It is a myth that all Italians love garlic and espresso.
I know this, as my dear friend Stefano from Milan can't abide garlic in any dishes and rarely drinks coffee (preferring instead Earl Grey tea).
And in a kitchen move to make a thousand nonnas turn in their grave, he also cooks the famed Italian dish of risotto in the microwave (but that's another thing altogether).
But ask Stefano, and most Italians, about how to make the perfect pizza and there are many rules. Yes to a thin base and mozzerella, no to ham and pineapple for example.
So what about smothering your pizza with sticky fruit jam? I'm not even game to suggest this to Stefano.
And yet, this intriguing recipe is precisely what popped in my in-box recently. A novel take on Italian staple - a deep-dish vegan pizza using Bonne Maman's Mango and Peach conserve.
This modern twist on pizza is described by Canberra-based food blogger Anthea Cheng as "the ultimate comfort food".
"The jammy caramelised pumpkin is delightful and brings out the savoury flavours of the other fillings.
"This recipe is easy and sooooo delicious. It has a fluffy pizza crust, layers of melty cheese, loads of veggies and, my favourite, sticky sweet pumpkin.
"If you've made pizza before, this is a bit of fun in the kitchen. But if this is your first time making pizza from scratch, don't worry."
Well, Anthea's pizza may not pass the Italian test, but I reckon my kids will love it!
Deep dish pizza with jammy caramelised pumpkin
- 150g plain or wholemeal four, plus extra for dusting
- 2 tsp(18g) instant dried yeast
- 1/2 tsp of good quality salt
- 3/4 cup (180ml) warm water
- 1 tsp sugar or sweetener of your choice
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup pumpkin, diced into 2cm cubes
- 1 small red capsicum, diced
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 cup Bonne Maman Mango & Peach Conserve
- 1/2 cup chopped canned tomatoes
- 1 cup vegan cheese, cubed or shredded
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
To make the pizza dough (1 hour beforehand or the day before you want to enjoy your pizza)
- Add all ingredients to a stand mixer or mixing bowl. Knead the dough for 5 minutes or until it forms a smooth and cohesive ball. Add more our if the dough is sticky or add more water if the dough feels dry.
- Leave the dough in the bowl and cover it with a damp tea towel. Place the dough in awarm spot in your home. Let it rest for at least 1 hour or until it's doubled in size.
To prepare the fillings (while the dough is rising)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F)
- Place an oven-safe casserole dish (or fry pan) over medium-high heat. Saute the capsicum with 1 teaspoon of olive oil for 3 minutes or until the capsicum is slightly softened but still crunchy. Set aside the capsicum.
- In the same casserole dish (or fry pan), saute the pumpkin with 1 teaspoon of olive oil for 5 minutes. Add around 1/2 cup of water to the casserole dish allowing the pumpkin to steam. When the water has evaporated and the pumpkin is tender, stir through the peach mango conserve. Allow the pumpkin to caramelise for 1 minute then set aside the pumpkin
- If your casserole dish is dirty, wipe it clean.
- To prepare the pizza sauce, combine the tomato paste with the chopped canned tomatoes. Set aside.
To assemble the pizza
- Dust a clean surface with our. Roll the dough on the floured surface so it's 5 cm larger than your casserole dish (or baking tin).
- Carefully transfer the dough into the casserole dish. Gently press the dough against the bottom and sides.
- Sprinkle 1/2 the cheese on the base of the pizza Then sprinkle the tomatoes and capsicum Pour all of the prepared pizza sauce. Arrange all the pumpkin and cheese on top
- Bake the pizza for 30 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
- Serve the pizza hot with a side salad. Store leftovers, if any, in the casserole dish with the lid on top.
For more recipes visit www.bonnemaman.com.au