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Nov 17, 2012 06:32 PM

18th birthday requests-help!

So, the 'baby' of the family turns 18 soon. We won't go into how that makes me feel as an older sibling... ;). Anyway, as the family's "chef" he gave me his menu requests. A couple are easy, but I could use advice on a few points.
First, he has requested steak pizza. I'm more than happy to make this for him...but I'd like it to be really good. That means making my own crust, but I'm rather short on time. I have a 12 hour shift the day before and who knows how long on his birthday. Are there any stellar make- ahead crust recipes? I'm pretty good with yeast breads, I just want to make sure it's good. Sadly, we have no pizza stone. Advice?
Secondly. He has requested jello shots. 18 is the drinking age here, and since it's a family dinner I'm happy to oblige him in a place where we can keep an eye on everything ;). He loves Pepsi and dr. Pepper, but not sure if I can do something with alcohol & jello (I have both plain gelatin and agar agar, which I am moderately comfortable using) again, I'll need to work in advance and, well, I'm not a drinker. Rum & Pepsi? Dr pepper & ... ?? Are there ratios for these things? How far in advance could I make jello shots?

Finally, he has again requested a mint chocolate ice cream cake. I have done this a few times in the past (sadly, don't have access to my ice cream maker right now ), but was hoping to make it a little nicer than an Oreo crust with store bought ice cream. I had visions of a bombe- type dessert with layers of a couple of ice creams and covered with ganache. Any thoughts or suggestions?

Any tips,recipes, creative ideas, and time-savers would be appreciated. The whole family is flat out with our various jobs right now, not to mention the holidays. But we all want it to be special for our favorite kid ;)

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    1. You don't need a pizza stone. There are a few alternatives. Do you have a sheet pan (such as for cookies) and - holding my breath as this seems unlikely - a silpat?

      1. Dependable pizza recipe. My apologies to the author - not sure where I originally got this... You can make the dough, freeze it, and then defrost it in the fridge overnight so it can be used the day you intend to bake it.

        Basic Pizza Dough Ingredients

        Makes enough for four people to each have a small, “personal-sized” pizza. For guests or to make extra for the freezer, double the recipe.

        1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
        ½ t sugar
        1 C semolina flour (very important - try Whole Foods if local grocery doesn't have it)
        1 ¾ C all-purpose flour (can be mixed with white whole wheat)
        1 t salt
        Olive oil
        Cornmeal for sprinkling on pan – unnecessary if using a Silpat

        Add-on Ingredients
        Shredded mozzarella cheese; optional: mix in some parmesan
        Pepperoni, thin strips of green pepper, onions, basil, etc. – your choice

        Pizza Sauce Ingredients [or just buy pizza sauce in a can  ]
        1 t olive oil
        2 T minced garlic
        ½ C minced onions (optional)
        1 can (28 oz) pureed or plum tomatoes
        Fresh chopped or dried basil and oregano to taste
        Salt if needed (some canned tomato purees already contain it)
        Freshly ground pepper

        Pizza – Instructions

        1. Microwave 1 C water until warm – approx. 20-30 sec. Pour the water into a small mixing bowl and sprinkle in the yeast and sugar; stir to combine. Set aside 5 minutes or until foamy.

        2. While waiting the 5 minutes, in a large mixing bowl, combine the flours and salt.

        3. When the 5 minutes are up, add the yeast mixture to the flours and salt. Mix until the dough is relatively smooth.

        4. Turn on the oven for five minutes, then turn it off.

        5. Lightly flour a flat surface. Remove the dough from the bowl, place on the surface, and knead by hand for 10 minutes.

        6. Lightly wipe a large bowl with olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl, seam side up, then turn to coat it with oil, ending with seam side down. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and a damp cloth and set aside in the warm oven to rise for about an hour, or until doubled in bulk.

        7. Start making the tomato sauce – recipe below.

        Pizza Sauce
        Yield: 2 cups

        • In a medium-sized skillet, heat olive oil at medium or med-low heat. If adding onions, sauté them for a minute. Then add and sauté the garlic for another two minutes.

        • Dice tomatoes and add to skillet, breaking them up with a spoon, or add the puree. Add the herbs. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, 20 to 30 minutes.

        • Season with salt and pepper to taste.

        • While the sauce is simmering, take out your optional toppings and the shredded mozzarella, and place them in bowls for family and friends’ convenience.

        8. When the dough comes out of the oven, immediately preheat the oven to 500 degrees. You will want to get it as hot as possible.

        9. At this point, you can make the pizzas, or you may refrigerate the dough until ready, or you can punch down and knead 2 minutes then let rise again 20 minutes and then make the pizzas.

        Making the pizzas:

        10. Lightly oil a baking pan (cookie sheet), then sprinkle lightly with cornmeal. If using a Silpat, the oil and cornmeal can be omitted.

        11. Pull the dough into four or five pieces – each will be a mini-pizza – or use it all for one large pizza, although that is harder to make without tearing.

        12. Stretch the dough gently – make it as thin as possible – keep stretching, relaxing (it needs to relax a little after each stretch; then it is less likely to rip), stretching, relaxing. If it tears, no worries; just pinch or press the torn sides back together – with a little water if needed.

        13. Place each round onto the baking pan and top it with tomato sauce if using. Then add your toppings. Then add the shredded mozzarella. Push down the toppings to keep the pizza thin and the top relatively even. Top with a small drizzle of olive oil.

        14. Bake approx. 10-15 minutes at 500 degrees. Remove soon after the cheese starts to brown.

        1. I believe you can usually buy pizza dough from a most pizzerias. hope that helps.

          A bombe sounds great but there is always Baskin Robbins if time gets away from you.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Hank Hanover

            This is a good point. Our local italian store sells dough and sauce in its freezer/refrigerator cases. You can save yourself a lot of time if you can buy the components and then put them together to bake.