Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tuesdays With Dorie: Pizza Rustica

Pizza Rustica
Our latest adventure from Baking With Julia is Pizza Rustica, which came from contributing baker Nick Malgieri, who is pretty terrific. Upon reading the recipe, I became a little skeptical about what this would turn out to be: a savory pie (ricotta, mozzarella, pecorino romano, prosciutto, eggs) in what seemed to be a sweet cookie crust. Also, there was the whole work aspect of this recipe. I don't make pies for a reason: Crust is a nuisance, and also, they require a lot of work for minimal payback in terms of enjoyment in my household.

Then I realized I could dovetail my need to provide food for a skating-club event with Pizza Rustica prep weekend. Few things make my heart beat faster than the opportunity to use friends as guinea pigs for my culinary adventures, so it was decided: Pizza Rustica would be my light mid-afternoon entree-snack-noshy thing.

Although the recipe directs the prep of the crust to be done in a food processor, I used my KA mixer. On the rare occasions that I make a pie dough, I have found that I prefer the way the KA paddle blends the butter into the dry ingredients.

Once the crust was done, I refrigerated it overnight. Then, while half paying attention to the crust and half paying attention to the men's long programs at the world figure-skating championships, I got busy with the rolling-out portion of my day. After I had the crust shaped on the marble, I rolled it around my rolling pin, then fit it in the pie plate.

Crust in the pan
My experience with crust is usually a nightmare, with splits, cracks, breaks, fractures, agonies, pains, discomforts ... you get the picture. After I got this crust in the pie plate, I looked at it and thought: Have I been replaced with someone who can actually handle pie dough? If so, when did that happen?

I trimmed the edges of the crust, then filled it with the cheesy-prosciuttoey filling. Next step was the lattice top. The recipe didn't specify a lattice weave, but after watching Yuzuru Hanyu nail a brilliant long program, I felt bold. I've never woven a lattice pie top before, but for a first-time effort, I'm not displeased with the result.

Lattice top on pizza, without crust trimmed

Lattice on, trimmed, and crimped to the bottom crust
With the lattice all set, I popped the Pizza Rustica in the oven. I figured I didn't have much to lose and, frankly, was pretty optimistic that I'd at least have something attractive, if potentially odd to consume.

Fresh from the oven
So it was out of the oven, smelled great, and was ready to serve. The reviews were raves. When I finally had a piece, I had to agree. Perhaps not a quad, but definitely a triple axel. My skepticism was unfounded. I'm still not sure that this pizza would fly on the home front, but I could definitely see myself making this again. For that matter, I can see myself making an actual pie, with an actual crust, perhaps even with a woven lattice top.


pinkstripes said...

I'm glad the crust worked for you! It looks great!

Cher Rockwell said...

Lovely job with the pie dough - I think you are secretly a pie pro :-)

Maggie said...

Your lattice looks beautiful! I can't believe you've never done it before! Though some people didn't like it, I think the majority of us were impressed by how much we liked it. I certainly was!