Brie Stuffed-Crust Pizza

>> Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Would you believe me if I told you our kitchen cabinets are bare? Our refrigerator is only stocked with condiments, almond milk, and a quarter bag of spinach? That we do indeed have some veggies -- carrots, onions, and broccoli -- but we let them get past their prime? And that our usually full-to-the-brim pantry has only a can of beets, two cans of kidney beans, and a can of pumpkin left inside?

It's pitiful, really. But our weekend was busy. We've been living off some homemade peanut butter, oatmeal, and eggs for the past three days. Thankfully, we have a ton of chili in the freezer. But we had chili for lunch (as well as for lunch and dinner on Sunday). Sick. Of. It. Already!

Last night, the ability to be creative with the odds and ends we do have wasn't in me. I had to make it happen. And it was incredibly difficult. But, as I usually do . . . I tried my best to find a way to either order or make pizza.

Yeah, I thought. My love for pizza can get me through this.

As always, the issue with pizza is time. Once the dough is ready, it's pretty easy. Just put whatever you have on the crust and bake. So, I set out to experiment with some of my favorite pizza dough recipes. And I didn't let the dough rise. I thought of it as an experiment.

My hypothesis: The crust would turn out OK, but not as deliciously as normal. Nor would there be as much lift -- the texture would be off slightly. But, it would be worthy of the title "pizza crust."

Did I mention we had a wheel of brie? Probably not. But . . . that was the only cheese in the house besides a Parmesan shaker. I got the idea to stuff the crust with brie because I thought it might make up for the bread being iffy.

These shots were taken of the cold pizza this morning, but you can see the brie inside. It oozes out in all its cheesy glory when heated . . .


What you'll need for the crust . . .
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (or one packet)
  • 1-1/4 cups warm -- not hot -- water
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 cups white bread flour
  • 1-1/4 cups white whole wheat flour (or regular whole wheat)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup olive oil
Method . . .
  1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the yeast and warm water. Then stir in the maple syrup. Let sit until frothy -- about 5 minutes.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flours and salt. Set aside.
  3. Create an impression in the middle of your dry ingredients with your fist (like a bowl). Pour into the impression your yeast mixture and 1/8 cup of the oil.
  4. Mix with a spatula. Then give up and just use your hands. Knead the dough for five minutes. Ad a bit more oil if the dough is too dry. You want a nice, elastic round.
  5. Divide dough into 2 balls.
  6. Refrigerate or freeze one, unless you want 2 pizzas.

What you'll need for the pizza toppings/stuffing . . .
  • 1/2 a round of brie cheese (or a single wedge may do)
  • 1 can of white beans, drained, rinsed, and mashed
  • 1/2 to 1 cup spinach, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Method . . .
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Stretch out (or roll) your dough so it's maybe 12 to 14 inches in diameter. (This measurement will make more sense in a moment.)
  3. You're going to use a round pie pan, and you want like an inch of overlap. So, make sure your dough is that big . . . then spritz a pie pan with a bit of olive oil . . . center the dough over the pie pan and press into all the sides. Let the part that overlaps hang out for a moment.
  4. Cut thin slices of your brie round and line the perimeter of the pan with them. Use as much cheese as you like. When you're done, fold over the excess dough and press into the bottom of the dough to seal. (If this doesn't make sense, please ask questions!)
  5. Prick bottom with a fork once or twice, then bake for 10 minutes.
  6. While that's baking assemble all your other ingredients. You can really use anything you want. We just used what we had around our kitchen.
  7. After the 10 minutes is up, pour your mashed beans into the pizza. Smush them down until they are level. Top with the spinach and then the tomato sauce.
  8. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and pepper. Then return to the oven to bake for another 10 to 15 minutes.
  9. We broiled ours for 3 minutes at the end, too.

My hypothesis was correct. The dough did work with no rising time. It wasn't the best pizza dough I've ever made . . . but it wasn't terrible by any standards. I'll definitely make it again just because it was so fast. The brie tasted amazing . . . and now I'm on a stuffed pizza kick.

I can't wait to try different kinds. I'm even thinking that string cheese might be a great stuffer. I just wish I could find a slightly larger pie pan. It was cool how round the pizzas turned out. Usually mine looks more like the state of Pennsylvania. Sometimes Idaho, even. Yikes.

I also can't wait to get myself to a grocery store! I'm eating chili again for lunch (as I post this) as well as some delicious treats Ashley sent to me this weekend! Her famously beautiful mandel bread.

Wow it's good. I had to limit myself because if I'm not careful, I could seriously eat all of it in one sitting!

How do you make due when you seem to have bare kitchen cabinets and refrigerator shelves? Has it forced you to eat out? Or to just be creative? We'd love to hear your tips/recipes! Just leave a comment or email us at neverhomemaker [at] gmail [dot] com.

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