Mini Pizza Pies With Quail Eggs


and seven pointers for successful pizza making

If you like pizza, just follow a few simple rules about pizza making and you will never wish to order it again. The recipe that I used is for Neapolitan style pizza - soft and chewy with a crisp crust - or as the Italian would say - cornicione.

Let's begin with yeast: it has to be fresh and needs warmth and moisture to develop, so warm the water to about 40C/105F. Next, flour - the Italians recommend their 0 grade, but white bread flour will give excellent results too. To speed up the process, warm it up in the microwave or oven.  Dough - it should be wet, the wetter, the better; oil the cling film before covering the dough to prevent sticking. Kneading - if the dough sticks to your hands, wash them and dip them in flour, dough doesn't stick to clean hands, always flour you hands, not the dough.

Shaping - you don't need to make a perfect shape, but if you form a nicely shaped ball, stretching it into a circle will be much easier. Place it on well floured tea towel to rise and dredge liberally with flour. When risen, flip the ball over onto a floured work surface. Topping - too much topping overwhelms perfectly made dough and it could prevent it from rising properly.
Baking - baking stone/heavy baking sheet  must be preheated and  hot; roll the dough directly onto non-stick baking paper so you can transfer it to the hot sheet easier. Quickly slide out the baking parchment paper from under the pizza 5 minutes after pizza has set to crisp up the base.

 Basic Neapolitan Pizza Dough
 Makes 2 medium 25-30cm /10-12 inches pizzas

25 gr fresh or 1tbsp dried active yeast
1 tsp sugar
250ml hand warm water
500g white bread flour, or Italian "0" grade
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil

Cream the yeast with sugar and water, leave for 10 minutes until frothy. Combine the flour and salt the mix with the yeast and the olive oil. Make wet dough until shiny and elastic. Pull and stretch the dough to develop the elastic gluten.  To test if the dough is ready, roll it into a sausage and stretch it outwards, it should stretch easily. If it doesn't, it needs more kneading. Form a ball, place it in an oiled bowl and cover with oiled cling film or damp tea towel. Leave to rise for 90 minutes. Punch the air out, form the balls again and leave to rise for another 30 minutes, then use as desired. Here is what I did:

Roll into thin discs and cut circles to fit your muffin tin, I used a standard 12 hole tin, and cut circles 12 cm in diameter. Line each oiled muffin cup with the dough and fill with cream cheese,spinach and quail filling. Mix 100g cream cheese with 250g of steamed or cooked and chopped spinach, season to taste, add one beaten egg and spoon into the pizza pie shells. Top with quail egg. You can also use onion, potato and chorizo (or some other sausage) filling, or lentil pottage instead of cheese and spinach. For the sausage and potato filling, sauté an onion, add one peeled and grated potato, season and mix with the cut sausage pieces. Using the dough offcuts form long ropes and make a cross on the top of each pie, sealing the edges with a little water. Brush with olive oil and bake  in preheated oven (220C) for about 10 minutes. 

Since I had more dough left I made my green pizza with cheese, capers, rocket salad and zucchini flower lightly sprinkled with olive oil and also a pizza roll filled with sausage -potato filling, which we really liked. Roll the dough thinly, spread the filling and roll it up. Close the ends to prevent the filling from running out.

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