Friday evening and thoughts turn to pizza and beer. But you’re not after just any pizza and beer, right? The Swedish beer magazine C/O Hops presented an unusual take in their Autumn 2017 edition.
C/O Hops is a beautifully presented publication dedicated to all that is good about beer. The beer and food section is always inspiring and occasionally daunting. When I saw this photo for white pizza with figs. I could hardly wait to get home from hols in the snowy north of Sweden and make it, which is what I did on Friday.
Pizza instead of dessert
It’s obvious from the photo that, unless those are giant figs, the pizzas are quite small, but hey, you could make them bigger. Or, if you read the caption, have them for dessert, which is what the creator of this pizza intends. Apparently, he doesn’t like desserts much. Not so strange if think of it as the cheese board.
White pizza has no tomato sauce, which allows you to play with different flavours. In this case, figs, whose subtle sweetness might be lost in a tomato sauce. Creme fraiche, goat’s cheese and burrata make up the “white” part of the topping. Burrata is a buffalo mozzarella made with the addition of cream, apparently. The rest of topping is made from a vanilla-spiked vinaigrette made with black (fermented) garlic, and lastly, hazelnuts.
I used roasted garlic instead and I swapped Taleggio for the goat’s cheese. Also, because I have the most boring Waitrose in Surrey, I had to make do with standard buffalo mozzarella. I realise in a country with
The method is quite straightforward, so as long as you can read Swedish you’re OK. Except there are no instruction for the pizza dough itself. And really, this is the crux of all homemade pizza – mastering your own dough. I will go into that in another post.
Actually, the other crux of home pizza making is the oven. One of these days I will make my own wood-fired oven, or even get a Roccbox. However, my kitchen oven goes quite hot. A pizza stone wouldn’t go amiss, though.
And to drink with that? Saisons, basically
C/O Hops always recommends two different beers to go with each dish and justifies their selections. Here, they recommend farmhouse ales, if possible an oak-aged farmhouse ale for the bonus point that the oak influence would pick up on the vanilla in the dressing. However, the closest they could get was Boulevard Brewing Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale and Bruery Terreux Saison Rue. Tank 7 is lovely and it seems worked extremely well with the combination of creme fraiche, the cheeses, nuts and the vinaigrette.
I also had to substitute beers. I emerged from my beer cupboard with a Nasturtium Saison by Partizan Brewing and an Apricot Wheat from Wiens Brewing in Califiornia. Both came from Beer52.com. Saison is in the farmhouse ale family, and it turns out the “Apricot Wheat” is brewed to the category “Belgian-style fruit beer” in the saison style.
How did it all turn out?
This was the best pizza I’ve ever made. Being small (the pizzas) made them easy to handle and they cooked quickly in my domestic oven. I was a bit worried about the vanilla vinaigrette, but with the creaminess of the topping with the slightly tart figs it was a fabulous combo. I pre-toasted the hazelnuts for that extra je-ne-sais-noix that only roasted hazelnuts can add. The roasted garlic aspect keeps the dessert aspect at bay, as I suspect black garlic would.
Saisons are brilliant with these types of cooked cheese because they are usually zesty and well-carbonated, and so refresh the palate. Of the three Cs of beer/food pairing here they fall in the “Cutting” category (the others are Complementing and Contrasting). Farmhouse ales often have a slight funkiness which goes well with goat’s cheese or indeed creamy, rich cheeses like Taleggio.
Of my two beer selections, the Apricot Wheat worked best. The subtle nasturtium notes of the Partizan were a bit lost, even if the beer did its job of cutting through the richness. The Apricot Wheat is not too jammy, so did just enough to complement the vanilla and figs and didn’t overwhelm them.
I made enough dough for several pizzas and froze the remainder. Can’t wait for next Friday.
Links and info
The author of all the recipes in this edition of C/O Hops is Martin Nordin. He has a vegetarian cookbook out called “Gröna Burgare”, which also appears to be available in English: Green Burgers).
Website of C/O Hops magazine (In Swedish and requires a subscription to see full articles).
Jamie Oliver’s pizza dough recipe. I adapted this for use in my Thermomix food processor.
Beer52.com, the “craft beer discovery club” from where I bought my beers
Partizan Brewery is on the Bermondsey Beer Mile in London. I love their saisons, but they do loads more. Here is their core range.