Have you ever been to a catered pizza party? Me either until this week. Our friends Angie and Guy won a pizza party in a raffle and invited 30 of their closest friends to a Christmas Pizza Party. I didn’t know about the catered bit before I got there or I would have taken a good camera. All these photos were taken with my phone.
As we walked up to their house, we saw an awning and what looked like a pizza oven in the driveway. I knew there were a lot of people going and I was hoping it wasn’t pizza made on the BBQ grill.
We said our hellos, met new friends, had a drink and then I headed outside to meet Simone Wright who owns Fire’n’Dough. She’s been catering all over Southeast Queensland with her pizza ovens for 6 years from her base in Redland City, between Brisbane and the Gold Coast. I saw all the pizzas being rolled out very thinly and I asked if extra flour was the secret to her crust.
“No, the recipe is the secret,” Simone said, “the flour just keeps it from sticking to the pans.
With all the pans lined up and hungry people sitting around the pool, it was time for Simone and her helper Courtney to begin the cooking. One bite of that nearly paper thin crust and I was back outside and asked her where she learned to make this outstanding pizza. She went to Italy and learned how to make proper pizza. Of course that’s how you’d do it if you wanted to be the best.
“All those heavy pizza bases covered with tons of ingredients is not how they make pizza in Italy,” I was told. These pizzas were all about the ingredients and the crust was just a vehicle to get them to my mouth. They made a garlic pizza, plain tomato and cheese, capsicum and onion, mushroom, hot chili peppers, pesto and many more.
I went back in and partied and ate more pizza and then I had more questions so I went back to the driveway and asked where she got her pizza oven. They have the one she was using and they have a double oven setup as well. Both are hand made. They bought a standard box trailer and put cement sheeting over it and on top of that they built a pizza oven from a kit from their local Bunnings Hardware. (US people think Home Depot)
John came outside and I said I thought we needed a pizza oven out back and he laughed and said, “Before the smoker? I thought you wanted a smoker?” A woman can want more than one thing, right?
Just when I thought I couldn’t eat another bite of pizza, Simone announced that it was time for dessert pizzas. First she spread applesauce over the pizza crust and on top of that she sprinkled some crumble mixture. The pizzas flash baked for about 4 minutes and then she drizzled caramel sauce on top.
The second choice was the pizza crust smeared with chocolate ganache, topped with fresh raspberries and marshmallows and into the oven. The marshmallows got toasted. Once out of the oven, she put whipped cream on each piece. Okay, I’ll agree that this pizza doesn’t look all that terrific but it tasted SO good.
When I make thin crust pizza I use Jamie Oliver’s recipe that makes 6 to 8 medium pizzas. My friend Angie does hers on a pizza stone in her BBQ grill. She puts the stone in and turns all the burners on. When it’s as hot as it gets, she turns the heat off under the stone and plops the pizza on. I haven’t tried cooking pizza this way, have you?
- 7 cups strong white bread flour or Tipo "00" flour or 5 cups strong white bread flour or Tipo "00" flour, plus 2 cups finely ground semolina flour
- 1 level tablespoon fine sea salt
- 2 (1/4-ounce) packets active dried yeast
- 1 tablespoon raw sugar
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2½ cups lukewarm water
- Sift the flours and salt onto a clean work surface and make a well in the middle. In a large measuring cup, mix the yeast, sugar and olive oil into the water and leave for a few minutes, then pour into the well. Using a fork, bring the flour in gradually from the sides and swirl it into the liquid. Keep mixing, drawing larger amounts of flour in, and when it all starts to come together, work the rest of the flour in with your clean, flour-dusted hands. Knead until you have a smooth, springy dough.
- Place the ball of dough in a large flour-dusted bowl and flour the top of it. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and place in a warm room for about 1 hour until the dough has doubled in size.
- Now remove the dough to a flour-dusted surface and knead it around a bit to push the air out with your hands - this is called punching down the dough. You can either use it immediately, or keep it, wrapped in plastic wrap, in the fridge (or freezer) until required. If using straightaway, divide the dough up into as many little balls as you want to make pizzas - this amount of dough is enough to make about six to eight medium pizzas.
- Timing-wise, it's a good idea to roll the pizzas out about 15 to 20 minutes before you want to cook them. Don't roll them out and leave them hanging around for a few hours, though - if you are working in advance like this it's better to leave your dough, covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator. However, if you want to get them rolled out so there's 1 less thing to do when your guests are round, simply roll the dough out into rough circles, about ¼-inch thick, and place them on slightly larger pieces of olive-oil-rubbed and flour-dusted aluminum foil. You can then stack the pizzas, cover them with plastic wrap, and pop them into the refrigerator.
- Add your favorite sauce and ingredients and cook at a really high temperature in a pizza oven or in your home oven on a pizza stone.
Oh, Maureen! You get to do the coolest stuff, attend the most amazing parties and get togethers, and cooking classes! Wonderful!
first I smiled at the title of your post, becuase we “kind of cater” pizza parties by having our guests top their pizzas the way they want. I make the dough early in the morning.
but, reading your post, I realized this is two logs above what we do…. I would KILL to have that pizza recipe. Kill, well, maybe not… but almost kill. Tickle? Can I settle for tickling someone?
Could you recommend a good sauce for the thin pizza… something not sweet?? LOVE your posts!
Oh heavens – Maureen – your pictures are just plain torture! These pizzas look fantastic! And what a cool oven! Yes, a lady can want more than one thing! That apple sauce/crumbly/caramel sauce pizza sounds insanely delicious – if I had been here, I would have to have been wheeled home in a wheelbarrow!!!
Vijitha Shyam says
This is so cool. I keep telling my husband that I should get real pizza or tandoor fireplace in the backyard. I like how super thin the crust is 🙂
Rachel (Rachel's Kitchen NZ) says
Oh, yes these are the only type of pizza worth eating – we are lucky to Pipi Truck here in Hawke’s Bay which do this style of pizza. I do hanker for a pizza oven – I shall continue to dream!
I neve tryed the pizza like this way but it sound very good! I would like just one right now!! I wish you a happy Christmas even if the cold is not there 😉
Chris Scheuer says
Ha ha, you sound so much like me. We went on a cruise once. I was a small private yacht with a chef on board. I spent more time in the kitchen with him than I did enjoying the crystal clear, azure water and the gentle, balmy breezes. 🙂
Melissa @ My Recent Favorite books says
It sounds like you had so much fun!
The pizzas look delicious! =)
Have a very merry Christmas!
Oh My! This post reminds me of the wonderfully fantastic and delicious pizzas I had in Italy, especially Florence. Best pizza I have ever tasted.
All of the pics got my mouth to watering, even the chocolate one. Looks divine to me.
Hotly Spiced says
I want a pizza oven! What a great party idea – have someone turn up with a pizza oven and make pizzas! I hope their business does well. So glad there was also dessert pizza. Merry Christmas to you and John, Maureen and I’m sorry my Christmas card failed to arrive! xx
Choc Chip Uru says
I have yet to try a pizza like this, I always make thick crust (personal preferences :P)
Yours looks very traditional and tasty, must have been so much fun to make! 🙂
Choc Chip Uru
Emma @ Bake Then Eat says
I’ve been to Italy a few times and the pizza can not be beaten, those lovely thin crusts are amazing! I have never had any luck getting them that thin at home. On my current wish list is a pizza stone just to see if it works like it should! Merry Christmas to you and your family 😀
Lizzy (Good Things) says
What a fabulous party idea! Pizza features often at our place, as I have both a wood-fired cast iron chiminea with a pizza oven on top, and one of those Breville jobbies, which works well too. Love your thin crust pizza ideas. Seasons eatings.
Excellent party! I’ve got a couple of dessert pizza recipes that I have yet to try. I seem to remember Nutella being a component of at least one of them. Maybe one day.
By the way, your gingerbread men recipe… very very good. 🙂 Many thanks for sharing it.
Kim Bultman | a little lunch says
I agree wholeheartedly that pizza crust is the vehicle that’s meant to transfer the rest of the pizza into your mouth. Thank you so much for this recipe, Maureen (from me n’my thin-crust lovin’ man) and Merry Christmas to you & yours! xo
What a brilliant idea for a business and a party! Happy Christmas to you both x
claudia lamascolo says
WOW These pies are making my mouth water! Merry Christmas Maureen thanks for a great recipe and photos!
Suzy @ The Mediterranean Dish says
Maureen, what an awesome post! I was just working on my menu for the week and thought I should do a pizza! Then I opened your email, and now I just MUST! The pictures look great, even though you used your phone camera! I am glad you did; I wouldn’t have wanted to miss out on this fun story. Merry Christmas!
How very cool is that!! The only way I like pizza is thin crust, and a few really good toppings but not over loaded. All of the pizzas look so very good!!
Tania @My Kitchen Stories says
Great party Maureen. I went to a similar one here in Sydney only 3 Italian men come along and make the Pizzas and do a bit of a show. They look like models and it is a lot of fun. I think it is time I sent you some special Italian pizza flour, I have sent some to Celia this year, and the recipe for ageing the dough. ( I have not yet done this but have the recipe and instructions ready for when my new BBQ gets here). Good Pizza dough is always fermented in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Italian Pizza is a religion in Italy and the proving time is the alter……
(I have been reading the flour mill website- part of my job at work)
There’s special pizza flour and not 00 as Jamie Oliver says to use? And it must be aged?
I’m off to look at Bunnings to see how difficult it is to make a pizza oven. 🙂
I’ve never been to a catered pizza but they look fantastic! I wouldn’t mind one of those ovens right in my backyard. 🙂
Oh I’ve walked all over the patio out back looking for a spot. 🙂
Nagi@RecipeTin Eats says
How did I miss this post?? I need to order a ganache one please. Do you guarantee delivery in 30 minutes, like Pizza Hut? 🙂
no, sorry, only get these when you come to visit 🙂
Laura (Tutti Dolci) says
Thin crust pizza is my favorite (in fact, we just grilled pizzas last night!). These all look scrumptious!
Thanks for the recipe! That sounds like a very fun party. I usually only like thin crust pizza when it is like an “appetizer,” but these photos definitely make me think it can be a whole meal.
Stolen word for word from jamie olivers Web site – at least mention the man
Hi Dave, if you’d read the post fully, you’d see that I say it’s Jamie Oliver’s recipe and in the actual recipe, the author is Jamie Oliver. I’m not sure what you meant by mentioning the man other than what I have already done. I even linked the author to the food network post where the recipe is. If I have done something wrong, please let me know.
There is nothing more authentic than thin crust italian pizza dough. i go to restaurants in new york that serve it like this and the slices are to die for. Thanks for sharing these awesome photos.
Eva Taylor says
Believe it or not, I dragged a cast iron pizza pan from crate & barrel in Chicago years ago (before they cared about luggage weight!) so we regularly make our pizzas on the BBQ! I’m going to give this pizza dough a go next time, I usually make a naan pizza dough which is crispy and slightly chewy all at once!
Gerry Perez says
this is one awesome and simple recipe! made some pizzas tonight in my home-made outdoor pizza oven and they turned out amazing–thanks to this crust. thanks Maureen for publishing this.
I’m glad you like this dough as much as we do. Enjoy!
Made the pizza crust as directed, left in fridge covered overnight, made beautiful mouth watering pizzas in our double chamber cob oven. Brushed edges with garlic butter and topped as desired. Average cook time was 2 minutes
Thank you so much for the recipe.
For thick crust roll to 1/4″thick, thin crust 1/8″. Have made 20 pizzas so far with this recipe. Everyone loves it. Best recipe I’ve found on net.