May 07, 2011

Hawaiian Pizza Braids

I've posted a couple times now about Pizza Braids.  These have become one of our mainstays, as they're fast and easy to make, and really good.   Last time I made them, though, I decided to shake things up a bit in terms of ingredients.  Instead of pepperoni and Italian sausage, I decided to go with he classic "Hawaiian" pizza combination of Canadian bacon and pineapple.

Technique-wise, this isn't any different than the pizza braid recipe we published earlier.   I just changed up a few ingredients to make them mesh together better.   However, I did find that these braids cooked up a lot faster than the ones I've previously made.   I'm not sure why that would be the case, but if I'd cooked it for the full time originally directed, these would have been badly burnt.   Which serves to remind that one should not take the cooking times published with a recipe as gospel, since oven airflow, room temperature and other variables can impact cooking time.   Best to use published times as a general guideine, but also keep watch.

These braids turned out just as good as the earlier ones and make for a nice change of pace.   They were a bit more moist than the sausage/pepperoni ones, probably reflecting the juices in the pineapple.  Next time I might try to squeeze out some of that juice, but the higher moisture level wasn't enough to render the crust soggy.  In any case, this experiment was a success, and I'll certainly be continuing to experiment with using different mixes of ingredients to make the pizza braids.

Hawaiian Pizza Braids

1/2         pound sweet Italian sausage
1/4         pound pepperoni
2            tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil + 1/4 cup
1            onion, grated
6            ounces button mushrooms, sliced thin
2            teaspoons minced garlic
1/2         teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2         teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1/4         teaspoon table salt
2            tablespoons cornmeal
2            cans refrigerated thin pizza crust
1 1/3      cup canned pizza sauce (we used Dei Fratelli)
8            ounces mozzarella cheese, freshly shredded
5            ounces Canadian bacon, chopped into small pieces
1            can (8 ounces) pineapple tidbits, drained
2            tablespoons + two teaspoons freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
1            teaspoon dried basil
1            teaspoon dried oregano
yield = 4 -5 servings

Heat two tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add onion and mushroom and cook, stirring often, until the onion is soft and the mushrooms have released all their liquid. 

Clear a space in the middle of the pan and add garlic and crushed red pepper flakes.  Cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds), then add pepper and salt, stir to mix, and remove from heat.

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Prepare two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.  Sprinkle 1 tablespoon corn meal on each baking sheet.

Spread one pizza crust on a baking sheet in a rectangle.  Spoon 2/3 cup of pizza sauce along the middle third of the dough.  Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut even slits on both sides of the sauce.   Sprinkle 2 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese atop the sauce, then top with 1/2 of the mushroom mixture, 1/2 of the Canadian bacon and 1/2 can of the pineapple tidbits.  Spread another 2 ounces of mozzarella atop these toppings, then sprinkle with one tablespoon grated romano cheese.   

Starting at one end, fold alternating strips from the sides of the dough over the filling at an angle.

Brush the top of the pizza braid with olive oil, then sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon dried basil, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano and one teaspoon romano cheese.   Bake until nicely browned, (20-30 minutes) then remove from the oven to a cutting board and allow to cool for 5 minutes.  Slice and serve.  Repeat with the other prepared baking sheet and the remainder of the ingredients.

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