This week’s Sunday baking is steering into uncharted territory for me. I make pizza all the time and have a tried and tested dough recipe that always turns out well, so when the lovely chaps at Beko asked if I’d create a pizza for them, I was really happy to give it a go. Turns out, though, that Beko were after something a bit different! They have a sweet pizza recipe page on their website and my challenge was to come up with a new sweet pizza creation.
Sweet pizza you say? CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!
As soon as we started talking about it, Charlie said ‘ooh, how amazing would a lemon meringue pizza be?’. As it turned out the answer was: ‘pretty darned amazing, actually’. I was a bit worried about oven temperatures because generally meringue needs a low oven and pizza a high one, but I found that as long as you give the pizza base a quick blast, it cooks really well at 180 degrees/gas 4. Here’s how I did it:
For the pizza base:
300g bread flour
Sachet of yeast
1 tsp sea salt
200ml warm water
Slug of olive oil
For the lemon curd:
2 lemons, zested then juiced (if you’re using bottled juice, it’s about 6 tbsp)
150g caster sugar
2 eggs plus 1 extra yolk (keep the white for the meringue)
For the meringue:
2 egg whites
115g caster sugar
Pinch of Cream of Tartar
So firstly, preheat the oven to as high as it will go.
Mix all the pizza base ingredients together, then either knead by hand or in a mixer for about 5 minutes until it’s smooth and springy. There’s no need to leave it to rise if you want a thin crust pizza, but if you prefer a puffy one, give it one rise until it’s doubled in size, then knock it back and roll out into two rough circles (my pizzas are never circular), place on a baking tray and leave them to one side.
Next, take a saucepan and add in the butter, juice, zest and caster sugar. Melt it all together slowly until the sugar is all dissolved.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk the eggs and yolk until well combined.
Take the warm lemony butter mixture and gently pour a little bit into the egg, whisking all the time, then a bit more, then a bit more, until you’ve combined about half of it with the eggs. Now pour that lot back into the saucepan and keep whisking and simmering until the mixture thickens.
While you’re doing this, dip a pastry brush into the lemon curd, brush all over the pizza bases and pop them in the hot oven for a couple of minutes. Remember to turn the oven down to 180 degrees C/gas 4 when you remove the bases.
When the lemon curd thickens, turn off the heat and set aside while you make the meringue. Remember to just stir it occasionally to keep it from getting a skin on.
Whisk the egg whites in a very clean bowl until they form firm peaks, then keep whisking while you add the Cream of Tartar, then the sugar, spoon by spoon, until it’s all incorporated and the meringue is thick and glossy. Give it rub between your thumb and finger. If it feels gritty, keep mixing.
Spread a thick layer of lemon curd over your pizza bases, then dollop on the meringue and spread it out over the pizza, messing it about so there are lots of peaks and meringuey mountains.
Bake for 10 minutes until the meringue is crisp and just starting to colour and the base is cooked. We ate it warm, topped with a few sliced strawberries and oh, man, it was magic! The slight savouriness of the bready base goes perfectly with the zingy lemon and the sweet, crisp topping.
Thanks to Beko for the inspiration.