Jalapeno Chilli Pizza Recipe (Wholemeal Base)

Introduction

Jalapeno chillies are one of the most famous and well known chillies in the world and it's for good reason. Here are some reasons why we should grow jalapenos:

  • They germinate easily from seed (where other chillies can be temperamental).

  • The plant isn't large so pots and small spaces are fine.

  • It fruits quickly (within a few months) suiting short growing seasons like cooler regions, or impatient gardeners who want their chillies yesterday.

  • The thick walls of the fruit make it great for pickling, stuffing and roasting.

  • They have a great taste and are healthy to eat cooked or raw.

Whole Jalapenos

Jalapeno chillies are usually milder than most other chillies (although you can get hot ones). This pizza recipe works best with the mild jalapenos because it's the tangy flavour and thick walls of the fruit not necessarily the “heat” that's important for this tasty recipe. However, if you do like it a little more spicy, just get the medium/hot variety or add some finely chopped hot chilli to the sauce or sprinkle it over the pizza itself.

Pickled Jalapenos

You could also use sliced bottled jalapenos packed in a light pickled solution, which accentuates the tangy flavour of the fruit. I make my own pickled jalapenos by simply slicing and placing 1 x cup full in a pan with a pinch of salt, ½ teaspoon of sugar, and just covered by 1 part plain vinegar to 2 parts water. Bring to the boil then immediately remove from the heat, let cool and place the jalapenos with the liquid into a container and store in the fridge or for longer keeping use a sterilised bottle/jar. Done and dusted, they keep for ages and are also good on sandwiches, salsa, or added to general dishes.

For this recipe though, I have used freshly grown jalapenos straight from the garden without pickling them first and they taste great too! Nevertheless, if extra tang is what you want then use pickled jalapenos.

Wholemeal Flour

The other critical ingredient is the wholemeal flour, which is not only less refined and better for you but it makes for a better base for home pizza cooking. That is, home cooked pizza in standard ovens can suffer from a soggy base so, generally, the wholemeal flour actually helps hold the base together better and turns out more crispy than plain refined flour does.

Ingredients

The dough and sauce ingredients below allow for three pizzas but the toppings are specifically for 1 x jalapeno pizza (I took the liberty in expecting most will vary the toppings for the other two bases) but if you want 3 x jalapeno pizzas just triple the toppings.

Toppings (for 1 x 30cm diameter sized jalapeno pizza)

  • 1 ½ x cup Jalapenos (sliced)

  • 1 x cup grated tasty cheese

  • 1 x cup grated mozzarella cheese

  • ½ cup semi-dried tomatoes

Dough (for 3 x 30cm diameter sized pizzas)

  • 600 grams wholemeal plain flour

  • 2 x tspns dry yeast

  • 1 x tspns brown sugar

  • Pinch of salt

  • 400ml of lukewarm water

Sauce (for 3 x 30cm diameter sized pizzas)

  • 4 – 6 x cups cherry tomatoes (roughly chopped with skin)

  • 1 x tblspn brown sugar

  • 1 x tspn white wine vinegar

  • 1 x tspn chopped garlic

  • Pinch of salt

  • Black pepper (a really good shake) Use a small amount of tomato sauce or paste as a supplement to the cherry tomatoes if you find more sauce is required to cover the bases.

Other Equipment You Will Need

Besides the ingredients you will need a few pizza making utensils and equip as follows:

  • Pizza pans or stones for baking the pizzas (I use stones – more about that at the end).

  • Pizza cutter (a must have as it does a much better job than a knife).

Method

I like to get the dough going first then start on the sauce and toppings, but I use a bread making machine to knead the dough. If you wanted to kneed the dough by hand it might be faster to get the sauce on first so all the prep comes together around the same time – it is up to you really. Here's how I do it in order:

Wholemeal Pizza Dough

Dough

 

  1. Place the water in the machine pan first and then add the flour with the rest of the ingredients. Set the bread machine for pizza dough or dough and the cycle should take about 45 minutes (whilst the dough is kneading start on the sauce). Of course, you can knead the dough by hand and I find the easiest and less mess way is by using a large mixing bowl. Throw all the ingredients into the bowl, combine with fingers, and then knead with elbow grease for about 10 minutes. Leave in bowl covered with film to rest and rise for about 30 minutes.

  2. After the kneading (& first rise), divide the dough into 3 equal parts, roll into pizza balls and leave rest for 10-20mins (they should rise a little).

  3. Using a rolling pin on a flour dusted bench roll each dough ball from the centre out until they are slightly larger than the pans/stones. You will need to flip-over the flattened dough every several rolls as you're going to prevent sticking and a little extra flour dusting as you flip should ensure a nice smooth non-sticky base in the end. Also, don't be too worried about rolling the pizza balls into exactly rounded shapes as we will fit them on the next step.

  4. Dust each stone or pan lightly with flour and then place the bases on the pan/stone. Pinch and roll the excess base overhang until it is flush with the edge of the pan/stone – this will give you the crust around the pizza. Now let the bases rest (to rise slightly and this will help make the crust light when cooked) whilst you get back to the sauce and toppings.

The Sauce

You can't get a more authentic, better tasting pizza base sauce then when you make it from scratch yourself. Making the sauce is dead-set easy:

Cherry Tomato Pizza Sauce

  1. Roughly chop the cherry tomatoes or lightly process them in a processor (don't turn them into a drink though as you want them to have a little texture).

  2. Place the chopped cherry tomatoes in a large pot with the rest of the sauce ingredients.

  3. Bring to the boil, then turn down low to simmer and stir occasionally until the sauce thickens to a consistency still easy to spread but not too watery that it runs (this may take up to an hour to reduce down).

  4. Once you're happy with the consistency turn heat off and leave to cool a little before using.

Assembly and Cooking

Kids love to help top a pizza and there's no wrong way to do it! Just remember to give the kiddies disposable food gloves if they are handling chillies as even the mild ones can irritate soft skin and eyes. Here's how I assemble and cook the pizzas:

 

  1. Firstly, put the oven on as high as possible as you want to preheat it to “hot as hell” for at least 20 minutes before putting in the pizzas.

  2. With a table spoon plonk a few dollops of sauce in the middle of the pizza base then with the back of the spoon smooth it around gently until the base is covered. If you run out of sauce just use a little tomato paste or standard tomato sauce to make-up the difference.  

  3. Sprinkle over evenly half of the mozzarella and half of the tasty cheeses.

  4. Sprinkle the jalapenos and semi-dried tomatoes evenly and then top with the remaining cheeses.

  5. Ensuring the oven has been pre-heated, place the pizzas in leaving the temperature on the highest setting (but don't use fan forced otherwise the top will burn and the base will remain uncooked). Keep the pizzas in the oven for between18-25 minutes or until lightly browned on top and the cheese is nicely melted.

  6. Once done, remove, cut into slices and serve.

Jalapeno Pizza

Other Points and Conclusion

Home-made Pizzas

Home ovens aren’t the best for making pizzas; but, with some trial and error I have been able to consistently make pizzas in my ordinary oven to a standard whereby my family and I prefer our home-made pizzas to the commercial ones.

Pizza Stones

Pizza Stone

Pizza stones are reasonably priced and are usually sold in pairs for around $12 to $20. I don't preheat my stones – I get better results from just using them as previously explained. The porous stone material helps to soak-up moisture from the dough and a tip before first using your stones is to rub a little olive oil on the surface and pre-cook them in a hot oven. This helps to prepare the surface for better non-stick qualities.

Cost Savings

A few years ago, you wouldn't save much money by making your own pizzas compared to buying the commercial ones. However, these days I believe home-made pizzas can save significant dollars from an already tight family budget. Have you noticed commercial pizzas slightly shrinking in size with the prices staying the same or increasing? Therefore, making your own pizzas is not only fun and a healthier option then buying, it's also cheaper. And, if you make them using fresh ingredients (like jalapenos) from your garden the results are even more satisfying.

Feel free to use the comment section below and have your say (no email is required).

Thanks for reading and thanks for your support,

Look, and see the Earth through her eyes

Mark Valencia – Editor SSM

Jalapeno Plant

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