December 12, 2012


    This past week has been dedicated to decking the halls, making Christmas cards and drinking hot chocolate.  So to stay in the spirit, we created a rich winter white pie.

   I believe that some of the most creative food is made when people use the resources they have on hand and just go for it.   I picked up our fresh box of produce from our CSA and just could not be   bothered to go out and grab other ingredients for pie that we usually resort to, like mozzarella.

Hen of the woods.  (I heart our CSA)

A sophisticated spread...


Winter White Pie


1/3 cup creme fraiche
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
 1 Tsp. fresh thyme
1 garlic glove
salt and pepper

1/3 c. grated parmesan
1/2 c. mushrooms
1 tsp. truffle oil

(makes 2 large pies or 3 small pies)
1 1/2 c. water
1 1/2 tsp. yeast
3 c. flour
2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. olive oil

   Start off by cooking the mushrooms in a little bit of olive oil for a few minutes.  Season and set aside. Next, make the spread.  Add all of the ingredients to a food processor and pulse a few times.  Once everything is all set, load up the pie with the spread and toppings.  Bake in the oven for 7 minutes or until you see some char or golden brown color on the crust.  Top it off with a little truffle oil and voila!

   This is actually a very easy pie to assemble, however be careful when removing the pie from the oven.  We had an incident...Erich was removing the pizza from the oven at an unfortunately steep angle.  The pie slid and fell to the bottom of the oven.  As it made it's descent, the brie slid off the top of the pie with most of the mushrooms.  We were very sad.  So if you make this pie, and you remove it successfully, let me know how it tastes!  Even though most of the toppings fell to their deaths in the hot, hot stove, the flavor that did remain was very good!

   Hope you are all having a festive holiday season with your family and friends.

December 4, 2012

Dough No!

Ashley and I have been making pies together for about 3 yrs. Mainly, our focus has been on the toppings. I know what you pizza geeks are thinking, "toppings are nice, but how's your crust? The crust is what makes a good pie!" I know! We've been neglecting the most important part of the pizza. Moving to Ditmas Park, not too far from Di Fara's, the makers of arguably the best pizza pie in NYC. Our oversight became a bit embarrassing, and we have decided to take steps to improve the quality of our crust.

We've followed basic pizza instructions,(Bake at the hottest temperature your oven can reach. Don't over load the pie with too many toppings so it remains crisp, not soggy,etc.),and have been pretty happy with the results. The holy grail of the pizza maker, that elusive "char", has always eluded us. You know "char". Those tiny burnt spots on the bottom and top crust of a pizza that signify that the pie was cooked the way it was suppose to be. Hot and fast. (in some places at temperatures approaching 1000°F for less than 2 minutes!). Achieving this char is a skill in and of itself. A careful combination of oven temperature and dough consistency must come together to get such a result.

Perusing the interwebs, we came across a page that shared some great insight for achieving a perfectly charred crust at home ( Reading through the page, it's a lot to take in. We decided to start by increasing the amount of water we used in our usual dough recipe so that the crust remains chewy as it cooks at the high temp.  We also let the dough rise for a longer time in the fridge for a more even, controlled consistency. In terms of baking, we decided to preheat our pizza stone under our oven's broiler to get it super hot. Also, we moved our oven rake to its highest position (Heat rises. In wood burning pizza ovens, the difference in temperature between the bottom and top of the cooking chamber can be as big as 300°F with only a foot difference in height!)

As for toppings, I dusted off a combo that I used to great acclaim at a pizza party Ashley and I threw last year:

5 oz roasted salt pork
5 oz smoked mozzarella
1/2 red onion
1 small thin sliced purple potato.

Nothing too fancy. Just something simple, that would lend itself to being crisped up at a high temperature.

The results? Pretty good. The dough got a bit more char than usual, and it gained a nice crunch (though not the chewiness that we were were hoping for). The the salt pork and purple potato crisped up nicely on the higher rake in the oven too.  Although the pizza crust did not turn out perfect, it definitely got us closer to home pizza crust nirvana.