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Pizza party yesterday, first one in several years

7 months ago
last modified: 7 months ago

I invited my friend Dina and her son to have pizza with us in our back yard yesterday, and we spent pretty much all of our time outdoors. Kevin put up an umbrella next to the Big Green Egg, and the rest of us stayed in the pergola most of the time.

I made the pizza dough on Thursday - enough for three 16" pizzas - and then stored it in the fridge overnight. Then Friday I parbaked the pizzas with no toppings so that they would be easy to assemble and finish on Saturday. Here's the first one I baked:

This one I did not dock, and so it puffed up, a bit like pita bread, and so I docked it while it was still hot, but it came out lumpy looking. Then I brushed it with olive oil, to keep it from drying out.

Here's the second one:

small view of the third one. I docked these before baking, one is on a 17" pan (on the left), and the one in the middle is on a 14½" pan, and so it is smaller and a bit thicker.

Here is Kevin putting the last one on the pizza stone inside the BGE.

We took it off the pizza screen so that it could bake directly on the stone. Nothing to worry about sticking because the pizzas were parbaked, and so the bottoms were already cooked.

Checking the bottom after 5 minutes on the stone.

Removing the last one

Ready to serve.

The BGE will get very hot, and so it is better for pizzas than the kitchen oven.

I parbaked all three crusts in the kitchen oven at 450° for 5 minutes each (one at a time) on the pizza screens which were then put on the pizza stone in the middle of the oven. After I stretched each pizza onto its screen, I sprayed it with water to keep it from drying out, and after they were baked, I brushed each on with olive oil, and stored them covered until the next day.

For toppings, I used a very thin layer of pasta sauce, plus some sautéed) orange bell pepper, mushrooms that I had sautéed in butter and olive oil with thyme and black pepper and then deglazed with a bit of Chardonnay, some Italian sausage that we had smoked earlier, and then the mozzarella cheese. Instead of fresh mozzarella, I used regular full fat mozzarella, as it melts nicely.

Before the pizzas, we had some Raw Tuscan Salad that I made that morning, using bread crumbs from whole wheat bread that I had baked earlier.

I made the pizza dough with 50% whole wheat flour, as I like the flavor better.

The BGE had an interior temperature of 450°, but the stone had a surface temperature of 650°, and so the pizzas got done in about 6-8 minutes, I think.

I assembled the first pizza inside, showing Dina's sun Dorian how to do it, and then he assembled the next two. He is very interested in learning cooking methods and techniques from me. His father is a chef from France who lives in Cabo San Lucas now, and so Dorian does not see him very much. I think I remind him a bit of his father, but I am very happy to have someone who is interested in learning from me!

This is the first time we have had more than one guest at a time in the past two + years, and we enjoyed it very much. I know Dina and Dorian are extremely careful, and so I do not think we were at much risk by having them over, especially we spent almost the entire time outdoors. The weather was perfect - it was a bit cool with a high of 70.2°, which was just right for cooking.

Kevin is quarantining himself from work since Wednesday because one of his coworkers tested positing on Tuesday, and so Kevin worked from home W-F. On Wednesday, two more of his coworkers tested positive, and so Kevin will work from home all this week. Fortunately, his office was not close to those workers, and so he thinks he was not exposed, but Sony has blocked these workers from returning to the building for a certain period of time by disabling their badges.

I plan to go to Cathedral City on Wednesday and be away from this.

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