This is my adaptation of a really excellent pizza we had at Piccolo Tesoro in Montagu. Montagu is a picturesque village about 200 km outside Cape Town on Route 62. We stayed in a pretty little hotel called Four Oaks Guest House.
We had an excellent evening meal there and the breakfasts were lovely too. Piccolo was also the name of the really cute chihuahua who stole the show at the hotel.
Traditional architecture, churches and quaint cottages surrounded by white roses.
We wandered around the Saturday morning market with people selling homemade jams, chutneys, breads, cakes, pestos and freshly made take-away foods, but we couldn’t stay long.
We were booked on a river boat cruise at Viljoensdrift before lunch. We had a lovely bottle of the Viljoensdrift rose while drifting down the river enjoying the views. You can also order a picnic but we had lunch already booked at the beautiful Reuben’s in Robertson. You can see my full review of lunch here.
We were very full after our fabulous lunch so we had a lie down and went out quite late for a light dinner. Pizza seemed like the best option as we had gone gourmet for lunch. Arriving at Piccolo Tesoro it seemed like everyone else had the same idea. It was packed, they had actually run out of chairs. My dad had to sit on a stool for the first half hour until somebody left!!
We did have to wait a while because they were so busy and we were the last table but we didn’t mind at all. We had enjoyed an enormous lunch remember and The Washer Up discovered his new favourite beer while we were waiting thanks to our friend Paul. Jack Black is the best South African beer now according to him.
The pizzas were excellent, some of the best I have ever had actually. The “Sophia” was my favourite, it was topped with Gorgonzola, green fig preserve and rocket. The bases were thin and crispy and not overloaded with toppings, which is exactly how I like them. Green fig preserve is used a lot in South Africa, we also had it at our picinic at Bramon Wine Estate with the baked camembert. It is made with unripe figs.
My version of this fantastic pizza is made with a spelt flour dough. I have just found a new supplier of spelt flour actually in Alhaurin (where we live). El Amasadero supplies all different types of flour including spelt, quinoa, oat, wholemeal and strong bread flour. He also supplies baking accessories and utensils, including pizza stones which I could definitely do with. He ships all over Spain and Europe or you can buy from him directly in his office/warehouse in Alhaurin just in front of the Policia Local.
He can also get Teff flour, which I am really excited about because I have been trying to get hold of it for ages. It is used to make the Ethiopian flatbread Injera. Injera is a flatbread made with yeast and the runny batter is poured into a hot pan and cooked a bit like a thick crepe. I have made it before with spelt flour and have been quite happy with the results. Now I can try it with the proper flour I will be posting an Ethiopian recipe soon.
Unfortunately figs aren’t in season here yet and we don’t have the green fig preserve so I used dried figs soaked in boiling water to soften them up a bit. Gorgonzola is also quite difficult to get hold of here so I used goat’s cheese instead, you could also use a blue cheese if you like.
Goat’s Cheese, Fig & Rocket Spelt Flour Pizza
Makes 2-3 pizzas, vegetarian, Dough recipe adapted from vegrecipesofindia
Prep time 25 mins (plus 1-2 hours resting) Cooking time 5 -10 mins
For the dough:
- 375g – 450 gr (2.5 to 3 cups) spelt flour (or plain)
- 220 ml (1 cup) warm water
25gr fresh yeast, finely chopped or 1 sachet quick action dried yeast
- 1 tsp honey
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- olive oil for brushing
- polenta/cornmeal for rolling
For the tomato sauce:
- 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- a pinch dried chilli flakes
- 1 tin (400 gr) chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- a squeeze of honey
- 1/2 tsp basil pesto
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
For the topping:
- 100-150 gr goat’s cheese/gorgonzola/blue cheese
- 10-12 dried figs halved (or 4-5 fresh figs, sliced) or some green fig preserve
- 3 handfuls of grated mozzarella or other cheese
- fresh rocket leaves to garnish
Whisk the honey into the warm water until it dissolves then add the yeast, whisk again and leave for 10-15 minutes to become frothy.
Add 150 gr (1 cup) flour, salt and olive oil to a large bowl, stir together then add the frothy yeast mixture. Stir again and add another 150 gr (cup) of flour until combined. Add another 75 gr (1/2 cup) flour and combine. It should be quite a sticky dough.
Use some of the remaining flour to dust the board and knead the dough for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic adding more of the flour as necessary if it sticks. Put the dough in a bowl and rub some olive oil over it. Cover and leave in a warm place for up to 2 hours or until doubled in size.
Meanwhile make the tomato sauce….
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a saute pan over a medium high heat and cook the onion, herbs and chilli flakes with a pinch of salt for about 4 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
Tip in the tinned tomatoes, add the tomato paste, honey and pesto. Season with salt & black pepper, bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes until reduced. Taste and adjust seasoning. Leave to cool. You could puree it if you like but I left mine chunky.
Preheat the oven to its highest setting, with the baking tray (or pizza stone) in there too. Make sure the oven is clean or you will have a smoking kitchen (just saying).
Punch the dough down and divide it into 2 or 3 equal balls. You can refrigerate it at this point if you like. Sprinkle some polenta (or flour) on your worksurface and start to roll or push out your dough to a kind of circle about 3-5 mm thick.
This stage is optional but this is what Piccolo Tesoro do to keep the dough crispy. They put it in the oven for one minute before they put the toppings on. That’s what I did and it worked, no soggy base.
Take it out after 1 minute and smear some of the tomato sauce on the pizza (not too much) then add your goat’s cheese slices (or chunks), your chopped/sliced figs and cover with a layer of grated cheese. Put it back in the oven for another 5 minutes (depending on heat of oven) but keep an eye on it and take it out when you are happy.
Scatter over some fresh rocket leaves and serve immediately, with a Jack Black if you can get one…