Would you believe me if I told you that one of the best pizzas we ever had was in Ghana?
To be fair, it was made by Italians and Italians are Italian anywhere they go.
(And yay for that, because everyone on every continent needs good pizza.)
So, it’s 2009 and we have gone to visit friends in Ghana. We are hanging out in a popular travelers spot, and there is a a pizza restaurant nearby called Kokrobite Garden. And oh. my. god. It was so good we ate there two nights in a row and have been talking about it ever since.
On both occasions we ordered one pizza each and shared both of them, because there were just so many we wanted to try. One of the pizzas we tried was the caprese pizza. The dough was baked with mozzarella, and then the tomatoes were added afterwards, cold.
And it was just so perfect. Every ingredient was fresh, full of flavor, and generally the best version of itself. Proving to me once and for all that mozzarella, tomatoes, garlic and basil are really all you need to make the most incredible pizza.
Not gonna lie. It really is hard to recreate that perfection with supermarket ingredients and a regular oven, though it won’t stop me trying!
In the search for the ripest, juiciest tomatoes I tend to default to small cherry tomatoes. They are mixed with minced red onion, garlic, fresh basil and olive oil- a classic mix of strong flavors which pop against the plain mozzarella base.
If at all possible, opt for a great quality imported buffalo mozzarella to take this pizza closer to it’s perfect state. It can be an expensive option so to be honest I will usually use a ball of the cheaper stuff, and it’s still great – but if you treat yourself, you will notice the difference.
The dough is a buttermilk crust, from a recipe I found on The Butter Factory website. It carries a nice taste and goes fairly crispy in the oven. It’s nothing to do with the original pizza I’m trying to recreate, I just really love this recipe because it is minimal effort and requires no yeast or proofing (a seemingly impossible task in my converted basement kitchen!)
This has been a regular meal in our home for many years now and we just love it. It is an easy, relaxed pizza to throw together on a Friday night. Make the dough (5min), make the topping (5m), let it rest while you pick what to watch on Netflix (45m and can I recommend Bloodline? OMG.), assemble the pizza (5m), bake while you mix up your drinks or open your wine (10m), add the topping and EAT!
Don’t worry if that made your head spin, the proper instructions are below…
caprese pizza with buttermilk crust
Yield 1 pizza
- 125g (4.4oz) ball of mozzarella
For the pizza crust
- 140ml (1/2 cup) buttermilk
- 200g (1 and 2/3 cup) plain white flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda (aka bicarbonate of soda)
- 2 tsps of olive oil
For the topping
- About 20 cherry, grape or baby plum tomatoes, quartered
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- A couple tablespoons of finely minced red pepper
- 10 basil leaves, chopped
- 1-2 Tblsps of extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- First, make the crust by combining all ingredients in a bowl and then kneading for a couple minutes until a soft dough if formed. If it feels too sticky, add some extra flour, a tablespoon at a time. Too dry? Add some extra buttermilk or a little water, a teaspoon at a time.
- Allow the dough to rest for 45 minutes.
- In the meantime, prepare all the ingredients for the topping and mix together in a bowl.
- Pre-heat the oven to 220C / 430F once the dough is almost finished resting.
- Once the dough is ready, stretch it or roll it out as thin as you can onto a pizza stone or baking tray. Top with slices of the mozzarella.
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the crust is cooked through and golden and the mozzarella is melted and starting to crisp.
- Scatter the topping over the pizza.
- Decisions, decisions. You can either eat the pizza now, with the topping still a little cold and fresh, or you can put it back in the oven for 1 or 2 minutes so the topping warms up and softens a little. It's great both ways!