My instinctual response to any mention of Mary Berry is to immediately begin to pre-heat my oven in preparation for a bake. So, here I am, in the midst of the excitement of the start of the new season of The Great British Bake Off, staging my dramatic return to baking and blogging.
I think it’s best to start with a quick catch-up. To this end, I offer you a list of a few things that I have learned during our time apart:
1. The delight associated with wearing new pyjamas does not wane as you get older.
2. Royal babies aren’t nearly as exciting as royal weddings.
3. Royal leaving-hospital dresses aren’t nearly as exciting as royal wedding dresses. (It is highly likely that this fact accounts for item 2 on my list).
4. Eating flowers and drinking teas made out of flowers makes your insides feel pretty.
5. There should be more dogs in movies. I have long suspected this fact and now, after a series of deep cinematic disappointments, I am now firmly committed to it’s truth. A movie with a dog in it will always offer something worth seeing.
6. Japanese sewing books are even prettier than my insides after I eat / drink flowers.
Unlike a lot of movies, royal babies and the opportunities for fashion moments that royal babies provide this pizza- tart is not a disappointment. In fact, eating this tart made me feel about as good as I imagine it would feel to sip on jasmine tea, while wearing new pyjamas and watching a movie about a dog (in which the human characters have been styled by authors of Japanese sewing books).
I call this a pizza-tart because I am not sure if this recipe quite qualifies as either a pizza or tart.
The quantities will vary according to how many pizzas you would like to make:
- A batch your favourite pizza dough. I like mine wet and fruity. I do a long slow pre-ferment on a well hydrated dough.
- A block of chopped Gruyère ( I would consider using a mix of Gruyère and a more subtle hard cheese as the Gruyère flavour is just on the edge of being overpowering).
- A few tsp grated lemon rind (about 1 tsp per small pizza)
- Lemon juice (just a squeeze or so).
- Coarse ground black pepper
- Sliced ripe nectarines (about 1nectarine per small pizza)
- Lots of asparagus
- Olive oilMethod:
- Shape your dough into rounds (the size that you would like them). I made mine quite thick because the dough had such a beautiful fruity smell on it and because I thought that a crisp thin base is better suited to traditional pizzas.
- Pre-heat your oven to as high as it will go (or as directed in your pizza dough recipe)
- While the oven is preheating use a hot griddle pan to grill the nectarine and asparagus. Remember to place the pieces at an angle so that those you get the delicious looking scorch marks. Use the scorch marks to judge when to turn and when to remove from heat (when the marks are there then act). Squeeze a bit of lemon over the asparagus once you have removed it from the heat. You could do all this while the pizzas are in the oven, but if you are sensitive like me this might get a little overwhelming (rather grill first and keep the results warm while you work with the pizzas.
- Drizzle the pizza bases with olive oil and sprinkle on a little lemon rind, salt and coarse ground black pepper.
- Bake the pizza bases until just starting to brown. Then take them out and sprinkle over the Gruyère (try not to use too much). Place them back into the oven and remove again just as the cheese as melted.
- Top the pizzas with the warm nectarines and asparagus.
- Drizzle with olive oil, season with a good dose of black pepper and garnish with some light shavings of Gruyère. Serve immediately.