06 July 2012

What I had for dinner: Homemade pizza and strawberry rhubarb pie

Making pizza has always been my go-to vegan meal because the dough is easy to make and you can put whatever toppings you want on it. Pie is another story. I have never made a pie before this dinner but I was on a quest to use the berries I got on sale last week. A coworker mentioned strawberry rhubarb pie and I thought it was a bizarre combination and it peaked my curiosity. The pictures were taken by my boyfriend who also helped with the pizza construction. These directions are intended for beginners  -- I go in-depth on explanations and directions. I like to learn from clear and concise recipes and that is how I present them. So no hard feelings if you are a pizza or pie wizard (lucky you). I got the pizza dough recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and the pie recipe is adapted from Vegan Pie in the Sky.

Pizza dough ingredients: 2 ¾ cups warm water ¼ cup oil (I've used both olive and canola oil with little difference in the results) 1 tbsp and 1 ½ tsp yeast (I use quick-rise or bread yeast) 1 tbsp and 1 ½ tsp salt (fine or coarse both work) 1 tbsp sugar (fine or raw both work) 6 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour (substitute half the white flour for wheat if you want a healthier crust. I haven't tried this yet but that's usually the rule about wheat flour) Directions: Mix water, oil, yeast, salt and sugar together in a stand mixer (or by hand with a dough whisk) until blended. Add flour and mix on low setting for 5-6 minutes or until dough forms into an elastic ball. Mixing by hand will take around 10-15 minutes but it's great exercise! Once the dough is done put it in a container with a lid but don't lock it in place in case the dough spills out. Place the container somewhere warm for an hour and a half. I usually put it above my fridge or in my closed off laundry room. The dough will rise and will at least double in size.

Pie crust: 1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour 2 tbsp sugar ½ tsp salt ½ cup cold vegan margarine (I like to use Earth Balance) 4 tbsp ice water 2 tsp apple cider vinegar.  Sift together flour, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry cutter (or your hands) cut in margarine. The dough should begin to form in crumbles. In a glass measuring cup, stir together ice water and vinegar, then drizzle about a tablespoon of the mixture into the flour. Mix lightly to moisten. Repeat by adding a second tablespoon of the liquid and mixing. Add the final bit of the mixture and mix until a ball of dough forms. Add a little more ice water if the dough does not come together. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Pie filling: 3 large stalks rhubarb, sliced 1/2 inch thick 4 cups fresh strawberries, sliced ⅔ cup sugar 4 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour 1 tbsp lemon juice (about half a large lemon) pinch salt Mix all the filling ingredients together in a large bowl (that was easy).

Crumble topping: 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour ⅓ cup light brown sugar 2 tbsp sugar ¼ tsp salt ¼ tsp cinnamon ⅓ cup coconut oil, melted.  In a small mixing bowl, combine all powdered ingredients. Drizzle in coconut oil. Using your fingers, swirl the mixture around until small crumbs begin to form. You should have mostly large crumbs, but some of the mixture will be finer grains as well. When the crust is completely chilled, preheat oven to 425F.

With your pie pan ready, roll out the crust with a floured rolling pin on a floured surface. The dough should be about a foot in diameter and 1/4 of an inch thick. Using a pizza cutter (or something of the sort), trim the edges so the dough makes a (somewhat) perfect circle. Carefully lift the pie crust and place it in the pie pan with about an inch to 1-1/2 inches excess crust hanging over the edges. Or a nifty trick is to roll the dough around your rolling pin and carefully unroll it on to the pie pan. Press the dough down into the center of the pan and using your fingers, seal the edges. With the excess dough hanging over the edges, you can crimp the edges, or roll it in. Once the crust is assembled, fill the pie with the filling. Spread evenly.

Top with the topping mixture and spread evenly. Cover with foil and cut 3 slits in the foil to allow the pie to ventilate. Cook for 20 minutes on the center rack of the oven. On the bottom rack, place a pizza pan or cookie sheet to catch any dripping filling. Reduce heat to 350F. Remove foil. Continue baking for 35 minutes. Once pie is finished cooking, allow to cool 1 hour. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and serve cold. By this point the pizza dough is ready.

From glob to pizza awesomeness: For this construction you will need: flour, cornmeal, rolling pin, pizza pan (or pizza stone), pizza peel (or deft hands), a desired sauce and toppings. For my sauce I used an olive oil base because I'm not a fan of a load of red sauce, and the toppings consist of a half bag of Daiya mozzarella cheese, sliced vine tomatoes, Yves pepperoni, and chopped fresh basil. Obviously the possibilities are endless so experiment!

Place baking stone on middle rack if using and preheat oven to 550F. Flour a large surface and sprinkle flour on the dough in the bin. Grab a glob with floured hands and plop it on your surface. Flour is your friend here so don't be stingy! You'll have to gauge how much dough to use by rolling it out and seeing how big a pizza it makes with how big a crust you want. The pizza I made is a thin crust and 14 diameters across. Make sure to flour your rolling pin and just roll the heck out of this dough keeping it circular. Once the dough is rolled out either move it to a cornmeal-dusted pizza pan with your hands or a cornmeal-dusted pizza peel. Spread the dough out a little with your fingers and build your crust if you want one. Drizzle oil or sauce over the dough and add your cheese and toppings. As an extra little surprise I like to sprinkle some raw sugar on the crust.

Once the oven is preheated place the pizza pan on the middle rack or gently shake the pizza off your pizza peel. I would test this beforehand to make sure the dough slides off easily. Some sauce might've spilled over and you'll need to add a little flour to this area before continuing. Bake pizza for 8 minutes and enjoy!

Samantha Edwards | Blog
Salt Lake City, UT Sam is usually found at school completing her BA in English under a pile of text and empty coffee cups. At home, she bakes high altitude vegan goodies for her boyfriend and friends. She is the mother of three gorgeous and mischievous ferrets who like to "help" her bake by starring up at her and looking adorable. Sam also maintains her own blog containing recent school work and writing ventures.

Photo credit: Samantha