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Fried dough pizza recipe is a traditional dish originating from the Neapolitan street food after War world 2. This plate is simple to make and easy to present at parties as it can be warmed up just before serving.
Italian cooking classes
This recipe was presented by Eliana de Matteis during her cooking class at the Mediathec Pole Culturel Auguste Escoffier, Villeneuve Loubet.
The Italian heritage is very strong here in the French Riviera. Nice was part of Italy just 150 years ago and many Italians have continued to migrate to the region ever since.
And Yes, I am one of many!
As a result, Italian lessons are very popular among the local French population and many are looking to learn more about Italian culture and heritage.
Beside’s the heritage aspect, speaking a little Italian comes in handy when you venture out to the Italian market in Ventimiglia, for Italian flavours at Italian prices.
My friend Eliana is an Italian teacher here in the region. She is originally from Naples and as many Italians love to cook. Very often her students would ask questions about cooking, and as food is an integral part of the Italian culture, she decided to dedicate some of her lessons to teach about Italian cuisine.
Her first lesson was “Cuisine Napolitane”, her hometown.
Why fried Pizza?
After the second world war, food was scarce. Many houses were destroyed and wooden ovens to cook the traditional pizza were scarce.
On the streets, some women started lighting up fires with large pans of frying oil and fried the pizza dough to earn some extra money. So it started as street food and was very successful.
Here is how to make them.
How to make the dough
Eliana showed how to prepare the dough from scratch. It is exactly the same as the regular pizza dough.
Water at room temperature to dissolve the yeast, mix it with the flour and fold it.
The best flour to use is what here in France is called ‘Type 55’.
Why the dough should rest overnight
Eliana explained that the pizza dough should rest overnight; if not, the pizza will keep rising in your stomach, giving a sense of heaviness and thirst!
How to fry the pizza dough
- Eliana made 4 balls with the dough.
- Covering them to rest for 30 minutes under a kitchen cloth.
- In the meantime, she prepared the tomato sauce with garlic and basil and let it simmer away.
- She then flattens the balls into circles, with the centre thinner than the sides.
- The pizza dough balls were placed into the frying oil and turned on each side for 2 minutes
How to serve it
Once cooked, the pizzas were seasoned with the tomato sauce that was simmering, slices of fresh mozzarella and basil. She then sprinkled them with fresh parmesan cheese.
They can be eaten immediately (which we did) or warmed up before serving.
Panzerotto / Fried Calzone
Beside the classic mozzarella tomatoes and basil, Eliana also cooked a Calzone with ricotta and cooked ham.
The pizza is filled with the ingredients, folded in half and fried in the hot oil. The secret for a perfect calzone is to make sure all the air is taken out before frying it.
You can fill it with anything else you would like. One of the common filling ia tomato sauce, mozzarella ham and mushrooms
The advantage of the fried pizza
The advantage of frying the pizza is that it does not have to be eaten right away, like a pizza that has been cooked in a wooden oven.
You can warm it up in the oven just before you serve it. In Naples, it is the perfect meal when the family is reunited to watch a football match. They make it ahead of time and during half time, it is warmed up and served.
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- 3 cup flour type 55 or Manitoba
- 1 cup water at room temperature
- 1 package bread Yeast
- 1.5 tsp salt
- .5 tsp caster sugar
- oil for deep fry
For the filling:
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 2 cup fresh mozzarella (sliced) (fior di latte o bufala)
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese grated
- 10 basil leaves
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Making the dough
- To activate the yeast, mix it with water. The water should be lukewarm or at room temperature. Add ½ tsp of sugar, and let it rest until it becomes foamy.
- In the meantime, strain the flour along with the sugar and the salt into a bowl, ensuring they are completely mixed. Make a ‘well’ in the centre of the flour mix.
- Slowly pour the yeast and water mixture in the ‘well’ of the flour and mix it with the wet ingredients gradually, using your fingers.
- Once they are thoroughly mixed continue mixing the flour with your hands until the dough becomes a ball that comes away easily from the side of the bowl.
- Take the dough out of the bowl and knead it on a flat surface. Shape it into a smooth ball and place it into an oiled bowl covered with a wet towel to rest. Let it rise for 6 to 8 hours.
- Divide the dough into 8 balls. They should be around 60 gr each and let them rest for 30 minutes
Preparing the tomato sauce
- Stir fry the garlic clove with 2 tbsp of olive oil
- Add the tomato sauce and 2 leaves of basil, letting it simmer until it thickens
Frying the pizza
- Flatten the balls into circles, with the centre thinner than the sides and deep fry them in hot oil (about 180 C)
- Cook the pizzas for 2 minutes on each side, until the crust is golden .
- Remove from the frying oil and place it on a paper kitchen towel to absorb the oil.
- Put a spoon of tomato sauce over each pizza, a slice of mozzarella, a basil leave and sprinkle with parmesan
Tips for making fried pizza and panzerotti
- the pizza dough should rest overnight
- They can be eaten immediately (which we did) or warmed up before serving
- The secret for a perfect calzone is to make sure all the air is taken out before frying it.