Pizza night at our house is not what most people think of as “Pizza Night”. Ours doesn’t involve a phone call to Round Table, it doesn’t include a tip, and it certainly doesn’t mean a one size fits all topping choice. Pizza Night at our house means making sure there’s enough kiawe wood chopped for a long evening in the back yard.
When we moved to Maui, our backyard was a little dull. Most of the plants appeared dead and it was a little awkward since the only way to get into the space was through a bedroom. The addition of stairs from the kitchen, a spa, and a lanai turned it into a great space to gather, but what really makes the yard: The Pizza Oven.
My girls and I start the prep process about 1-2 hours before the party begins. First order of business is the pizza dough. The base that makes all things wonderful. Each little ball of delight will make one personal 10 inch pizza.
One of the best parts is sourcing locally grown produce from Maui.
My favorite place to shop: TJ’s Oriental Food Mart in Kahului. They have a fantastic selection.
While we’re busy in the kitchen, Dave is out heating the oven to 1000 degrees. It needs to be hot enough to cook the pizza from all sides, not just the floor.
Just before everyone arrives, we bring down all the toppings and beverage supplies.
Making the pizzas in the back yard really keeps the mess to a minimum.
From here each ball of dough is rolled out to as thin as possible on a peel sprinkled with freshly ground corn meal. This helps the pizza slide off into the oven, which is around 800 degrees for cooking.
The pizza cooks in about one minute and is transferred from the oven to the granite chopping block where we can slice it into wedges. Be careful if the fire master asks you what toppings you used. He may have plans to sneak a piece if he likes what he sees.The oven stays hot for several hours and these savory pizzas will often be replaced by dessert pizzas as the evening wears on. White dough topped with Nutella, strawberries, butter and cinnamon, bananas, marshmallows… If it sounds sinful, it will probably make a great dessert pie.
The fun doesn’t end with the night though, that pizza oven is still hot the next morning, just perfect for using all those leftover toppings in an egg frittata.
Any extra sausage goes into a thick and creamy gravy and tops some fresh from the pizza oven biscuits. They have a nice crust with a hint of Kiawe flavor.
Pizza Dough for a Crowd
8 C Freshly Ground Whole Wheat Flour (yes, I actually do this)
4 C White Bread Flour
4 C Water
1/2 C Olive Oil
2 T Yeast (Quick Yeast, not Active Dry)
2 tsp. Parsley
2 tsp. Basil
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 T Sea Salt
Place everything in your mixer with dough hooks in place. Let it run for about 5 minutes. Let set for 10 minutes. Form dough into balls just a tiny bit bigger than a golf ball and place on a floured board. Cover with a damp towel and let rise for 1-2 hours. This will make about 50 pizzas.
Many thanks to Photograph Bug for being willing to snap these shots for me!
Who’s ready for a pizza party?