For the Week of July 17, 2006

It’s been a while since we’ve done any real pastry-case pastry here at Joe Pastry, so I figure, let’s make ourselves a classic:


I had a terrible time finding Napoleon recipes on the web. I don’t think this is an especially good or clear one. But a Napoleon is really just a combination of familiar components, all of which have appeared here before: puff pastry, pastry cream and five-finger icing. Once you have those in hand, the pastry itself is just an arts & crafts project. More on this as the week progresses. This week’s bread project is of course the crust recipe I promised, converted from that terribly awkward, inelegant and confusing continental metric system:

Neapolitan Pizza Crust

For the sponge:

1/8 teaspoon instant yeast
8 ounces water
9 ounces flour (preferrably Caputo Italian “00”)

Stir ingredients until combined. Let ferment at room temperature for two hours, then place in the refrigerator overnight.

For the dough:

9 ounces flour (preferrably Caputo Italian “00”)
3/4 teaspoon of salt
1-2 ounces water
1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook. Knead on low for 20 minutes. Put dough in an oiled bowl, let ferment for 1/2 an hour, and refrigerate for a minimum of 12 hours, up to 24.

One and a half hours before baking, take the dough out of the refrigerator. Divide dough into three 9-10 ounce portions. Roll the pieces into balls and let rise for 1 hour.

Arrange baking stone (ideally two, one on a rack about 8 inches above the other) and turn oven to broil 45 minutes before baking.

Sprinkle semolina flour on a work surface. Shape pizzas by patting each ball flat and gently tugging the dough outward as you give it quarter turns. Turn, stretch, turn, stretch, turn stretch, until the dough is roughly 9 inches across and very thin. Let rise on the back of a semolina-sprinked cookie sheet for half an hour.

When ready to bake, brush the first pizza with olive oil, then apply a thin coating of sauce. Sprinkle on cheese and toppings sparingly. Slide pizza off the cookie sheet onto the lower baking stone and bake 4 minutes. After 4 minutes rotate the pizza with tongs and bake another four minutes until browned. Repeat with 2nd and 3rd pizzas.

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