This are seriously delicious pizzas. Even though they don’t have any tomato sauce they are creamy and crunchy. And I’m loving the colours here. Colour means nutrients, right?
Last year I was vacationing in Italy a few times and I must say I fell in love with its people, food and beautiful sights. I was there before, duh (it’s our neighbouring country)! It’s just that my way of visiting a country has changed over the years. I used to travel in a rush, I had to see everything. I even felt a little dissapointed if I missed something out. During my travels I’ve realised that being a tourist shouldn’t mean, you’ve seen all the sights and been to all the places listed in your travel guide. It’s slowing down to have time to observe how people of other cultures interact, what they do, how they talk, what they eat, what they wear. It’s talking to locals and relaxing over a cold beer or a hot cup of coffee. It’s also seeing the nice places, but those that you really appreciate and will stick in your memory.
If I think of Italy and my travels there, I immediately think of pizza and pasta. I know, a cliche. But the fact is that although Italians have a lot of other thing to offer culinary-wise, pizza and pasta are the ones that stick out! You can’t miss those.
Here in Slovenia, the pizzas in restaurants are full of different ingredients. They are totally different than in Italy. Good, but different. If I’m honest, I prefered the ones from Italy. They can make a simple pizza with tomato sauce only feel like you are in heaven. This pizza by the way is now my favourite kind of pizza!
But enough about the Italian pizzas. I’m here to make a totally different pizza with all but the usual ingredients. This pizza does not have tomato or cheese. Think of it more like a winter comfort pizza. Instead of tomato sauce I’m using pumpkin puree flavoured with smoked paprika and oregano. The toppings are chard, chickpeas, capers, sesame, chilli pepper and lemon juice. I assure you these mini pumpkin pizzas are yummy.
MINI PUMPKIN PIZZAS
24 pieces of 10 cm pizzas
PIZZA DOUGH (~400 GRAMS)
- 3 cups wholegrain spelt flour
- 1 1/3 cup hot water about 40 °C
- 1/2 tsp honey or sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- 2 cups pumpkin puree
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 TBSP dried or fresh oregano
- black pepper
- 12 chard leaves only greens not stalks
- 3/4 cup cooked chickpeas
- 1/4 cup salted capers
- 3 TBSP sesame seeds
- 1/2 big medium-hot chili sliced thinly
- 1 or 2 lemons cut into wedges
Put the flour in a bowl and make a well in the middle. Pour hot water in the well, add honey and dissolve it in the water. Add yeast to the water and dissolve it.
Then start incorporating flour little by little, until the mixture has the consistency of a soft yogurt (note: not all the flour, just a few tablespoons). Cover the bowl with a cloth and leave in a warm place for 15 minutes, or until the mixture starts bubbling and rising.
Then add salt and oil and start stirring with a wooden spoon from the center and slowly incorporating the rest of the flour.
When the dough stops sticking to the spoon, start kneading in the bowl with your hands.
As soon as your dough starts coming together and you’ve used almost all the flour, you can transfer the dough to a smooth surface. Knead the dough for 10 minutes. If the dough sticks to the surface add a little remaining flour from the bowl. If it does not stick, it is not necessary to add more flour. Because all flours are a little different you might end up with a bit flour left, or you have to add a bit more (but not more than 1/4 cup).
Take another bowl and coat it with oil, then transfer the dough into this bowl and turn it around, so all the sides of the dough are oiled. Cover the bowl with a plastic seal or a plate. Leave it to rise in a warm place for about 1 – 2 hours until it has it is double the size.
When it has doubled, punch it to push the excess air out and knead quickly (only a few kneads). Cut the dough first into four, then into two, then into three. You should end up with 24 tiny dough balls.
Roll every ball of dough into circles about 10 cm wide. You can use a rolling pin or the palm of your hand.
Lightly flour the surface and place the pizza circles on it. Cover with a cloth or plastic foil and leave to rise for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 220 °C. Leave the baking tray in the oven, so it also gets heated.
Meanwhile combine the pumpkin puree, smoked paprika, oregano, and salt and black pepper by taste.
In a pan boil the water, add the chard leaves and cook for 1-2 minutes. Take out of the water and cut into smaller pieces.
After 30 minutes take out the tray, cover it with baking paper, and place pizzas on the paper.
Spread the pumpkin puree over the pizza (about 1 TBSP per pizza), top with chard, chickpeas, and capers.
Return the tray to the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes. The dough should be soft on the inside, but crispy on the outside.
When it is baked, take out of the oven and top with slices of chilly and sesame seeds.
Serve with wedges of lemon, so everyone can add as much lemon juice to the top as they want.
If you can’t get all 24 pizzas in the oven at once, don’t worry, bake it in two or three batches. The remaining flattened dough will wait until the pizzas are done, nothing wrong with that. When the first batch is done, remove the baked pizzas from the tray and repeat it from number 6 (Instructions for the pizzas).
A simple way to make your own pumpkin puree is to cut the pumpkin in half. Season with a little oil, salt, and black pepper and bake at 180 °C until the pumpkin is tender (30 minutes to 1 hour depending on the size of the pumpkin). Then blend.
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