I love Manchego cheese. That distinctive sheep's milk flavor, that buttery texture. It's perfect for pizza. Pair it with a handful of Spanish ingredients and you'll have something vaguely reminiscent of tapas, but on a crunchy, golden, edible plate.
The chorizo on this particular pie offers just the right amount of heat, balanced by sweetness from the dried figs and tanginess from the preserved roasted red peppers. The sauce is a take on sofrito, which means it's basically a tomato sauce, but with the advantage of offering you several opportunities to tell friends that you're busy making a sofrito. FANCY. Get out your smug face and read on.
Step 1: Gather the Ingredients
For the Dough:
1 1/2 cup flour (any will do, but bread-specific flour can create a better dough texture)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup water
2 tsp active dry yeast
For the Sauce:
1 can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
Approx. 1/4 cup cilantro
1 tsp minced garlic
Approx. 1/2 cup yellow onion
A splash of red wine, if you are so inclined
For the Toppings:
6 or so dried figs, sliced
1/4 lb. of ground chorizo
Approx. 1/2 cup preserved roasted red peppers, sliced
Total Time Needed:
About 2 hours for the dough
About 30 minutes to prep the sauce and toppings
About 15 minutes baking time
Step 2: Make the Dough
1. Fill a measuring cup with 3/4 cup of warm, but not hot, water (approx. 110* if you're a geek like me)
2. In a small bowl, add 2 tsp active dry yeast. Pour 1/4 cup of your warm water on top of the yeast and gently stir to combine.
3. While your yeast is getting nice and bubbly, add 1 1/2 cup flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, and 1 tbsp olive oil to a large mixing bowl.
4. After you've given your yeast about 5 minutes to develop, add it and the rest of the water to your flour mixture.
5. Using a wooden spoon, stir the ingredients until they form a nice sticky dough.
6. Dust flour on your hands and on a nice stable surface, and begin kneading the dough. Knead for about 10 minutes to properly break down the gluten and get a smooth, elastic dough ball.
7. Place your beautiful dough ball in a bowl at least twice its size and toss it with a bit of olive oil to help keep it moist as it rises.
8. After about 2 hours your dough will have doubled, and its then ready to toss and top.
My weak hands (due, I'm sure, to my fear of manual labor) make 10 minutes of kneading feel more like an hour. After years of making pizza, however, I've begun to really enjoy this exercise, and even find it a bit cathartic. Imagine the dough is your boss', or creditor's, or that-guy-answering-his-phone-in-the-movie-theater's squishy face, and the time will just fly by. You'll know you're done when you can stretch out the dough until light shines through it without it breaking. This (shown in the picture above) is called the baker's windowpane.
Step 3: Make the Sauce
1. Chop up approx. 1/4 cup cilantro, 1/2 cup yellow onion, and 1 tsp garlic. I prefer to keep my onion in long slivers. I don't know why.
2. Drain the can of fire roasted diced tomatoes and add it, along with your freshly chopped ingredients, to a medium-hot pan.
3. Feel free to add about 1 tbsp of red wine if you'd like.
4. Gently cook the sauce for 10 minutes or just until the onions get soft.
At this point you should start pre-heating your oven to 475* especially if you use a pizza stone. You want plenty of time for that stone to get hot.
Step 4: Prepare the Toppings
1. Slice your dried figs into little strange looking fig coins, as shown in the picture.
2. Slice your preserved roasted red peppers into thin slivers.
3. Slice the Manchego cheese into triangles (cutting from the point of the wedge to the rind; but, you know, remove the rind) about 1/4 inch thick.
Step 5: Top and Cook
If you still haven't already, set your oven for 475*. And really do it this time.
1. Take out your now puffy dough ball and give it another minute or so of kneading on a lightly floured surface.
2. Shape your dough into a crust approx. 12" in diameter. I prefer to use my hands to stretch and toss the dough rather than use a rolling pin, but either method will work just fine.
3. If you're using a pizza stone, place the crust on a floured pizza peel or cookie sheet (floured so that you can slide the pie off easily when you're ready to bake).
4. Sauce the crust, arrange the cheese triangles, and top with the figs and peppers.
5. Add the chorizo by pinching off small, grape-sized chunks.
6. Slide that beast onto the middle rack of a hot oven and set a timer for 13 minutes. In my oven somewhere between 13 and 15 minutes was perfect.
About halfway through baking, if you so choose, you can brush the crust with a bit of olive oil to keep it moist and enhance that lovely golden color. Finally, try this pie with a bit of garlic powder and little olive oil drizzled on top. Enjoy, and feel free to comment with your own tips and tricks!
P.S. My first Instructable!
Second Prize in the