Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Margherita Pizza, and making Thin and Crispy Pizza Crust using a recipe for Naan



For quite a while, I've been on a quest for a recipe for pizza dough that will yield a thin and crispy pizza crust.  I realize that the recipe is only half the solution, and the other half is the technique and preparation.  I haven't been able to achieve a crispy crust without baking the pizza directly on my pizza stone, but even then, haven't been completely happy with the outcome of the many recipes I've tried.

When we made our curry dinner a few weekends ago, and I finally discovered and mastered a wonderful recipe for Naan, I wondered how that exact recipe would work for pizza crust.

I decided to find out.

Making my own homemade pizza dough isn't absolutely essential - I got by just fine for years using the Boboli pizza crusts.  But making my own just makes me feel good.  It's a way of making a traditionally unhealthy and heavy meal into something that can actually be good for you while still satisfying a pizza craving.




Margherita Pizza is so light with just a few simple ingredients, and it became my experiment for using naan dough as pizza crust.  Since we had cooked each side of the naan in a skillet, I wanted to do something similar with our pizza stone, to make sure the crust was crisp all the way through.  So I placed the very thin circle of dough on a preheated pizza stone for just two minutes.  Then, working quickly to not cool the pizza stone down, took it out of the oven.  I flipped the dough over so the other side could get crispy against the stone, added the toppings on the already cooked side, and placed it all back into the oven just long enough to melt the cheese and heat the toppings.

And it was really, really good.  A very thin, crispy and flavorful crust, topped with some of my favorite ingredients - tomatoes, basil and mozzarella.  You all know how I love caprese salad.

A few weeks before that, we had made a Greek-inspired pizza, with tomatoes, artichoke hearts and olives, and while I wasn't in love with the crust on that recipe as that was before I discovered the recipe for naan, I did love all the veggie toppings and Greek flavors.

I'd love to hear all of your preferences for thin, crispy crust, vs chewy, deep dish crust, and if you've discovered any tips or tricks to achieve what you think is the perfect crust?







Thin and Crispy Naan Pizza Dough
printable recipe

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry active yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh, chopped parsley.

In a bowl, whisk together 1 cup of flour, baking powder, yeast and salt.  Stir in the yogurt with a spoon until moistened.  Turn mixture out onto a floured surface.  Sprinkle the garlic and parsley over the dough, then knead the dough for 5 minutes, adding the additional 1/4 cup of flour as needed, until the dough is smooth and elastic.  Shape dough into a ball, then place in a lightly oiled bowl, covered with a towel, to rest for about an hour.

Note: because the yeast is not proofed with warm water, the dough doesn't rise (this is a flat bread, after all).  The yeast simply adds a nice chewy texture to the crisp pizza crust.

Yields 1 thin pizza crust.
WW Points Plus Value: 12 points for the whole recipe

Recipe adapted from Food.com.


    Margherita Pizza
    printable recipe

    • 1 recipe Naan Pizza Dough, or an unbaked thin pizza crust
    • 2 ripe tomatoes
    • 2 teaspoons olive oil
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
    • handful of fresh basil leaves, torn
    • 3/4 cup grated or sliced mozzarella

    Place a pizza stone in the oven.  Preheat the oven as hot as it will go (our heats up to 550).  Roll out the pizza dough very thin, to 12 inches in diameter, or as large as your pizza stone.  Dice the tomatoes and toss with the olive oil and salt.

    When the oven has preheated for 15-20 minutes, place the pizza dough on the pizza stone.  Bake for 2 minutes.  Take the pizza stone out of the oven and set on a wire rack on the stove, or a heat-proof surface.  Flip the dough over.  Top the dough with the tomatoes (drain off any excess juice), oregano, basil and mozzarella.  If you like, you can brush the edges of the dough with a little more olive oil.  Return the pizza stone to the oven and bake for 4-5 minutes until crispy and golden brown - the oven is very hot, so keep an eye on the pizza so it doesn't burn.  Slice and enjoy!

    Yields 8 slices (2-4 servings).
    WW Points Plus Value:  6 points for 2 slices

    Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen


    Greek-Inspired Pizza
    printable recipe

    • 1 unbaked pizza crust, store-bought or your favorite homemade recipe
    • 2 ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • pinch of salt
    • 1 teaspoon Greek seasoning (combination of chili flakes, garlic, lemon peel, dill, oregano, cinnamon, mace, spearmint and chervil)
    • 4 baby bella mushrooms, thinly sliced
    • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
    • 1 can (14 ounces) artichoke hearts,sliced in half
    • 1/2 cup pitted assorted Greek olives, chopped or sliced
    • 1/4 cup roasted tomatoes, chopped (from the grocery store olive bar)
    • 1 roasted red bell pepper, chopped (from the grocery store olive bar)
    • 8-10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
    • 1 1/2 cups grated part-skim mozzarella cheese

    Preheat the oven to 550.  Press the pizza dough into a greased baking sheet or pizza pan.

    Lay the tomato slices on the crust, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with the salt and Greek seasoning.  Distribute the rest of the ingredients over the pizza, ending with the cheese.

    Bake for 5-7 minutes, until the cheese is golden and bubbly.  Slice and enjoy!

    Yields 5 servings.
    WW Points Plus Value: 10 points per serving / 3 slices (baked in a rectangular baking sheet, cut into 15 pieces, for 5 servings of 3 pieces each)

    Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen