The Ardent Epicure

An Ode to the Pleasures of Food

Hot Buttered Honey Rum Maitake 
Mushroom and Olive Pizza -
 A 5 Star Makeover 

For our August 5 Star Makeover Challenge we were asked
to create a gourmet pizza utilizing any ingredients or
style of pizza we desired.

For my pizza I chose to re-create my champagne poached maitake
 mushrooms with a bit of a switch up using dark rum versus champagne.

Our olive choices are a bit special as well and both play off of each other
 nicely as well as adding a nice balance against the sweetness of our mushrooms.

First we have the  Lucques Olive considered by many to be the best olive in
the world. They are cultivated in the southern Languedoc region of France
primarily but can also be found in several other countries including the US.
The have a slightly sweet and nutty flavor and are positively delightful eaten
as a snack on their own.

Next we have our Sun-dried Purple Peruvian Olives,
these black olives are raw organic and uncured then dried in the sun.
They have a stronger taste almost like that of the kalamata but are
larger and meatier. We used them as is, but you can soften them
up a bit ahead of time in water or oil.

I used lemon verbena and lemon balm from my garden to create a
pesto like drizzle for a bit of tart zing and playful touch.

For the cheese selection I went with a Comté a semi hard cheese with a
strong and slightly nutty sweet flavor. I used this cheese for both our
Sauce Mornay as well as added a bit to our lemony drizzle.

The next cheese is a Raclette a semi firm cheese prized for it's
creamy buttery flavor and melting capabilities.

What you will need:
For the flatbread crust
2 1/2 cups unbleached whole wheat flour, sifted
1/2 cup almond meal, sifted
1 cup semolina flour, sifted
(plus a bit for dusting)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 ounce active dry yeast
1 1/4 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon agave nectar
2 tablespoons almond oil

For the poached mushrooms
see recipe here
substitute champagne for 6 ounces dark rum
and 3 ounces herbal tea or water

For the toppings
1 cup Lucques olives, whole
1 cup Purple Sun-dried Purple Peruvian Olives
hot buttered honey rum maitake mushrooms
2 cups Raclette, grated

For the Sauce Mornay
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups hot cream
1/2 cup Comté, finely grated
pinch of fleur de sel
pinch of fresh ground black pepper

For the lemon verbena-balm drizzle
1 cup leaves of verbena and balm
1/4 cup salted pepitas, crushed
1/2 cup almond oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon Comté, finely grated

Let's get cooking:
For the flatbread crust
Begin by preparing your pizza dough. In a small bowl place warm water,
yeast, agave and oil then set aside. Next sift flours (note: it is best to do
these individual as the almond meal has bits of almond). Placing flours
in a large bowl with salt, mix until well incorporated. Place flour
mixture on a lightly dusted cutting board. Create a well in the center
and very slowly add a portion of your yeast mixture. Fold flour
 over the yeast mixture with a fork gradually adding more yeast
 mixture until you are able to begin kneading a dough.

Once you have a smooth dough ball, cover outer are with additional
dust of flour. Divide dough ball into 3 equal sections. Cover with a damp towel
and allow to rise for about 1 hour or so.

Place each section one at a time back on dusted cutting board.
Begin to kneed the dough ball, or punch down the dough to
remove air pockets. Loosely wrap each dough ball in plastic wrap
and leave on counter for an additional 30 minutes while you
prepare the other ingredients. Or if making ahead refrigerate
until ready to use, allowing about 30 minutes or so before needed.

Just before starting your sauce, take prepared dough at room
temperature and kneed a bit again to push out the air. Place
dough on a lightly dusted surface and roll dough to desired shape.
For the crispy flatbread crust roll to about 1/8th thickness.
Place rolled out dough onto a surface dusted with semolina or corn meal,
lightly brush tops with oil paying closer attention to edges.

Let's get cooking:
For the poached mushrooms
this step will take about 25 minutes
see recipe here

For the toppings
With a small sharp pairing knife remove the meat
potions from the olives and set aside along with grated cheese.

For the Sauce Mornay
Begin by making a blond roux by first melting butter in a sauce pan
then slowly adding flour. Stirring continuously for about 2-3 minutes
on a medium heat, do not brown but just achieve a lightly golden hue.
Now lower your heat and begin to make a  Béchamel sauce
by slowly pouring hot cream into your roux a bit at a time
continually whisking until sauce begins to thicken about
3-4 minutes. Now slowly add your salt, pepper and cheese,
  continue to stir while thickening for an additional 2 minutes.
Note: It is best to use this sauce immediately

For the lemon verbena-balm drizzle
This drizzle can be made with pizza is cooking. Simple add all
ingredients except oil into a blender or small food processor.
Once leaves are finely chopped slowly add oil until emulsified.

Spread sauce thinly and evenly to about 1/4th from the edge of
your dough. Top with mushrooms, olives and grated cheese.
Add a sprinkling of fleur de sel and fresh ground black pepper.
Bake at 450 degrees for 5-7 minutes or until cheese
begins to bubble.
Note: I used a pizza stone, other methods may vary in
time so check pizza after first 3 minutes to monitor.

Makes 3 small pizzas

The 5 Star Foodie Cooking Group
Hosted by 5 Star Foodie and Lazaro Cooks

Alisha ~ Magic of Spice

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