No matter how many breads I’ve baked so far, I’m still scared of the yeast monster. The dough sitting on the kitchen counter for hours with no signs of rising makes me all the more nervous and I feel pity on myself for not being able to bake a bread. And given the weather these days, which is so fickle, that one moment it is windy, the other moment it is rainy and the very next moment it is bright and sunny, it becomes all the more daunting. But the baker spirits can’t be tamed that easily and that is the good thing at least. For every appalling thought there lies an equally strong and encouraging feeling.
Too much of the melodrama I have created here, you must be thinking! But that is true. I might not be able to put together my thoughts so brilliantly, but I hope that you would have got what I am trying to express. And especially, if you’ve baked a bread you would definitely be able to relate to all the gibberish I’m talking. Okay, so when I first saw this beauties, which Ottolenghi calls in his book as brioche pizzas, I was simply smitten by the cuteness factor they bring along with their small size.
To me they aren’t pizzas, and so as to the author. But would there be any better name for them? I called them Pizzettes to make them sound slightly more glamorous! Some more melodrama…huh? Whatever you like them to name, they still remain an ultimate comfort snack. The buttery, slightly sweet brioche dough makes an interestingly flavorful pairing with the salty feta and sweet and sour tomatoes. A perfect snack to put together on your Sunday brunch table!
2 tbsp lukewarm water
1 tsp active dry yeast
190 gm all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 tsp salt
5 tsp superfine sugar
2 eggs, at room temprature
75 gm cold unsalted butter
1 recipe brioche dough
Oven dried tomatoes
300 gm tomatoes
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly gound black pepper
1/2 tsp dried mint
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 egg, lightly beaten
75 gm feta cheese, crumbled
40 gm black olives
olive oil, for drizzling
coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- For the brioche dough, place the lukewarm water and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer. Leave for 10 minutes for the yeast to activate. Add all the rest ingredients for brioche dough except butter and start working them together with a spatula until the flour is incorporated.
- Attach the dough hook of the mixer and work on a low speed for about 3 minutes. The dough will become smooth but will stick to the sides of the bowl. Increase the speed to medium-high and start adding the butter. Do this gradually, ensuring the butter gets incorporated well before adding more. Once all the butter is in, keep the machine working until the dough is shiny, has no lumps of butter and comes away from the sides of the bowl. Once or twice during the mixing process, you would need to stop the machine, to avoid getting the dough become hot. This would take around 10 minutes.
- Remove the dough from the machine and place in a lightly greased bowl that is twice as high as the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for one hour, until it gets almost doubled in size. Place in fridge covered with plastic wrap for 14 to 24 hours before using. During this time, dough will not rise significantly.
- When ready to bake, take the dough out of fridge and place it on lightly floured work surface. Roll into a sheet of about 1 cm thickness. Using a pastry cutter, cut into 6 circles, 3 1/2 to 4 inches in diameter. Place on a nonstick baking sheet and leave to rise for 1 to 2 hours or until doubles in height.
- While the brioche is rising, prepare the tomatoes. Cut the tomatoes into quarters lengthwise and each quarter into 2 long wedges. Place the wedges on a baking sheet with skin side down. Drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle salt, pepper and mint on top. Put the sheet in 150 degree C preheated oven for up to an hour, until the tomatoes have fairly dried up but still have some moisture. Leave to cool.
- To make the caramelized onions, put all the ingredients into a large pan and cook for around 7 minutes on high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden. Remove from heat and leave to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 170 degree C. To assemble the pizzettes, brush the dough disks lightly with beaten egg. Place generous amount to caramelized onion in the center, followed by tomatoes, feta and olives. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until thoroughly cooked at the bottom.
- Remove from oven and leave to cool. Lightly brush with more olive oil and garnish with parsley leaves.