Dave makes delicious pizza. He makes it at home, it's fast and fairly foolproof, it's rectangular instead of round, and the best part is that you can mix and match whatever toppings you want.
We had a particularly delicious version of his quick-rise, quick-bake pizzas last weekend. It starred an unusual little Japanese mushroom, maitake. It's also called Hen of the Woods but that just sound strange. It doesn't really taste like chicken - although it is a bit woody. On a crispy, slightly risen pizza dough and with Gruyere, it's really delicious.
The recipe below is Dave's, and you can read more about his pizza - and other food-related escapades - on his own site. The only two things I'd note in this recipe:
1. Take care and bake the pizza on a silpat baking sheet. Don't use a metal baking tray if you can help it - it can make the dough come out soft or even soggy if you're not careful.
2. If you don't have a fancy stand dough mixer, use your hands and combine the ingredients in the same order listed below. Lightly knead the dough together, watch this for technique. Make sure your yeast is well dissolved and gets evenly distributed when you add it!
You won't get to enjoy it with Dave and Annika's hilarious company, but at least you'll get to nom some tasty pizza. . .
Dave's Maitake and Gruyere Pizza
1 lb. maitake mushrooms
1 large leek, thinly sliced
1 cup aged Gruyere cheese
1 clove garlic
2 cups bread flour
1 package active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp olive oil + extra
Dissolve 1 tsp. sugar in warm water. Add yeast; allow to bloom, 2-3 minutes.
In a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment place flour, salt, remaining sugar, and olive oil. Set mixer to low and allow dry ingredients to combine before adding bloomed yeast. Add slowly until the dough forms into a ball. Punch dough down into a flat disc; cover and allow to rise for 15-20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Slice mushrooms, garlic, and leek and sautee in a cast iron skillet until softly wilted. Stretch the pizza dough into a rectangle enough to fill a 9×13″ Silpat sheet. Cover with sauteed vegetables and grated Gruyere; bake directly on the Silpat (i.e., not in a baking sheet) for 7-10 minutes or until crust is crispy. Allow to cool for 2-5 minutes and serve.