There are some things I know better than to go trying to make at home.
For instance, candy, right? Hot, molten sugar? On my stove? And do what with it? I’d rather buy a grape Laffy Taffy instead.
Hummus too. No matter how long I whir those damn chickpeas in any sort of contraption, be it a food processor or blender, it never comes close to being as silky as Sabra’s.
Other things, though, I am all about making homemade. Fresh salsa, for one. Whether sweet, or savory, nothing tastes better on grilled chicken, fish, or on a chip than a freshly prepared, juicy, sassy salsa.
I hardly ever buy bottled salad dressings or marinades anymore (except local Bisignano’s!) because dressings and vinaigrettes are so ridiculously delicious and easy to make at home.
6 months ago I wouldn’t have believed myself if I tried to tell, well, myself, that pizza crust would be near the top of my made only in-house list. I mean, yeast? Kneading? Rising? Who has the time?
Ok fine. I was scared. Terrified, even! What if the dough didn’t rise and the crust turned into a pepperoni-peppered frisbee in the oven? Worse yet, what if it tasted like cardboard and I had to look at Ben’s, “Mmm, mmhmm! It’s…good, babe!” translation, “I love you and want to stay married for a long time, but this is God awful.” face?!
Maybe you have the same fears, but I’m here to squash the rumors. Not only have I found homemade pizza crust easy to make, but it doesn’t take nearly the amount of time I thought it did. The recipe I’ve successfully used several times, including for tonight’s dinner of Santa Fe Summer BBQ Pizza, has yet to be anything but light, fluffy, and chewy. Plus, with rise time and all, it’s ready in under an hour!
It is the perfect base for a barrage of Sante Fe & Summer BBQ inspired ingredients including BBQ sauce, creamy black beans, crispy corn kernels, sweet cherry tomatoes, and melted mozzarella cheese too. This was hands down one of the best pizzas I’ve ever made. So fresh, and packed with flavor!
Begin the Santa Fe Summer BBQ Pizza by making the aforementioned homemade crust, which begins as dough. This is the same pizza dough recipe I used after Curtis Stone almost made me spontaneously combust from embarrassment, and seriously, I’m telling you, it couldn’t be easier.
Start by activating the yeast. Combine 1 1/4 cups warm-hot water with 1 packet active dry yeast. “Warm-hot” is a technical term, you see. It means not scalding but not merely warm. Think ultra-relaxing bath tub temp!
Next drizzle in 1 Tablespoon honey. Honey is yeast food, which causes the yeast to activate and create air bubbles, which in turn make your pizza crust light and fluffy!
Set the bowl aside for 5 minutes to let the yeast do its thang. When it’s foamy – it’s ready.
Meanwhile, pulse together 3 cups all-purpose flour with 1 teaspoon salt in a large food processor fitted with a non-sharp S blade. I’ve never tried this recipe without a food processor, but as people have been baking with yeast for over 4,000 years, I think you could probably make this in a big bowl with a little bit o’ elbow grease.
Next drizzle in 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil,
then the activated yeast mixture.
Process the ingredients for about 10 seconds, or until they come together in a ball.
Turn the ball out onto a well-floured surface, then knead the heck out of it for 3 minutes. 3 minutes! I bet you thought it took longer than that, didn’t you? PS: fellow tiled kitchen counter owners – Ben got me this marble slab at Williams & Sonoma for Christmas last year which comes in so handy for jobs like this!
After three minutes, squeeze the dough into two balls then place the balls onto a well-floured baking sheet. Cover the tops well with flour, wrap the sheet in saran wrap, then place it in a warm spot for 40 minutes, or until the dough balls have doubled in size. This is the most rewarding 40 minutes of your life, btw.
Tip: Place your baking sheet onto a heating pad set to medium for a guaranteed warm spot!
While the dough’s rising, get the Santa Fe-inspired pizza toppings ready, starting with 1 cup corn kernels. You can use whatever you’ve got – frozen, canned, fresh. I had a couple ears o’ sweet corn in my fridge so that’s what I used.
Next slice up 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes. These were picked fresh this morning! Also drain/rinse 1 cup canned black beans. Un-pictured because, well, they’re beans.
Pizza making time! Spray a pizza pan generously with non-stick spray then spread one of the dough balls on top (you can use a regular baking sheet if you don’t have a round pizza pan.) Spread 1/3 cup BBQ sauce on top of the dough.
Next add the black beans and corn,
the halved cherry tomatoes and finally, 1 cup mozzarella cheese.
Bake the pizza at 500 degrees (PIPIN’ hot!) for 10 minutes, top with fresh cilantro, and you are set!
Santa Fe Summer BBQ Pizza
1/3 cup BBQ sauce
1 cup black beans, drained & rinsed
1 cup corn kernels
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
For the pizza dough:
1 1/4 cups warm (almost hot) water
1 Tablespoon honey
1 packet active dry yeast
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- For the pizza dough: Whisk together water, yeast, and honey in a small bowl then set aside for 5 minutes. Meanwhile fit a large food processor with a non-sharp S blade then pulse together flour and salt. Pour in oil and yeast mixture then process for 10 seconds, or until dough comes together in a ball (may need to scrape sides down once.)
- Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead for 3 minutes. Separate dough into two balls then place next to each other on a well-floured baking sheet. Cover tops with flour then cover baking sheet with saran wrap and place in a warm spot to rise for 40 minutes, or until dough has doubled in size. (I put mine on top of a heating pad set to medium.)
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Spray a pizza pan well with nonstick spray then spread 1 ball of dough out into a large circle. Spread BBQ sauce evenly on top, then add black beans, corn, tomatoes, and cheese. Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is golden brown. Let cool five minutes then slice. Sprinkle chopped cilantro on top before serving. Repeat with remaining dough ball, or place in a non-stick sprayed ziplock bag then into the refrigerator to be used within 2 days. Let come to room temperature for 20 minutes before using.
I had pretty high expectations for this pizza which were not only met, but blown to bits. I LOVED the BBQ sauce with the classic Santa Fe combo of corn, black beans, tomatoes, and cheese. The flavor pop from fresh cilantro sprinkled on top was boss too. Right. Boss!
The weight of the toppings were pretty heavy, but the homemade pizza crust held up just fine. Sturdy, but light and chewy at the same time.
Trust me, if I can do this – you can too!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go watch the Olympics for the next 13 hours. ‘night!