Gordon Ramsay, Gino D’Acampo and Fred Sirieix recently took a journey through Italy, France and Scotland – with hilarious consequences. The show, broadcast on ITV, was like cookerys answer to Top Gear.
During a hair-raising vespa ride through Naples, Gino decided to ditch Gordon and Fred on their way to the oldest pizzeria in town – Port’Alba.
When Gordon and Fred finally caught up with Gino, everyone got to enjoy a taste of true Neapolitan pizza fresh from a wood fired oven. This set Gordon Ramsay’s creative side into overdrive.
Topping a pizza base with lemon curd, Amalfi lemon segments, zest and juice produced a tangy finish. To add a sweet element to balance the acidity, Gordon tapped powdered sugar around the crust to allow the outside of the pizza to caramelise while in the 400 degree heat (celcius).
I attempted to replicate this lemon pizza in the Ooni 3 pizza oven, using a technique that I discovered on the Ooni Community Facebook page.The gap between the rear of the pizza stone and the pellet hopper provided the ideal space for some wood kindling.
Using 5-6 large pieces of kindling all interconnecting, it was easy to light a roaring inferno. The stone came up to 350 C in no longer than 10 minutes – amazing when you consider that pellets usually take around 15-20 minutes to reach temperature.
Feeding the fire is easy through the rear of the Ooni, by removing the pellet tray. This creates a narrow corridor with direct access to the fire. Feeding kindling into here was simple and took away the whole ‘babysitting’ process of constantly topping up with pellets. It was a far more relaxing cook.
The video will show you how to make the pizza step-by-step. By proving the dough for 48 hours, the flavour really does develop. As does the texture. If you are in a rush, you can just go for a simple 1 hour prove. In my opinion though, nothing beats the 48 hour result.
For two pizza’s, you will need…
500g ‘00’ Flour, plus extra for dusting
350ml Warm Water
7g Dried Yeast
1 tsp Salt
1 tbsp Olive Oil
4 tbsp Lemon Curd
1 Large Lemon, preferably Amalfi
6-8 Basil Leaves
6-8 tsp Creme Fraiche
Powdered (Icing) Sugar, to dust
1. For the dough, place the yeast into the warm water and stir to dissolve. Allow to stand for 5 minutes. Add the salt, flour and olive oil into the bowl of a stand mixer* fitted with a dough hook. Start the machine on a low speed and gradually add the yeast mixture to form a dough.
2. Increase the speed to medium and allow the machine to run for 8-10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth. Remove the bowl from the machine, cover with cling film and place in the fridge for 48 hours.
3. After 48 hours, remove the dough from the fridge and allow to stand for 1 hour before using. This makes the dough a lot easier to work with.
4. In a separate bowl, add the lemon curd. Grate the zest of the lemon into the bowl and cut the lemon in half. Remove the outer white skin from one half, exposing the segments. Dice up the segments and add to the lemon curd.
5. Add a squeeze of juice from the remaining half of the lemon into the bowl and mix together. Reserve in the fridge until needed.
6. Light the Ooni oven and leave to heat to a temperature of 350-400 C. Add a sprinkle of flour onto a work surface and form half of the dough into a ball. Stretch the ball out to the size of a dinner plate, around 10 inches (refer to video for technique).
7. Sprinkle a light dusting of flour on a pizza peel. Add the pizza base onto the peel and spread 2 tbsp of the lemon curd mixture onto the centre leaving a 1 inch gap around the edge for the crust.
8. Tap a dusting of powdered sugar around the crust of the pizza and place the pizza into the Ooni oven (refer to video for technique).
9. Continue to rotate the pizza every 20 seconds until the sugar has caramelised and the curd on top is slightly golden.
10. Top the pizza with dots of creme fraiche and a sprinkle of basil leaves. Slice it up and enjoy!
*A stand mixer is not a necessity, you can achieve a great result by combining the dough ingredients into a bowl and kneading by hand for 10 minutes until smooth, simply add the dough back into the bowl, cover with cling film and prove for 48 hours.
So, how does it taste? Granted, a lemon pizza sounds strange but the combination of lemon, basil, creme fraiche and wood smoke is something truly magical. The sugar on the outside ensures that no one will be leaving that crust behind!
As I stated in the video, the taste isn’t so much like a pizza per-se. It’s more of a flat lemon drizzle cake or spongey brioche. The sourdough really gives the pizza an intense flavour which matches perfectly with the toppings. It really is unique.
This pizza may be unusual in conception but it is seriously good. Any of you that own an Ooni 3 really need to invest in the wood technique. I found that this gave my pizza a far better flavour and a flawless crust.