Pizza in Greek
HESTIA was the virgin goddess of the hearth (both private and municipal) and the home. As the goddess of the family hearth she also presided over the cooking of bread and the preparation of the family meal. Hestia was also the goddess of the sacrificial flame and received a share of every sacrifice to the gods. The cooking of the communal feast of sacrificial meat was naturally a part of her domain.
In myth Hestia was the first born child of Kronos and Rhea who was swallowed by her father at birth. Zeus later forced the old Titan to disgorge Hestia and her siblings. As the first to be swallowed she was also the last to be disgorged, and so was named as both the eldest and youngest of the six Kronides. When the gods Apollon and Poseidon sought for her hand in marriage, Hestia refused and asked Zeus to let her remain an eternal virgin. He agreed and she took her place at his royal hearth.
Hestia was depicted in Athenian vase painting as a modestly veiled woman sometimes holding a flowered branch. In classical sculpture she was also veiled, with a kettle as her attribute.
- 31/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 9gr ( oz) package active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Pinch of sugar
- 3 tablespoons Greek extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup warm water
- ½ kgr (1 pound) eggplant cut in ½ cm (1/4 inch) slices
- 1 large onion, cut into thick slices
- 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
- Tomato sauce
- 85gr (3oz) Greek gruyere cheese, grated
- 85gr (3oz) Greek metsovone cheese(you can substitute with smoked Gouda), grated
- 1 tablespoon dried Greek oregano
- Salt and pepper
- Greek extra virgin olive oil
- Cornmeal for sprinkling the pizza pan
- Correct method*: in a small bowl we sprinkle yeast and sugar on the warm water and let stand for 5 minutes. If it foams even a little, means the yeast is alive. If it doesn’t, we throw it away and start again.
- Then we combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl and we make a well in the centre. We add the yeast mixture right away and the 2 tablespoons oil and we knead for about 10 minutes, or till the dough is smooth and elastic. If the dough needs more water, we add 1 or 2 more tablespoons while kneading. (It all depends from the weather, the altitude and the quality of the flour). We turn the dough into a ball and we oil it gently with the rest of the oil. We leave it in a warm place, covered with a towel for 1 ½ hours or till it has doubled in bulk.
- Meanwhile we prepare the topping: we brush some olive oil on both sides of our eggplant and season with salt and pepper. We place eggplant pieces neatly side by side on a baking sheet and we bake in a very hot oven, 200*C (392*F) for about 20 minutes or till eggplant is easily pierced with a fork.
- We punch down the dough and divide in half. In this recipe we use only the one half. The other half we keep sealed in a plastic container in the freezer, for up to 2 months.
- We preheat our oven to 220*C (425F). We roll out our dough on a lightly floured surface (like our kitchen counter) to a circle of about 13inches in diameter. We transfer it to a lightly oiled pizza pan or baking sheet lightly sprinkled with cornmeal.
- We cover the dough with our tomato sauce and then we arrange the eggplant slices on top. We sprinkle with the cheeses and the oregano, we scatter the onion and red pepper and we drizzle with a little olive oil.
- We bake for 20-25 minutes or till the onion and the dough have blistered edges and everything looks bubbling.
- We serve hot, warm, at room temperature or the next day straight from the fridge.
*My method: I put everything together in a large plastic bowl and I knead for 10 minutes, till smooth and elastic. Or even better I put in a bread machine in the raw dough setting and after leavening; I proceed in the usual way.