The irresistibly adorable pumpkins at my favorite farm market inspired this pizza. I’ve enjoyed it three or four times this week with my Vegan Caramelized Onion and Apple Pizza and am so sad there is no more.
As I’ve said before, homemade pizza dough is so quick and easy to make that there is scarcely any reason to purchase it, especially since it can be frozen. Hands on prep time is just minutes, but it does take a couple of hours to rise. So, if you are super pressed for time and favor a brand like Trader Joe’s frozen dough, then go for it. If you choose the purchased route, I would definitely recommend a prepared dough as opposed to a prepared crust.
My dough of choice comes from my Blooming Platter Cookbook: A Harvest of Seasonal Vegan Recipes. My recipe calls for a combination of self-rising and whole wheat flours. However, for the pizza pictured, I didn’t have either, so I used all white whole wheat flour with some baking powder. The only difference I found is that it makes a softer dough and, hence, requires additional flour. The crust made this way also benefits especially from a couple of minutes in the oven before topping it and returning it to the oven to insure that the crust doesn’t become soggy.
Make the dough at least 3 hours before you plan to serve the pizza.
Blooming Platter Pizza Dough:
Yield: 2 approximate 8-inch crusts
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons self-rising flour (or 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons white whole wheat or all purpose flour combined with 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder and a scant 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt)
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
Note: you may substitute all white whole wheat or all-purpose flour for both of the above. However, you will need considerably more flour, added 1/4 cup at a time, until dough is smooth and elastic, but slightly sticky.
1 teaspoon “quick rise” yeast
1 teaspoon natural sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons tepid water
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil plus 1 teaspoon to oil the bowl
Place all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl, stir to combine, and make a well in the center. Add the water and 2 teaspoons olive oil to the well and stir the wet and dry ingredients together with a fork until fully incorporated.
Knead for 5 minutes with oiled hands or until the dough is smooth and elastic, but slightly sticky. I knead it right in the bowl. Do not over-knead. Lift out the dough and pour the remaining teaspoon of olive oil into the bottom of the bowl and spread to coat the interior with your fingers.
Return the dough to the bowl, rolling it around on both sides to coat with the oil. Cover the bowl loosely with a damp kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours. While the dough rises, prepare the other ingredients.
Next prepare Rosemary-Garlic Olive Oil:
1/4 cup olive oil (makes sure it is super flavorful)
1 5-inch stalk of fresh rosemary
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
Combine all ingredients in a small cup and set aside.
Before preparing topping, preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place two pizza stones (or two inverted baking sheets) into the oven and heat for 30 minutes.
Approximately 1/4 cup Pumpkin and Pepita-Sage Pesto Spread (recipe follows)
Grilled Pumpkin (recipe follows)
1/2 cup Vegan Pepita and Sage Pesto
Optional garnish: fresh sage leaves or pineapple sage blossoms
Vegan Pumpkin Pepita-Sage Pesto Spread:
6 ounces Silken Firm tofu (you may you “extra firm” for a firmer end result)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup Vegan Pepita and Sage Pesto
1 large garlic clove
Pinch sea salt
Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. You will have more than you need for this pizza. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Enjoy as a dip with fresh veggies, spread on bagels or sandwiches, tossed with pasta, or as a pizza sauce.
Approximately 3 pounds fresh pumpkin (this weight is seeded and with pulp removed, but with the skin on)
Remove the skin from pumpkin with a paring knife. Cut pizza into bite size 1/3-inch thick slices. Spray a grill pan with non-stick spray and preheat over medium-high. Grill pumpkin, in two batches if necessary, for 2 to 3 minutes per side or unil tender with nice grill marks. Remove to a plate and set aside.
Lay two 10-inch sheets of aluminum foil, shiny side down, on a work surface. Spray each sheet lightly with non-stick pray. With hands lightly dusted with flour, divide the dough in half, shape each half into a ball, and place one in the center of each piece of foil.
Beginning in the center of the ball and working your way to the edges, use your fingertips and palms to gently press the dough into a circle about 8 1/2 inches in diameter, leaving a slightly raised 1/4-inch wide rim. Brush the entire surface of each very lightly with the Rosemary-Garlic Olive Oil; you will likely have some left over. Lift each piece of foil one at a time, crust and all, holding it taught, and place on one of the baking stones. Bake for 2 minutes. Remove the stones from the oven and spread a very thin layer (about 2 to 3 tablespoons) of Pumpkin and Pepita-Sage Pesto Spread on each crust. Divide the pumpkin evenly between the two crusts, arranging pieces in concentric rings. Return the stones to the oven and cook for about 7 minutes, switching the position of the stones halfway through if pizzas seem to be cooking unevenly. Remove the stones from the oven again and dot each with about half of the Pepita and Sage Pesto (1/4 cup each). Return the stones to the oven and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes or until the crusts are golden and the topping is hot. Remove the stones form the oven, slide the pizzas, one at a time, onto a cutting board, and cut each into 8 wedges. Serve immediately garnished with sage leaves or, if you’re lucky enough to grow this herb: ravishing pineapple sage blossoms.
Note: this pizza reheats beautifully on a pizza stone in a 350 degree preheated oven for 10 minutes.