15 April 2011


Since I have nothing better to do with my life than make dough, this morning I decided to go all out.  M. and I made cookie dough, pizza dough, zahtar dough, and dough for spinach pies.  The kneading was my favourite part (and yes, I'm being sarcastic).  On the bright side, I guess I don't need to go to the gym these days.  No wonder our forefathers didn't suffer from high obesity rates!   Anyhow, here is my recipe for pizza dough. 

  • 2 1/4 tsp yeast
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 3 cups flour (if you use whole wheat, you'll need a little more water)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp salt
Measure water into large bowl and add yeast.  Stir and set aside for 5-10 minutes until foam forms.  Stir in sugar, olive oil and salt.  Add flour.  Knead dough for 8-10 minutes.  Coat ball of dough lightly with olive oil.  Cover with a damp tea towel and place in warm place to rise for 90 minutes.  (I leave it inside my warmed oven.)  Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down to get rid of the air and divide into two balls.  From here you have several option: 1) you can roll them out and top them tradional-style; 2) you can use them for Pizza Balls 3) you can roll them out, top them, roll up the pizza into a log, cut it into rounds and bake Pizza Bites.  I'm sure the possibilities are endless...

The best part about pizza making?  Customizing the toppings!  Here are some of our favourites: mushrooms, mozzarella cheese, olives, onions, tomatoes, green peppers, cheddar cheese, feta cheese, marscapone cheese and zucchini.  My sister uses kale, which packs a huge nutritional punch, to top her pizzas (and pastas) and the kids can't even tell because it takes on the flavours of everything else.  Bonus!

Rolling up the pizza to make "Pizza Bites"
In other news, we've been spending the past couple of days gearing up for Pascha (translation: Easter) and the week prior to it.  Palm Sunday is always big where we come from and so that means dresses and suits and elaborate candles.  It's really quite a festive time and gives us a foretaste of the celebration to come the following Sunday.  Last year, after being caught off guard (M. tried on his suit for the first time the day of...), I vowed that this year I'd be prepared.  Everyone is fitted and outfitted!  I just finished washing their clothes and I just need to hem M.'s new pants, which were pinned yesterday. 

Of course, Pascha also means special goodies from the kitchen.  Dyed eggs, Tsoureki bread, decorated cookies, tyropitakia, etc.  Most of these will be prepared on Holy Thursday, with the exception of the cookies and the tyropitakia.  Actually, M. and I finished the cookies yesterday and will decorate them tomorrow.  I will say that he had a blast with the cookie cutter.  I've never seen a child more disappointed when we ran out of dough.  :o)  We used a sugar cookie base and modified it so that the cookies would be softer in the middle.  They turned out great and we'll post pictures when they're all decorated.


1 cup sugar
1 cup butter
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
4 Tbsp plain yogurt

Cream butter, sugar eggs, yogurt and vanilla together.  Add dry ingredients and mix well.  Place in fridge for about 20 minutes until firm enough to shape into cookies.  Heat oven to 350.  On floured surface, roll out dough, cut into shapes with cookie cutters and transfer to baking sheet.  Refrigerate trays for 15 minutes (prevents spreading).  Bake 8-10  minutes until they start to look golden around the edges.  Let cool before removing from tray. 

Perfect for an afternoon tea!  Enjoy them plain or, to decorate them, see my recipe for royal icing!  :o)

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