Chimney sweeps come to Santa Maria Maggiore and what do they do…eat pizza of course!

Back in April I posted a recipe for a pizza Spazzocamino (which means chimney sweep) which takes it’s strange name from the small town of Santa Maria Maggiore where each year they host an annual chimney sweep festival. This years festival took place this past weekend  1-2 September and so in honour of chimney sweeps everywhere I’m re-posting my pizza recipe along with a few snap shots of, what else, chimney sweeps!

Celebrating Chimney Sweepers

Pizza Spazzacamino

Ingredients: For the dough – 500g Manitoba flour, 250g water, 50g olive oil, 15g salt, 25g fresh yeast or standard sachet of dried yeast. For the topping: 400g tin plum tomatoes, 125g mozzarella, fresh basil, salt and pepper + any topping of your choice; peppers, ham, bacon, onions, olives, capers…….

Preparation: 15 mins + 1 hour for dough to rise + 15 mins cooking

1. Make your dough in the morning and leave to rise for as long as possible, preferably in a warm environment. That way when you’re hungry and ready to eat all you have to do is dress the pizza and cook for 15 mins in a hot oven 240C.

2. Mix the flour and salt in a loarge bowl and in a seperate jug mix the tepid water, oil and yeast together.

3. Pour into the flour and combine well until your dough starts to form. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead for a couple of minutes until smooth. Flour your hands rather than adding to much flour to the board to ensure your dough doesn’t become too dry.

4. Once you’re dough is ready, roll out and place on a lightly oiled tray to rise for a minimum of 1 hour. the longer you can leave it the better. Cover with a tea-towel so keep the moisture in.

5. Once risen you can start to dress your pizza with your chosen toppings. Make sure to preheat the oven to 240C whilst you’re decorating the pizza.

6. Start with the plum tomatoes and break them by hand and place evenly across the dough, lastly pouring on the tomato juice from the tin. Sprinkle a little salt over the tomato base.

7. Take the mozzarella and cut into smaller chunks and spread across the pizza. I add the mozzarella at this stage so that it doesn’t cook to quickly and melt off the pizza.

8. Lastly sprinkle your toppings. In this case I added finely slice onion (the finer the better unless you want to be tasting it still the next day!), pancetta slices, black olives.

9. To prevent the pizza become soggy you need to get it in the oven fairly quickly once dressed as by using tinned plum tomatoes there is more moisture than a simple tomato puree. This makes it much more scrummy once cooked. It’s also key that the oven is nice and hot and already preheated to 240C to give a good crustiness to the base.

10. Bake for 12-15 minutes and then eat piping hot! I use a gas oven which heats very quickly. If you have an electric oven you may need to cook it for a couple of minutes longer.

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