for ready made pizza bases when home made ones are almost free! Anyhoo, those bases are €4.50 for a pack if three in Supervalu Cork. Napolina do them too but they are not fresh and aren’t very nice.

  4. “Ideally fresh”, you say, about the basil. Well answer me this, PETER, how does one keep one’s basil fresh? I am growing some but our relationship is tumultuous at best and as it gets into its adolescence I suspect it would be better for cleaning drains than for garnishing pizzas.

  5. Rosemary – you can freeze the leaves. Ultimately the plants don’t last forever, they get leggy and stop producing leaves but a new plant only costs 1.50 in tesco.

    I second the suggestion of using a breadmaker to make your own dough – you can get dolmio 00 flour in some supermarkets which makes the base extra crispy, but regular bread flour is also fine.

  6. Yep – someone who knows about this stuff told me that you shouldn’t expect basil plants to last, at best you’ll keep them alive for a few weeks. It’s fine really – you’ll have fresh basil during that time whereas the packet stuff wilts very quickly, and as Liam says the plants can be picked up for cheap.

  7. Superquinn sell the same bases for 3.99

  8. @Rosemary – Good tip here: If you are freezing any herbs, make sure you wash it before you freeze it, but I find a lot of them wilt or shrivel when defrosted, especially mint, parsley, and coriander.
    Another good tip from my friend Roisin: remove the plant from its tiny pot, place in larger pot. Anyway: phttp://marcsala.blogspot.com/2007/08/save-basil-tip-to-keep-it-fresh.html

  9. Peter, I have often made delicious pizzas using pitta breads-which are waaay cheaper than bases. Just brush both sides with olive oil, add sauce and topping and place in hot oven for 10 mins. Try it and see what you think.

  10. p.s. placing them on a wire rack, in a preheated oven ensures crispiness!

  11. It takes about 8 minutes to make the dough, then let it rest for about 30mn and you are done. It will cost you about 1 euro for 3 bases. Making bread by hand sounds daunting but really it’s just kneading using the same motion, it’s not hard at all. And you can always use some bread hooks on your food mixer to speed things up. You can also make the dough the day before, put it in the fridge (covered or it will dry), and let it prove overnight. And it freezes well too

  12. Hi Peter,
    Great post – thanks! Consider using a cookie cutter on the dough to make mini pizzas and keep kids interested – our Nippers love doing this.
    I second the use of bread machine – 45 mins for us! But even before we got our favourite kitchen appliance we’d do a big batch by hand, make a couple and freeze the rest either in pizza sized lumps or rolled out and wrapped. I find it better to defrost a lump and roll out. In fact we’re having pizza tonight! yum!

  13. I don’t have a breadmaker, but I think my pizza bases are pretty good, made with the dough hook on a Kenwood chef, with 00 flour and a little wholewheat too. Freshly made is everything.

  14. You should check out the Mediterranean wraps in Aldi, they make a lovely crispy base without all the hassle.

  15. Pizza dough takes about five minutes to make. I use Delia Smith’s recipe from her How to Cook. I make the dough in the morning before I go to work, leave it to prove in the fridge, and have a dinner ready within 15 minutes when I come home. Much quicker and nicer than ordering in or buying bases.

  16. pizza dough is the easiest thing to make fresh (less than 10 minutes ).i would love to know where in Ireland you can buy San Marzano Tomatoes (brand name strianese is the most popular).all in all fresh is the best. previous poster seems to leave dough in fridge. why?( it rises better outside at room temperature!)

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