One Italian cooking challenge, 3 courses, 4 perfect pizzas and all that tanto rapidamente! Because this week it was ‘Deliziosa Italia’ for us at the Cooking Challenge. It goes without saying that we don’t do things by halves. That’s why we set ourselves the greatest challenge of Italian cuisine: baking the perfect pizza! And that in a whole 4 variations. Plus a starter in the shape of the Italian flag and our own, new tiramisu variant for dessert!
Ti amo Italia! At our cooking challenge with friends event, the theme this time was my favourite culinary country. Simply incomparably good tastes the perfect pizza in Italy. With our 3 quickly prepared courses, we brought Italy into the kitchen and found the recipe for the perfect pizza: the right pizza dough and the right pizza sauce simply make the difference! Basta!
Every week, at least two friends take up the wooden spoon and it’s time for a cooking challenge or creative cooking together. The chefs do their best to fulfil the theme and we are particularly fond of country themes.
Cooking challenge with the theme: tipico italiano / typically Italian.
Hors d’oeuvre: Antipasti di Bandiera Italiana / Italian flag as starter.
Main course: Quattro Pizze deliziosso / The perfect pizza in four variations.
Dessert: Tiramisu rosso d’estate / Red Summer Tiramisu
On about ⅓ of the serving plate on the left, layer the washed rocket and lettuce leaves in a row. Now layer the halved and thinly sliced mozzarella slices on the stems of the lettuce leaves in two rows. Place the sliced tomatoes on the right. Before serving, spread about 6 tbsp olive oil evenly over everything. Generously grind fresh pepper and 2 pinches of salt over the top. Finally, spread the balsamic cream in even strips from right to left over the starter. Ready is the Italian flag as a classic starter!
Working time: 10 minutes
Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water. Add salt, sugar and olive oil and mix. Now gradually sift in the flour and knead into a smooth dough using a hand mixer or preferably by hand. Now cover the bowl with the dough with a kitchen towel and put it in a warm place for 30 minutes – if you have a draught, it is best to put it in the switched-off oven so that the dough does not get a draught. Now knead the dough again and place it covered in the fridge or make it into a pizza straight away. The best way to make a perfect pizza is to let the dough rest for at least 1 day!
Finely chop the garlic clove and the onion, dice the tomatoes. Fry the garlic and onion in a pan in a little olive oil, add the sugar and caramelise briefly. Deglaze with the tin of tomatoes and bring to the boil. Stir in the tomato purée and season to taste with salt and oregano, thyme, rosemary and basil. Only fold in the tomato pieces at the end.
We made 4 different pizzas for four people with different ingredients. But actually, you can put anything you like on your very own perfect pizza. The only important thing is that the ingredients harmonise with each other – such as leaf spinach and gorgonzola or feta cheese, olives, capers and onions. On the next pages you can see our pizza variations with the ingredients used. We definitely had a clear favourite in our 4 variations!
Bake the pizzas individually in a preheated oven at 200° for 15-20 minutes so that it gets nice and crispy. For whom the perfect pizza should be rather airy and not so crispy, it is recommended to bake the pizza at 250° for approx. 10-15 minutes.
Working time: 10 minutes each
Roll out the pizza dough as before. Spread the tomato sauce generously on one half, leaving about 1.5 cm of the edge. Spread the ingredients of your choice on the tomato sauce-coated half of the pizza. Now fold the uncovered half of the dough over it. Use a fork to press the “naked” edge of the dough together. To ensure that all the ingredients are cooked through, bake the calzone in the oven at 200° for at least 25 minutes.
Tip: The calzone tastes particularly good if you also sprinkle it with cheese on the outside and give it a cheese crust.
Place the sour cherries in a saucepan with the cherry juice and stir in the cake glaze powder. Stir in 1 tsp cinnamon. Heat the cherries until the cherry juice thickens. Now remove the cherries from the heat, pour into a baking dish and spread evenly or pour evenly into dessert bowls. The cherry layer should not cover more than ⅓ of the dish.
Now place the ladyfingers in rows on top of the still warm cherry mixture and press down until they sink about halfway into the cherry layer. When the cherry mixture is only lukewarm or has already cooled, spread at least 6 tbsp of Amaretto evenly over the ladyfingers. To serve in dessert bowls, break the ladyfingers into small pieces and spread them in coarse crumbs over the cherries. Drizzle with amaretto.
For the mascarpone cream, mix together the quark and mascarpone until a clear, firm mixture is formed. Grate approx. 1 tsp orange zest from an organic orange or use 1 sachet of Dr. Oetker orange zest. Squeeze the orange and fold in the juice and 1 tsp lemon juice. Scrape out the vanilla pod and mix in with the sugar.
Taste the cream and season to taste with sugar and lemon juice. Now spread the cream evenly over the ladyfingers and smooth it out. Now place the dessert in the fridge – you can serve it immediately after it has cooled, but it tastes better if it rests for at least 1 hour.
Tip: I prepared my cherry tiramisu the day before, so the ladyfingers were just rightly infused with amaretto but not mushy.
Working time: Approx. 15 minutes
The entire Italian menu around the perfect pizza is easily enough for 6 hearty eaters Bon appetit!
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