Every few months, and particularly at New Years, we do another round of our Ultimate Homemade Pizzas. If you’re curious about how these components are made look here, otherwise just enjoy the food porn.
This is about half of the arrayed toppings required to make the full range of Ultimate Pizza. It’s not an efficient process.
We open with a little champagne, as it is New Years. The Brut is round and generous in its candied apricots, honey and roasted nuts. The wine offers good length but not as much complexity or personality as I had hoped. 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay.
The first pizza off the line. Traditional fresh tomato sauce, a variety of cheeses including the homemade Crescenza that I made a few days earlier. There are also figs, cilantro, and mushrooms.
The pizza gained a few ingredients between the first photo and baking, including some Marcona almonds and broccoli (pre-sautéed).
One of the most difficult things in custom pizza making is “the transfer.” You have to get the pizza from the kitchen to the oven and back again. If you get it into the oven (here a pizza stone on the gas Viking) without making a mess, it will come off easily. Some keys are using a LOT of flour and cornmeal to “lube” up the surfaces and dry the dough, and also not letting the toppings get too close to the edges.
My go-to sweet white. Incorporating fruit principally from Wehlener Nonnenberg, Graacher Himmelreich, and Bernkasteler Johannisbrunnchen, the generic Prum 2011 Riesling Kabinett displays an archetypal Mosel Riesling nose of fresh apple, lemon, and clover allied to faintly cheesy, leesy youthful “stink”; and comes to the palate bright and zippy, with hints of wet stone, and prominent cyanic piquancy of apple pit invigoratingly extending its mouthwateringly juicy, if tart and relatively simple finish.
This is the base for my creme fraiche salmon pizza, which you can find detailed here.
We start in on the red. Parker 94, “The spectacular Bonnes Mares jumps from the glass with aromas of blackberries, cherries, flowers and minerals. It is a massively concentrated, powerful, full-bodied wine packed with stones, wild cherries, red currants, and touches of iron, tar and chocolate for additional complexity. Highly structured and with an exceptionally long finish, it should be cellared for 7-9 years and will hold through 2012. This note is the result of tastings I did in Burgundy in Washington, D.C. in April. The wine was tasted from cask, not bottle. Pinot Noir, a fragile varietal, reacts poorly to fining, filtration, and careless bottling techniques, I recommend caution when considering buying a red burgundy based on cask samples. I called it as I tasted it, and hope the bottled wine reflects the quality of the samples I was provided.”
After this there were 5-6 reds that the hectic evening didn’t allow me to photo, most of the Italian.
Here is one of my favorites, my tikka masala pizza. The sauce is tikka masala sauce, then with corn, red onions, feta, mozz balls, almonds, figs.
My mom’s more classic margarita.
And my newest creation, extremely successful, the “Afghan Special.” The first layer (after a little olive oil) is mint yogurt, then the green is a cilantro pesto-like Afghan sauce, then the red is sweet pepper jelly. The white blobs are ricotta and feta. This was a superb pizza.
A almond pesto based vegie pizza.
And on the right my wife’s favorite, margarita with mushrooms, corn, almonds, and figs.
An awesome artisinal tomato-basil-pesto based pizza. Exotic fresh mushrooms, aged parm, gorgonzola dulce, some other fresh cheeses.
There was a little too much olive oil and it drooled a little, but no biggy. Still delicious.
And another tikka masala pizza, this time with extra mushrooms and cilantro pesto.
And with burrata on top, because burrata makes everything better. It really does.
A big veggie and other pizza. It’s important to sauté your veggies before they go on the pizza as the time in the oven is too fast to really cook them.
After baking it looks like Pacman.
And a white pizza, with various cheeses. Those white blocks are my homemade one.
And with more burrata and balsamic glaze. Yum!
A mushroom and tomato pizza. I got really interesting mushrooms from the mushroom vendor at the Pacific Palisades Farmer’s market this time, so we have a lot of shroom pizzas.
And the final pizza, a pesto, goat cheese, veggie, which we forgot on the grill for an extra 2 minutes, resulting in this extra crispy style. Actually, still quite good.
For dessert, being as it was New Years, I pulled out the seriously big gun. Parker 99, “An extraordinary effort, Yquem’s 1990 is a rich and fabulously superb, sweet wine. This wine also possesses lots of elegance and finesse. The wine’s medium gold color is accompanied by an exceptionally sweet nose of honeyed tropical fruits, peaches, coconut, and apricots. High quality, subtle toasty oak is well-integrated. The wine is massive on the palate, with layers of intensely ripe botrytis-tinged, exceptionally sweet fruit. Surprisingly well-integrated acidity, and a seamless, full-bodied power and richness have created a wine of remarkable harmony and purity. Certainly it is one of the richest Yquems I have ever tasted, with 50-100 years of potential longevity. An awesome Yquem!”
Some Costco cake that despite having about fifty billion ingredients actually tasted decent. It will survive nuclear war.
And mini Bundt cakes from Nothing Bundt Cakes. Chocolate and marble.
Then to ring in 2013, Le Grande Dame 1990. Parker 95, “I highly recommend the Veuve Clicquot 1990 La Grande Dame. It is exquisitely rich and accessible, yet bursting with potential.”
Happy New Year!