We all know that everyone’s favourite pastime (eating out) may be on hold, but luckily, we have some Pizza Express recipes, tips and tricks so you can take their classic dishes straight from their kitchen to yours. We’re bringing you two of our favourites, (take a look at how we rate the rest of the Pizza Express menu here) that are so simple to make and will satisfy your cravings for dining out. Plus let the kids (or big kids) get involved as we show you how to make your very own Pizza Express chefs’ hat!
Make your own Pizza Express Dough Balls
First up, is the ultimate Pizza Express starter, their dough balls. Originally made from off cuts of dough in the 60s, today their dough balls are the ultimate family favourite starter. We show you the simple recipe for making these tasty treats at home.
Psst. Keep some dough balls spare for a delicious dessert at the end… keep reading to find out how to make it.
What you’ll need: (makes 2 portions)
- 150ml warm water
- 1 tsp of sugar
- 15g fresh yeast or 2 level tsp of dry yeast
- 225g of plain flour (plus extra for working)
- 1.5 tsp of salt
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tsp of butter
- 1/2 tsp of chopped garlic
How to make it:
- Crumble the fresh yeast into the warm water and add the sugar
- Allow the mixture to stand for 10-15 minutes in a warm place (a windowsill on a sunny day works best) until froth develops on the surface.
- Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl, make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast mixture and olive oil.
- Lightly flour your hands, and slowly mix the ingredients together until they bind.
- Generously dust your surface with flour.
- Throwdown the dough and begin kneading for 10 minutes until smooth, silky and soft.
- Leave dough to rest until soft to the touch but not too springy – about 15 mins.
- Preheat oven to 230°C.
- Then, it’s ready to roll. Roll dough into one long 1.2m tube. Chop into 16 chunks and place in an oven proof pan.
- Leave Dough Balls to rest in pan for 30 mins then bake in the oven for 6 minutes until golden.
- Now for the garlic butter. Mix 4 heaped teaspoons of butter with 1/2 teaspoon of chopped garlic.
The main event – the Pizza Fiorentina
Now for the main event, the pizza. The beauty of this recipe is that your base comes ready-made! The Fiorentina has been on the menu at Pizza Express for over 35 years despite the controversial egg… but trust us, it’s delicious, so let’s get cracking!
What you’ll need:
- 1 Pizza Express margherita pizza (available at most supermarkets)
- Handful of cooked or blanched spinach
- 7g of Parmesan cheese (if you have it)
- 6-7 olives (black work best but feel free to use whichever you like)
- A pinch of oregano
- A pinch of black pepper
- Drizzle of garlic oil (olive oil will do also)
- An egg
How to make it:
- Preheat your oven to 180°C
- Open your Pizza Express retail margherita pizza
- Place on to your baking tray
- Remove a small amount of cheese from the middle of the pizza to make a circular space for your egg
- Place black olives around the edges of your pizza base
- Place spinach around the pizza leaving the middle empty for your egg
- Season with oregano and black pepper
- Sprinkle some garlic oil over the top
- Crack the egg in the middle of the pizza. Tip: For a perfectly cooked yolk, sprinkle some olive oil over the egg before cooking. If you prefer it well done, break the yolk before placing the pizza into the oven.
- Bake in the oven at 180 degrees for 10-11 mins (keeping a close eye on your pizza to get a perfectly cooked egg)
- Finish with some grated Parmesan cheese (if you have it)
Double up on dough balls with snowball dough balls for dessert
Dough balls obsessed? Then why not turn any leftover dough balls into a tasty dessert. The snowball dough balls are usually a festive favourite you can only find on the Pizza Express menu at Christmas time, but we think we deserve all the treats right now!
Simply cover your dough balls with a generous dusting of icing sugar and cinnamon, then dip into ice cream or drizzle with a sweet sauce of your choice.
Make your own Pizza Express style hat
What you’ll need:
- 1 sheet of A4 white card (paper can also be used)
- Greaseproof paper
- Glue stick or stapler
- Black felt tip pen
How to make it:
- Cut your sheet of paper in half lengthways so you have 2 pieces
- Fold aproximately 2cm inwards at the outer edge of each piece of paper and do the same to the shorter bottom edge
- Turn your pieces of paper over and draw 3 thick black lines along the bottom of each piece
- On one of your pieces, now draw a circle and your own version of the pizza express logo inside (or make a design with your own name!)
- Making sure the folded sections are at the top, and facing inwards, glue or staple the 2 shorter ends of each piece together.
- Your hat should now be able to stand up
- Place your hat onto a sheet of greaseproof paper as a rough guide, and cut an oval shape out with scissors
- Make a small line cut at the narrow ends of the oval and several small holes in the centre of the shape (you could use a hold punch for this)
- Finally, using glue or a stapler, fix the edges of the greaseproof paper shape inside your paper hat. Use the folded edges that you made earlier to secure it.
- Wear your hat with pride and get ready to create a tasty Italian masterpiece!
Missing dining out at some of your favourite restaurants? Discover the rest of our fakeaway series here.