THE recipe for this heart-shaped pizza makes only one pizza, and the dough takes two hours from start to finish, but you can make it 24 hours before use and leave it in the fridge to rise, in a bowl covered in clingwrap.
You can simplify the process by buying a bag of dough from the supermarket, usually enough to make pizza for four, then adjust the sauce and toppings accordingly.
For the dough:
120g bread flour or 60g strong white flour and 60g Italian ‘00’ pasta flour
7g easy-bake yeast
¼ teaspoon salt
15ml extra-virgin olive oil
75ml lukewarm milk
100ml lukewarm water
For the tomato sauce:
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
Small bunch of fresh basil leaves
2 x 400g tins plum tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the topping:
Toppings of your choice: salami, sliced mushroom, asparagus, ham, anchovy, olives, to taste
2-3 cups mozzarella cheese, grated
Put the flours in a large bowl and stir in the yeast, salt and oil. Make a well in the centre and add the milk and water. Mix to a wet dough. If you have a mixer this can be done using the dough hook on a slow speed. To make the dough by hand, take it out of the bowl once it has come together and knead it, stretching and folding until it is smooth.
Put the dough back in the bowl. Cover with clingwrap and leave to rise, either in the fridge for 24 hours or in a warm place for one and a half hours. Knock the air out of the expanded dough and shape it into a smooth ball. Place it on a floured board, dust it with a little flour and lightly cover it with clingwrap to prevent a crust forming. Leave for a further 40 minutes so the dough expands again. Dust the parchment with flour.
With floured hands, pick up the dough and gently pull it outwards, without crushing the bubbles, turning it in your hands to make a disc. Place it on the floured baking sheet and leave it for three minutes so the dough relaxes. Then, again with floured hands, gently pull it into a heart shape. It should be quite large – 25-30cm across. Always handle the dough in a way that will not cause it to lose air. Never use a rolling pin.
Preheat the oven to its highest setting (220-250ºC) and line a large baking sheet with baking parchment.
Heat a saucepan on a medium-low heat and add a splash of olive oil and the garlic. Cook gently until the garlic starts to turn golden and then add most of the basil leaves and the tomatoes. Cook for around 20 minutes, or until smooth, mashing the tomatoes up as it cooks. Season to taste.
Smear the base with tomato sauce and scatter toppings evenly over the top. To dress: Create your very own pizza with all your, or your Valentine’s, favourite toppings or you can make a classic margherita.
If you are making a margherita pizza (plain cheese and tomato), skip the toppings and finish off with some of the leftover basil. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and place in oven for five to 10 minutes until done. – The Telegraph