As a rabbi's daughter, I've struggled in years past to entertain myself on the one day of the year when every storefront, amenity or acquaintance literally presses the pause button: Christmas. We've been lucky over the years to travel and enjoy family time due to built-in vacation, but I have recently discovered and taken advantage of the face that the kitchen is always open on Christmas Day (that is, if you're a planner and get through the grocery before closures)!
Inspired by Bon Appetit's Grandma-Style Pizza Dough recipe I read on the plane to Christmas vacation, I rolled up my sleeves and pulled off a pizza that grabbed everyone's attention until only crumbs remained. The shareable pie was a perfect accompaniment to a showing of Elf, which almost tempted us to top our slices with maple syrup. Baked in a bubbling olive oil base and topped with all the good things -- from mushroom and shallot to bacon and olive -- this pizza marks a secondary reason for the season!
1 envelope active dry yeast (about 2¼ tsp.)
2 tablespoons plus ½ cup olive oil, plus more for bowl
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 cups all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for surface
Various pitted olives from your grocer's olive bar - I love Castelvetrano and Kalamata
1 pint wild mushrooms, sliced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 bunch fresh sage leaves
4 slices uncured bacon, cooked and cooled
6 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
4 cloves garlic, sliced
3 tablespoons butter, divided
The day before...
1. Combine yeast and 1 1/2 cups warm water (105–110°) in a large bowl. Let stand until yeast starts to foam, about 10 minutes.
2. Mix in 2 tablespoons oil, then salt and 2 cups of flour into the yeast. Add another 2 cups flour, a cup at a time, mixing until incorporated in a shaggy dough.
3. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until soft, smooth, and elastic, 10–12 minutes. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Chill 24 hours.
The day of...
4. Coat an 18x13” rimmed baking sheet with remaining 1/2 cup of oil. Gently and gradually stretch dough until it reaches the edges of baking sheet. (If dough springs back or is stiff to work with, let it rest 10 minutes before continuing.)
5. Cover dough on baking sheet tightly with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place (but not too warm!—about 70° is ideal) until puffed and full of air bubbles, 30–40 minutes.
6. During the second dough rise, take cheese out of the fridge (to bring toward room temp) and heat two small skillets with butter over medium heat -- one with 2 tablespoons, and the other with the third tablespoon. Add mushrooms to one pan, and garlic to the other. Stir until fragrant, then add shallot to the garlic pan. Continue to cook both until caramelized, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat.
7. Place a rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 525° or as high as oven will go.
8. Once dough is fully risen, begin with a drizzle of oil and dollops of ricotta. Add mozzarella slices, olives, mushrooms, shallot and garlic, and crumbled bacon. Top with sage leaves.
9. Bake until golden brown and crisp on bottom and sides, 20–30 minutes.