Sunday, 1 September 2013

Mamma Mia! It's a Puff Pastry Pizza!

Fanny proudly declares this recipe is one of her own brought back from 'foreign parts' for our delight. Today, it seems strange to be introducing a pizza to the nation, but I am sure back in 1970 it was a continental revelation. My own memories of 1970's pizza were frozen Findus French Bread, which were pretty tasteless I remember, and not very Italian - so at least Fanny has the right country in mind. In fairness to Fanny she suggests that I can make this pizza with either 'ordinary' bread dough as they do in Italy, or with her very own 6-minute rough puff paste. Fanny doesn't give me a recipe for bread dough, ordinary or not, so I am taking the hint and making her rough puff...

Following the previous techniques for paste, I mix the flour, fats - I'm using Cookeen this time for that authentic 1970's feel - salt and water. This contains more fat than before. After rolling it into a flat panel, Fanny tells me to fold one end right over to the centre, then the other to meet it, then fold again to make four layers. Turning it 'half clockwise' I repeat these steps, and then turn, roll and fold twice more. It now needs to be stored in the fridge for at least 24 hours. Oh. No pizza tonight then. Where's that home delivery leaflet...? So, next day, I roll out the paste to a sort of circle and place it on a baking sheet.

The toppings for the pizza seem familiar enough - tomatoes, tomato purée, cheese and optional pimento. Fanny suggest her beloved anchovies and olives too, but neither are for me. 

Fanny tells me the tomatoes should be skinned and rough cut, and in case I have ever felt that this was a tiresome chore she gives me a technique for skinning them 'at speed'. I can't say I've ever felt the usual process of plunging in boiled water was lengthy or time consuming, but ever the good student I am willing to give it a go Fanny-style. The technique is to fork a tomato and hold it at the side of a strong flame, and watch the skins roll back.

Sorry Fanny, but for me this took an age, perhaps I wasn't doing it right, maybe my flame wasn't strong enough or I wasn't bold enough? Plus with four tomatoes to skin, I'd say it would be much quicker to plunge. Regardless, the skinned tomatoes are skinned and rough cut, and then I notice that Fanny does not ever mention them again - another recipe step missed out to test me.  For the assembly of the pizza everything seems back to front, of course. Slices of Emmenthal cheese (this is how she spells it - not very Italian at any rate) on first, then I presume the tomatoes that Fanny forgets, herbs, sliced grilled peppers, season. And then a lattice of tomato purée over the top. Really.

Before baking Fanny urges me to cover the surface with something she has invented herself - Garlic Oil. She proudly gives the recipe, essentially crushed garlic and olive oil which is left for a month in a stone jar. A month. Not wishing to delay this pizza any longer, I use some I bought in the supermarket - I wonder if Fanny sold her invention? I drizzle rather than 'cover' hoping that's what Fanny means.

The pizza needs to bake until it's a 'good golden brown', again no timings, but mine looks good after about 20 minutes. Fanny says I can serve it hot or cold. Fanny has used bread dough in her picture, and it does look like a pizza.

My version looks similar actually, and works really quite well - the pastry is crumbly and very flaky, but it's tasty and way better than those French Bread things. not exactly fast food with all the techniques and inventions, but i suppose it would be next time! It's not a pizza as I'd know it, but thanks to Fanny for bringing it over to the UK all those years ago!


  1. It looks great, I actually really like the look of the lattice!

    1. It tasted good too - the puree lattice tasted very intensely tomato-y! Thanks!