Central American Pizza by Jesse Bluma

Central American Pizza

As I have studied and visited Central America  I have come to learn that cooking in this region is based upon fresh ingredients, recipes are passed down through oral tradition, and flavors are typically mild and not spicy.  

Homemade Pizza Dough

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1 package dry yeast or 2 1/2 teaspoons
1/8 teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 cups organic all-purpose flour, with a small amount extra for the kneading process
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, with a small amount more more for brushing the dough
1 teaspoon coarse salt

(Makes about 6 servings)

Dough Directions
 In a small saucepan over low heat bring the water and milk to a lukewarm temperature (about 45 seconds). 
In a bowl pour in the water and milk mixture. 
Then sprinkle the yeast and the sugar into the bowl and stir. 
Let the ingredients in the bowl sit until the yeast has dissolved (about 5 minutes).

Next mix in the olive oil, flour, and the coarse salt. 
Combine the ingredients, then knead the mixture on a lightly floured board until the dough is smooth, this process with take 10 to 15 minutes.

*Note:  If this is your first time making pizza dough be confident, the dough will not bite.  The more times you make dough the easier it will get for you.  Remember that the dough will be sticky for about the first five minutes of kneading, it will then form into a ball as you continue kneading.
*Note:  For the more advanced baker and cook stretch your creative muscles and add your favorite herbs to the dough.

After kneading the dough brush a large bowl with olive oil. 
Gently place the dough in the bowl and lightly brush the dough with olive oil. 
Cover with a clean dish towel and let stand in a warm place until is has doubled in size (about 3 hours). 
After 3 hours punch the dough down and then divide it into individual portions of about 1/2 cup in size.   
The portions are to be covered until you are ready to roll it out.  
Roll the dough out into round discs.

Pizza Sauce 
(this recipe will make more than needed, use left over sauce on additional pizzas or freeze and use at a later time on bread or pasta)

Sauce Ingredients
2 cups (16 ounces) tomato puree:  approximately 8 organic plum tomatoes.  
1 white onion, evenly diced
1 can Ro*tel (Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies)--10-Ounce Can (mild)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons honey

Sauce Directions
Boil a large pot of water.
Wash and remove the stems of tomatoes.
Score the tops of each tomato with a knife--creating a shallow cross-cut.
Boil tomatoes for approximately 10 minutes, until tender.

Place the tender tomatoes in a bowl of cold water to blanch.
After five minutes remove the skin off each tomato.

Slice the tomatoes in half.
Then puree the tomatoes in a food processor.

Then boil the puree in a pan of 1/2 cup vinegar.

Add the puree, diced onion, Ro*tel, chili powder, sea salt, and honey into a large pot.
Cover and heat on warm to low heat on the stove for about 40-50 minutes.
Remove from heat and let sit, the flavor will continue to develop until needed.  

Pizza Toppings
1/2 organic orange bell pepper, diced 
1/3 pineapple, diced (choose a pineapple that has a sweet aroma, avoid winter pineapples)
3 tablespoons black beans, drain and rinse from can
3 tablespoons white beans, drain and rinse from can
1/4 cup Cotija cheese, grated (slightly freezing makes for easier grating)
1/4 cup Panela cheese, grated (slightly freezing makes for easier grating)

Baking Pizza
Pre-heat oven to 425° Fahrenheit (218° Celsius). 
Measure, cut, and place the parchment paper on the counter.
Place a rolled out disc of dough on the parchment paper.  
Lightly spread sauce on to the top of dough, about 8-10 tablespoons.

Evenly distribute the toppings, except for the cheeses. 

Carefully place the pizza with the parchment paper under it into the middle section of the stove, close the door.  (Using parchment will give the pizza a crispier crust)

Bake for about 10 minutes, until the crust is golden and the edges are crisp.

Open oven door, use oven mitts to carefully pull out the pizza on the wrack.  Evenly sprinkle the cheeses on top of the pizza.

Push the wrack back and close the oven door, bake for 2 minutes.

Use oven mitts to remove from the oven, be careful and remember the pan will remain hot.  (Ovens vary, so total baking time may be more or less)

Serve this pizza with treats from Jesse Bluma at Pointe Viven for your next potluck or party.

Artisanal goods by Jesse Bluma at PointeViven
using organic ingredients and inspiration
from California, Central, and South America.

Order online or contact me for catering.

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