Monday, 22 August 2011

Pizza with Fresh Tomato and Cheese

just out of the oven: pizza with tomato and cheese

We have been perfecting our pizzas using dough from the local bakery/fırın as in my recent post as we find that along with a green salad, these make a lunchtime offering that everyone loves.

But  here it is Ramazan, all good Moslems are fasting from dawn until dusk with not a crumb or trickle of water even in this heat passing their lips.  In this rural area this means that life slows down as people do the minimum in order to conserve their energy.

The speciality of this month-long period is pide (pron: pee-day), a special round-shaped bread sprinkled with sesame and nigella seeds. When you buy it hot from the  fırın, it is absolutely irresistible: you can demolish one or half a one without even trying.
half a pide

So when I asked for my ekmek hamuru,  to my surprise, a little ball of dough, much smaller than the one I had had before, appeared in a plastic bag. Why so small, I asked, ahhh they said, it’s pide dough. So I asked for one more which was perfect. It made a crispier base than the regular bread dough and cooked that little bit quicker.

The fridge was full of fresh tomatoes from Ayvacık market so this quick method of making a tomato topping was ideal: grating them instead of peeling and chopping, and then adding an amount of tomato purée to the juice.  The taste of that tomato sauce is indescribable. The cheese was Turkish dil peyniri which melts beautifully so use something similar. Mozzarella, perhaps? A few capers, garlic pounded with salt, a scattering of green olives, a bit of olive oil and some dried thyme, that was really a topping fit for a king. Some fresh basil would have been nice at the end but I only had parsley which had to do.

Ingredients for Pizza with Fresh Tomato and Cheese
Serves approximately 6

I bread dough OR 2 pide doughs if you live in Turkey/ whatever you would normally use for a pizza base

4 tomatoes

4 large strips of dil peyniri or other suitable melting cheese

5 cloves garlic

1 handful green olives

2-3 heaped tbsp tomato purée

Thyme, fresh or dried

Fresh basil

Olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


·         Heat the oven to 180°C/350°F.

·         Cut the tomatoes in half and grate them. Add the tomato purée. Crush the garlic with some salt and add pepper. Add some olive oil and a few leaves of basil and stir. Combine with the tomato sauce and stir again.

·         Sprinkle some flour on the counter and roughly roll out both the pide doughs as one,  adding some flour for ease of handling.

·         Transfer to a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and sprinkled with flour. Don’t worry if the dough doesn’t fit or if it tears a little, you can gently tease it into shape with your fingers.  Continue flouring your fingers if the dough is sticky. Eventually it will stretch to reach all four corners of the baking tray.

·         Brush the dough with 2/3 of the tomato sauce, then add the cheese, green olives, capers and thyme. I added a chopped up green pepper which I had in the fridge. In fact, the joy is that you can add whatever takes your fancy on top of that tomato sauce and cheese if you feel like it.

the cheese on top of the first layer of that tomato sauce

having added the second round of tomato sauce

·         Then pour over the remaining tomato sauce, season to taste, and put in the pre-heated oven. It will take about half an hour to cook.  When ready, add more basil and drizzle some more olive oil and serve.

It will be a hit, I promise you!
And so will the pizza below which is a combination of the tomato sauce in this recipe with the caramelised red onions from the previous recipe. As you can see, it looks just great! The taste was even better! I think it's our favourite.

a pizza with the same tomato sauce covered in caramelised red onions

Afiyet olsun!