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    This speck and mushroom pizza with extra cheese is delicious. The best pizza you’ve ever had is about to be made in minutes with no effort on your part.

    For a long time now, this has been my favourite pizza crust; I could care less about tomato sauce and instead seek out the most decadent white-based pizza possible.

    This white pizza crust recipe was originally introduced to me by the excellent cookbook Two Greedy Italians Eat Italy. Still one of my all-time favourite cookbooks, it was authored by two of my favourite Italian chefs working in the UK: Antonio Carluccio and Genaro Contaldo. What I enjoy most about Italian food is that every dish is unbelievably delicious and yet very easy to prepare.

    The Alpine Pizza from the book Greedy Italians was the inspiration for this pie. The traditional toppings for this Northern Italian pizza are Gruyere cheese and Creme Fraiche. Salami, red onion, and marjoram are then layered on top.

    It’s not easy to get Gruyere cheese in Tuscany, where I now reside. Since it’s only available at specific grocery stores and only at certain times of the year, I had to come up with a suitable replacement, and I’m happy to report that Fontal fits the bill well.

    Fontal is a popular Italian cheese that shares many characteristics with the more well-known Fontina. I adore it and use it in sandwiches, bechamel, and cheesy casseroles of all kinds. It melts well and imparts a fantastic flavour into the speck and mushroom pizza.

    My favourite way to enhance the flavour of my white pizza crust is to add salt, pepper, and a smashed clove of garlic. Ooosht! Cheese and garlic are a winning combination.

    I next add chestnut mushrooms (cheese and mushrooms are a classic pairing) and Speck, a wonderful Italian cured meat that can be found in the deli section of most big grocery stores or online.

    The rich cheese base, earthy mushrooms, and smoky, salty speck are all fantastic additions that complement each other well.

    I never buy pizza dough from the store again since it’s so simple to create your own and tastes so much better than store-bought. The secret is to knead the dough until it is smooth as silk and bounces back when softly pushed with a finger. It’s understandable if the prospect of doing so seems frightening; maybe you’ve tried it before and it didn’t go as planned. You won’t appreciate how great it is until you’ve had success along these lines, but after that, it’ll be like second nature.

    Speck and mushroom pizza with cheese

    This speck and mushroom pizza with extra cheese is delicious. The best pizza you’ve ever had is about to be made in minutes with no effort on your part.


    For the pizza dough

    • Four cups (500 grammes) of 00 flour
    • One packet of fast-acting dry yeast
    • Ten and a half fluid ounces of water make up the pizza dough (320 ml)
    • Hot water
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
    • Salt to taste
    • Dusting flour (either semolina or polenta)

    Topping ingredients:

    • 8.8 ounces (250 grammes) of sour cream
    • 3.0 ounces (90 grammes) of speck slices (or prosciutto)
    • 5.6 ounces (150 grammes) of big chestnut mushrooms
    • (160g) grated fontal cheese (Gruyere works well)
    • 1 clove garlic
    • Salt and pepper to taste


    1. Two minutes after adding the yeast to the lukewarm water and sugar (half a teaspoon), the mixture should be bubbling. Mix the salt and flour together in a large basin. Make a well in the centre, then add the water and yeast mixture, combining with your hands or a metal spoon until you have a dough. Add a bit more flour at a time if the mixture is too sticky.
    2. After the dough has been mixed, flour a clean work area and knead the dough for about 10 minutes, or until it is smooth and soft. To test this, gently push your finger into the dough ball and see whether it bounces back. To a big, clean bowl, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and massage to coat the bowl evenly. Roll the dough into a ball and lay it in the bowl; then, using your fingertips, dab a very little quantity of olive oil over the surface of the dough. Leave in a warm area for at least 3 hours, or until doubled in size, covered with cling film.
    3. Pizzas may be made by dividing the dough in half with your hands and then preheating the oven to 225 degrees Celsius. Roll out the first half of the dough by lightly dusting a work area with flour. Depending on the shape of your pizza pans, you may bake either round or rectangular pizzas. You should aim to get a circle of dough around 30 centimetres in diameter from your rolling. Lightly sprinkle baking/pizza trays with semolina, then arrange half of the dough on one tray and the other half on another.
    4. Mix together the sour cream, shredded cheese, and crushed or grated garlic with enough salt and pepper to make the topping. Combine all of the ingredients to a smooth consistency by stirring. Spread the mixture equally over both pizza bases and divide it in half. Layer speck and thinly sliced mushrooms on each pizza. If you want a crisp foundation with melted cheese, put it in the oven for around 10 minutes.
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