9 August 2011

Balsamic Caramelised Onion and Goats Cheese Pizza

It's Ramadan and a time for muslims to fast and reflect. As a non muslim in Qatar during Ramadan, it's a lovely lazy hazy time, as there isn't much happening during the day, and to be honest, at 50 degrees it is getting too hot to do more than pop out to the supermarket once a day for supplies, or dive into the pool to cool off. That means a lot of time indoors.

The little chefs are busy doing craft, playing the Wii or turning cushions, blankets and chairs into houses and forts, which leaves me plenty of time to indulge myself in the kitchen cooking up a storm, including cooking some freezer meals for the Green Box to deliver. Today I used their lovely goats cheese - you can order it online at http://www.thegreenbox.me/, along with their fabulous hormone free chickens and quality fruit and vegetables.

I love goats cheese - on it's own with crackers, in a cheesecake, where it adds a sharp tangy loveliness, or mixed with cream cheese, parmesan, herbs and nutmeg, popped on top of portabello mushrooms and grilled to cheesy perfection.

My favourite way to use it is in a tart or on a pizza, paired with some caramelised onions, and that's what the Green Box customers are getting today. I'm using chapati flour, as it's a lot less refined than white flour and creates a nice chewy base that crisps up well.

Caramelised Onion and Goats Cheese Pizza

This makes two large thick crust pizzas - for thin crust, use less yeast. I like to prebake the base for 5 minutes before putting the topping on - the onions can be a bit moist and I hate soggy bases.

Pizza dough
  • 4 cups of wholemeal or plain flour (or a combination of both)
  • 400mls of slightly warm water
  • 3 teaspoons dried yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Caramelised Onions
  • 3 large white or brown onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Goats Cheese
  • 300 grams Goats Cheese with Herbs or 300 grams plain goats cheese mixed with 1/2 teaspoon each of thyme and oregano
  • Olive oil to drizzle
  • freshly ground black pepper

  1. To caramelise the onions, heat the oil in a large pan over low heat, add the onions and cook slowly, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes. When the onions are translucent, add the sugar and balsamic vinegar. Turn the heat up to medium and stir frequently for about 10 minutes until the mixture is rich and caramelised. Watch it while it's cooking as it can burn once the sugar is added.
  2. To make the dough, mix the water, sugar and yeast together and let stand for a few minutes until starting to froth. Put the flour, salt and olive oil in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook (or into a bowl, just get ready to exercise those arms).
  3. Add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture and mix. The dough should be moist, not dry, but not too sticky. Knead using the mixer, or by hand until the dough is smooth and elastic (if you poke it with your finger, it'll spring back into shape quickly). Have I mentioned before how much I love my Kitchen Aid.
  4. Pop this into an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave for an hour or two to rise. Check out just how much it will rise.
  5. Heat the oven to 200 degrees celcius (400 degrees fahrenheit), put an upside down baking dish, or pizza stone in the oven and heat for 10 minutes.
  6. Roll half the dough out to about 0.5cm thick. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes
  7. Remove from oven and spread with half the caramelised onion mixture, crumble the goats cheese on top, season with freshly ground black pepper and drizzle on a little olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes till base is crisp and cheese is a delicious golden brown.

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