Cooking Class: The flatter, the better

Have a northern Italy style pizza night.

Flatbread (photo credit: ILLYA KRINES)
(photo credit: ILLYA KRINES)
‘The newest global trend in pizza is the northern style of flatbread topped with fresh ingredients, which are added after the pizza is baked,” says chef Rachel Dabbah of PIPS, a new kosher Italian osteria in Jerusalem. “On my last visit to Italy, I fell in love with the flatbread. The thin crust is very much like a crostini, and the topping, added after baking, is fresh and full of flavor.”
Dabbah recently opened PIPS, where she serves her crusty Italian pizza made from the best Italian flour, fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and Parmesan, baked in a brick oven and then topped with fresh ingredients. She says that baking flatbread at home and serving it with different tasty toppings is the perfect solution for entertaining, as well as a family meal.
She offers us a few of the variations she loves to serve her guests.
Makes 6 to 7 individual pizzas
✔ ½ kg. whole flour
✔ ½ kg. white flour
✔ 25 gr. fresh yeast
✔ 650 ml. tap water
✔ 30 gr. salt
✔ 1⁄3 cup olive oil
In the bowl of a mixer, dissolve the yeast in a little water, add the flours and start kneading. Add salt and oil and knead until smooth. Let the dough rise in a warm place for 20 minutes. Divide the dough into 220 gr. balls (about 6 or 7).
Place balls on a tray, cover with a kitchen towel and let rise again for 20 minutes.
Roll each ball of dough into a 25-cm.
round and let rise for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the oven to 250°. If you have a pizza stone, heat it at least ½ hour before baking.
Sprinkle the dough with 100 gr. mozzarella and bake. If baking on a stone, bake for 7 minutes; otherwise, bake for 10 minutes.
You may also make a large family-size pizza from the dough and slice into 8 triangles after baking.
Dabbah recommends preparing the topping of your choice before the pizzas are baked. Here are a few of her favorite toppings for flatbread.
Enough for 2 individual pizzas
✔ ½ red cabbage, shredded
✔ ½ red grapefruit, flesh only
✔ 100 gr. Brie cheese
✔ 50 gr. hazelnuts, peeled and crushed For the vinaigrette
✔ 4 Tbsp. olive oil
✔ 1 tsp. mustard
✔ 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
✔ Salt and pepper
Mix vinaigrette well and pour over the shredded cabbage. Toss, and arrange a little of the salad on each baked flatbread. Top with grapefruit fillets, a slice of Brie and sprinkle nuts on top.
Enough for 2 individual pizzas
✔ 100 gr. goat cream cheese
✔ 100 gr. Ma-Ez goat cheese
✔ 30 gr. dried tomatoes
✔ 20 gr. Parmesan cheese
✔ 1 clove garlic, minced
✔ ½ tsp. thyme
✔ Pinch black pepper
For the onions
✔ 2 medium red onions, sliced
✔ Olive oil
✔ Sea salt and black pepper
Heat the oven to 200°. Arrange onion slices on a baking sheet, drizzle olive oil on top, season with salt and pepper. Bake until onions are softened and golden, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
To prepare cheese mix: Mash ingredients together until smooth. Transfer to a pastry bag with a round opening. Using the pastry bag, top each flatbread with cheese, garnish with onions and drizzle a few drops of balsamic vinegar on top.
Enough for 2 individual pizzas
✔ Goat cream cheese For the ceviche
✔ 100 gr. white fish, sliced and cubed
✔ 1⁄3 cup olive oil
✔ 2-3 Tbsp. lemon juice
✔ Pepper and salt
For the salad
✔ 2 firm red tomatoes
✔ Olive oil
✔ 20 fresh oregano leaves
✔ 1 garlic clove, sliced
✔ Salt
Marinate the fish in olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
To prepare salad: Peel tomatoes, cut in half and remove the seeds. Cube the tomatoes, mix together with oregano leaves and garlic.
Season with olive oil and salt.
Place a heap of salad on each flatbread, add a little of the ceviche, and top with a dollop of goat cheese.
Enough for 2 individual pizzas
✔ 300 gr. cherry tomatoes
✔ 2 sprigs thyme
✔ 1 garlic clove, sliced
✔ 1⁄3 cup olive oil
✔ Salt
✔ Baby mozzarella cheese
✔ Arugula
To prepare tomatoes: Heat oven to 160°. Place cherry tomatoes in a baking dish, add thyme, garlic and olive oil, and season with salt.
Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake 45 minutes until done. Drain and save liquids. Cool and gently remove skins.
Cut mozzarella balls in half. Arrange a small heap of arugula leaves on top of each flatbread, add mozzarella and tomato confit, and drizzle a little of the cooking liquids.
Seared red tuna fish, cream of Jerusalem artichoke and carpaccio of beetroot
Enough for 2 individual pizzas
✔ 100 gr. red tuna steak
✔ 1 beetroot
For the cream of artichoke
✔ ½ kg. Jerusalem artichokes, peeled, cubed
✔ 1 small leek, white part only, thinly sliced
✔ 2 cups milk
✔ 25 gr. butter
✔ Salt and pepper For the marinade
✔ 2 Tbsp. sugar
✔ 2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
✔ ½ cup water
✔ Salt and pepper
Melt butter in a skillet. Sauté the leek until transparent. Add the artichokes and continue cooking 2 more minutes. Add milk, salt and pepper and cook until artichokes are tender. Drain and keep ½ cup of the liquid.
Puree the vegetables. If too dry, add a little of the cooking liquid.
To prepare tuna: Season with salt and pepper, add a little oil to a skillet and sear on all sides. Remove from heat and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice thinly.
To prepare beetroot: Peel the beet. Using a mandolin, slice the beet very thinly.
Mix marinade ingredients and marinate the beets.
When the pizza is baked, spread the cream of artichoke, add a slice of seared tuna on each slice, and top with a slice of marinated beet.
Enough for 2 individual pizzas
✔ 2 unbaked individual pizzas
✔ 200 gr. ricotta cheese
✔ 50 gr. powdered sugar
✔ 1 tsp. orange zest
✔ 1 tsp. vanilla extract For the chocolate ganache
✔ 150 gr. bitter chocolate
✔ 100 ml. cream
✔ 2 Tbsp. Triple Sec (citrus liqueur)
For the strawberry topping
✔ 1 basket strawberries
✔ 100 gr. powdered sugar
✔ 2 Tbsp. Triple Sec
Mix the ricotta cheese with sugar, vanilla and orange zest. Bake until golden.
Remove from oven and slice.
Meanwhile, the prepare ganache: Bring cream to a boil. Remove from heat and add chocolate.
Wait 2-3 minutes for the chocolate to melt, then mix well until smooth. Add liqueur and mix again.
Mix strawberries with sugar and liqueur and marinate for 10 minutes.
Serve warm baked pizza with chocolate ganache and marinated strawberries.
Recipes and photos courtesy of PIPS Italian Osteria (kosher), 6 Havatzelet Street, Jerusalem. Tel: 057-943-8484.