These small pizzas with creamy blue cheese, in-season purple figs and twirls of salty prosciutto are the perfect summertime snack. Hovering happily between savoury and sweet, they are best sliced up and shared with friends over drinks. The recipe comes from Georgia East’s marvellous new cookbook called West Coast Wander which is a celebration of ingredients from this austere but ruggedly beautiful coastline.
Georgia brings the West Coast to life through her beautiful photographs, Mediterranean inspired recipes and stories about local food producers and makers of this region. She steers clear of some of the more popular and anaesthetized tourist towns and pulls you into the belly of the West Coast and into her beloved Velddrif where bokkoms come from. She uses this salty dried fish in a number of her recipes, replacing anchovies to give them a truly local twist. Readers are taken on a tour from Yzerfontein to Doringbaai with a few detours along the way.
Her collection of recipes are uncluttered but robust in flavour allowing the ingredient to shine, always. There are so many I want to try including her slow-braised lamb ribs with flatbreads, chicken souvlaki with lemon & dill, orzo stuffed calamari, spanakopita with sorrel & potato and the creamy white mussels with new potatoes. Her fish chapter will make you want to fire up your braai and get cooking over coals and everything else will make you want to plan a trip to this very special part of the world.
West Coast Wander is available in all good books shops and is a delicious look at this wild coastline and all the ingredients it offers up. It’s an informative book and guide to sustainable seafood of the region and I loved reading her evocative words. You can follow Georgia on Instagram. She has the most beautiful feed.
As a huge lover of the West Coast myself and having spent some time with Georgia there it was so lovely to see her cookbook come to life. I chose to make this recipe for pizzette with blue cheese, figs and prosciutto because figs have just come into season and I adore all these flavours together. I usually prefer to ferment my pizza dough overnight, but I really loved how quick and easy the dough for these pizzas was. You can roll it out as thin as you like and could even stretch this (full quantity) to make 8 – 12 much smaller and flatter pizzas. Georgia used 500gms of the pizza dough but I used it all. I kind of liked them quite thick and puffy here to carry the richness of the figs and the blue cheese. I went over the quantities for the cheese and fruit in the recipe because I just added what I thought was the right amount and I had after all used all the dough from the batch, so please use this as a guideline and adapt to the quantity you like.
I used a lovely Gorgonzola style creamy blue cheese from Puglia (a local cheese producer) and Georgia used Stilton style cheese made by David Malan in Velddrif. I loved the sprinkle of fresh rosemary here. It added a lovely herbaceous note. I found the pizzas baked a little longer than 8 minutes in my oven and I had it at its highest temperature of 250C and on a pizza stone. This will vary depending on the thickness of your pizza and the size of your oven.
Recipe – serves 4 (use only 500gms of the total pizza dough) –or 8 use all the dough
- 500g Italian ’00 flour or extra-fine flour
- 1 x 7gm sachet instant dry yeast
- 2 tsp fine salt
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 300ml lukewarm water
- 200-300gm blue cheese (or however much you want to use)
- 12 small purple figs, stalk removed and sliced in half
- 100gms prosciutto
- A sprig of fresh rosemary chopped
- Olive oil for drizzling
- In a large bowl combine the flour, dried yeast and salt and give it a whisk to mix. Make a well in the flour and add the olive oil and water and using your hands mix this with the flour until it forms a dough. Tip this out onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until the dough has softened becomes smooth and springy the to the touch. Place the dough back into the bowl and cover with a close and leave to prove in a warm place for about 30 minutes. The dough should double in size. When the dough has risen, knock it back and portion out into your balls to make your pizza
- Preheat the oven to 220c – 250c and if using add your pizza stone to the oven.
- Roll out your dough to about 20 cm in diameter. And place on a pizza peel that has been liberally sprinkled with polenta or semolina. This will make getting the pizza onto the pizza stone easier. Scatter the blue cheese over the base and then arrange the cut figs. Scatter over the rosemary leaves and drizzle with olive oil.
- Place the pizzette on the hot pizza stone and bake for 8 – 12 minutes and until the crust is crisp and golden brown. Twirl the prosciutto over the top of the pizzettes and repeat with the others.
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