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from my table: spelt pizza with proscuitto, apples + fennel

July 28, 2011

So I am a whole-grain ninja. I try to sneak whole grains into most things I make. A tablespoon of flax seed meal here, using part white whole wheat flour there…I want to keep people both well-fed with delicious baked goods as well as reasonably healthy.

Enter spelt flour.

I started using this when I received Kim Boyce’s Good to the Grain as a gift. It has a wonderful, mellow, slightly nutty flavor, and is an ancient, well-loved grain for a reason. Whenever I see recipes now with the word “spelt” in them, I immediately want to get to the kitchen, convinced they will somehow make me a healthier, more whole grained person.

Even when it’s in pizza. Or cake.
It’s whole grain. It’s healthy. It’s science (not really).

This pizza crust is a no-knead, no-rise crust made with ricotta cheese. I liked the chewy, softer texture and its slight sweetness marries gorgeously with the salty proscuitto, tart apples and fresh fennel. I added a little cheese to mine — a sweeter, mild cheese we make at the creamery called Phocus (you could also use something like Fontina or just mozzerella would be delicious).

If you use a pizza stone, make sure to cover your peel generously in cornmeal. I didn’t put enough on mine (I use the back of a cookie sheet because I am broke and in a tiny kitchen), so I just baked mine right on the sheet. I found this caused the bottom to be a little softer than I’d prefer. However, still delicious enough that my friend Amanda and I ate the whole thing.

Nothing gets between me and my whole grain pizza.
Nothing.

Spelt Pizza with Proscuitto, Apples and Fennel
Adapted slightly from Ancient Grains for Modern Meals, via The Kitchn

spelt crust
2 cups whole grain spelt flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
1/4 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large egg
Coarse cornmeal, if using a pizza peel

toppings
1/3 cup sour cream
Sea salt, to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 Granny Smith apple, halved, cored, and sliced very thinly
1 small fennel bulb, halved lengthwise, cored, and sliced very thinly
2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips
2/3 cup shredded cheese (see suggestions above)
Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing the crust

Place the spelt flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a food processor and pulse for about 10 seconds. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, milk, oil, and egg and beat with a fork until smooth. Pour the ricotta mixture across the top of the flour mixture and pulse, in 1-second intervals, just until a ball forms, 5 to 10 pulses. The dough will be fairly moist. (Note: Mine was very, very moist. I kneaded a little extra flour into mine, which helped.)

Transfer the dough to a well-floured work surface. Lightly flour your hands and briefly knead 5 to 7 turns to get a smooth yet slightly tacky dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes to allow the bran in the flour to soften.

 

Meanwhile, place a baking stone on a rack on the bottom shelf and preheat oven to 425°F. Liberally sprinkle a pizza peel with coarse cornmeal. Combine the sour cream, a dash of sea salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper in a small bowl.

Unwrap the dough, transfer to a lightly floured work surface and cut into 2 pieces. Keep 1 piece covered with plastic wrap. The other piece can be used for another piece (refrigerate or freeze). Lightly flour your hands and briefly knead the other until smooth, 7 to 10 turns. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into an elongated pizza, 11 by 8 inches and about 1/4 inch thick. Do this in stages, occasionally turning the dough over and rolling it out further, lightly flouring your work surface and the rolling pin each time. Place the dough on the pizza peel. Spread the sour cream topping across, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Cover with the apple slices, the fennel slices, the prosciutto, and sprinkle with cheese. Brush the border with oil.

 

Slide the dough onto the baking stone and bake until the fennel just starts to brown at the edges and the rim turns golden brown and starts to crisp—it should yield when pressed with a finger—about 15 minutes. Use a large spatula to lift the edges of the pizza so you can slide the peel underneath; carefully transfer the pizza to a wooden board. Cut with a sharp knife and serve at once.

 

Serves 2-3 people (as a main course)

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Amanda permalink
    July 28, 2011 8:00 pm

    nom nom nom LOVED THIS!!

  2. July 29, 2011 1:28 am

    I’m not familiar with spelt but this looks and sounds delicious!

  3. Lisa permalink
    July 31, 2011 3:02 pm

    You know, you should try making Flammkuchen (google it). 🙂 yummm…

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