Cooking With Kids is a weekly recipe series on getting creative in the kitchen with the family.
Pretty much all kids would jump at the chance of having a build-your-own pizza party – and we’ve got the perfect recipe they’ll love: the mimosa pizza. Think of it like the Neapolitan equivalent of the British fish fingers, chips, and baked beans supper.
“The mimosa is actually a little yellow flower that is given to women on International Women’s Day,” explains Pizza Pilgrim’s founders Thom and James Elliot. “We serve this pizza each March to celebrate the female pizzaiolas in our company. The Italians flock to buy it but, oddly, Londoners tend to turn their nose up at it (they are missing out!).”
Kids can get stuck in at any point of the pizza-making. From stretching out the dough to putting on the final topping touches. “The kids love to feel involved and get their hands messy!” they say. “Plus, they can learn a little history about Italy and where the mimosa pizza came from. How the pizza reflects the flower, the sweetcorn is supposed to look the flowers so it’s nice for them to learn this little bit of history.”
Serves: 1 x 10 inch pizza | Dough proof and rest time: 6-8 hours | Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 5 mins
For the dough:
1000g (35oz) ‘00’ flour (we recommend Caputo ‘blue’)
2g (2⁄3tsp) fresh yeast
620ml (21fl oz) tepid water
30g (1oz) fine sea salt
For the pizza:
1 ball of Neapolitan pizza dough
40ml (11⁄4fl oz) double (heavy) cream
4–5 basil leaves
Parmesan, for grating
1 tbsp good-quality olive oil
80g (3oz) fior di latte mozzarella, torn or sliced 2 slices of good-quality Italian roasted ham
2 tbsp canned sweetcorn (corn)
Cracked black pepper
1. For the dough. Make a mountain of flour in the middle of the table. Using your fist, make a deep well in the middle of the flour, exposing the surface of the table (turning your mountain into a moon crater).
2. Crumble the yeast into the tepid water. Use your good hand to mash up the yeast in the water until it has dissolved. Fill your crater of flour with a third of the yeast/water mix. Using your fingertips, start making very small circular motions to combine the flour and water.
3. Start dragging in some more flour to the mix, by ‘undercutting’ the walls of the crater with your fingertips. As you do this the mixture in the middle will become thicker. Once it reaches the consistency of porridge, you need to add a bit more water. Don’t let it get too thick; if it starts to form a dough too soon it becomes difficult to incorporate the rest of the water. Keep dragging in a little flour to thicken the mix, then pouring a little bit more water in to loosen it, until you have all the water used up.
4. Sprinkle the sea salt over the mixture while it’s still very wet to ensure it dissolves and disperses evenly throughout the dough. Now use both hands to push the remaining flour from the outside into the middle. Fold and press the mix until all the flour is absorbed and dough comes together. If you have a dough scraper it really helps get everything off the table, but you can improvise with a paint scraper, spatula, or knife.
5. Work the gluten by kneading the dough. Use the heel of your hand to stretch out the dough and roll it back up, while the other hand acts like an anchor. You’ll be able to see the strands of gluten stretching, breaking, being put back together, and becoming stronger. Continue this for about 8 minutes until the dough becomes smooth and glossy. It should also feel tighter and elastic.
6. Let the dough have a 10-minute rest to relax the gluten. Cover the dough with a damp cloth or some clingfilm (plastic wrap) to keep the air from drying it out. Then divide your bulk of dough into individual portions. We recommend 230g (8oz) dough balls for 10-inch pizzas. Ensure your dough balls are neatly shaped – pinched at the bottom and tight on the top – then place them in a tray or container 3cm (1in) apart. Cover with a tight lid or clingfilm (plastic wrap).
7. Leave the dough at room temperature for approximately 6 hours until it expands to almost double its size, then store in the fridge overnight. The next day remove the dough from the fridge for 1–2 hours and bring it back to room temperature before making your pizzas.
8. For the pizza. Preheat the grill (broiler) to its absolute highest setting, and place a large, ovenproof frying pan (skillet) over a high heat and let it get screaming hot.
9. Meanwhile, flatten and stretch the dough ball to make a 10-inch pizza base.
10. Lay the pizza base flat in the hot, dry frying pan, then spread with the double cream. Add the basil, a grating of Parmesan, and the olive oil, then top with the mozzarella, ham, and sweetcorn.
11. Once the base of the pizza has browned, about 1–2 minutes, place the frying pan under the grill on the highest shelf.
12. When the crust has taken on some colour, about 1–2 minutes, finish with some cracked black pepper.
Recipe from PIZZA: History, recipes, stories, people, places, love by Thom & James Elliot, published by Hardie Grant. Out November 12, 2020.