strawberry leek pizza cover

Picking up where we left off Tuesday, here’s a strawberry leek pizza—because nothing showcases summer strawberries quite as well as dolloping them onto a cracker-like crust, alongside sauteéd leeks and cheese. The strawberry-leek combo here came to us after making Sara’s quesadillas, which, yes, we already referenced in the last post but, trust us, they’re good enough to warrant at least one more nod. The combination of golden, oily leeks with sweet, sliced strawberries is one of those classic pairs that, after you taste them together, you’ll want to apply elsewhere again and again. The night I came home from strawberry picking, Tim and I were standing there in the darkening kitchen, eating our slippery, gooey quesadilla triangles, wondering out loud where else strawberries and leeks could belong, “Paninis!” one of us said. “Grilled cheese!” from the other. Then, “Tarts!” “Pies!” “Quiche?” when, like a giant “of course!” it came to us. Pizza. Pizza!

making homemade pizza

Another “of course” moment came when I put together the dough for our first batch of crusts. For close to a year, we’ve been using the same wonderful kefir-soaked version, first with spelt flour and then with einkorn. After months of its consistently yielding elastic dough and thin, crisp crusts, something changed. We first noticed it when we were preparing to have friends over for dinner, back in March maybe. We had only 45 minutes until they’d arrive, and when I pulled out my resting dough, ready to press it out to be baked on a pizza stone, it crumbled in my hands. What was normally stretchy and flexible and soft had become dry and tough, like a nutty cookie dough. After a half hour of sheer panicked “Should we ask them to meet at a restaurant instead?” and “Let’s start over with a new batch!” we pulled a meal together, but barely. We heard something similar happened to Tim’s sister when she swapped yogurt for kefir in the recipe in her Ohio kitchen. Then the same thing happened to us on Easter, when we hosted ten friends for a big pizza lunch. But it wasn’t until last week, when I picked up some storebought kefir for the recipe instead of the yogurt we’ve been using for months that we confirmed, concretely, the problem: This pizza crust works best with kefir. Swap in the different bacterias and makeup of yogurt in a pinch, but do so at your own risk. Sometimes the yogurt-soaked dough turns out; sometimes it won’t.

strawberries and leeks

The last “of course” is the one you’ve probably been thinking since you clicked over to this post:

Enough with the words already! These pizza pictures speak for themselves!

And, indeed, they do:

making strawberry leek pizza

strawberry leek pizza on peel

strawberry leek pizza

strawberry leek pizza

sliced strawberry leek pizza

slices of strawberry leek pizza

Happy weekending, friends. See you soon.

 

Strawberry Leek Pizza with Kefir-Soaked Einkorn Crust
Makes two pizzas, which Tim and I can almost polish off completely on our own

So as mentioned above, it’s taken us two dinner parties, a holiday luncheon and a last-minute phone call from my sister-in-law, who’d had dough resting on her counter and then seen it gone dry, to discover the variable throwing all bets off: Our kefir-soaked pizza crust only works with, go figure, kefir. Swap in yogurt, and you swap in risk. Sometimes the dough will work, and sometimes it won’t. Yogurt and kefir have different bacterial components, and those components interact differently with the flours and rising process. Consider yourself warned!

Ingredients:
for the crust:
2.5 cups einkorn flour, plus more for flouring surface area and fingers (what is einkorn?)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 packet dry instant yeast (or 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/2 cup plain kefir
1/4 to 1/2 cup warm water (i.e., not hot to the touch but warm enough to activate the yeast)

for the toppings:
Olive oil, for brushing
1 or 2 leeks
Coconut oil
About a dozen strawberries, chopped
Large slices of high-quality mozzarella
Salt and pepper
Balsamic vinegar, to finish after the pizza comes out of the oven

Directions:
A few hours before you want to have the pizza, assemble the dough and let it rise. In a medium bowl, combine einkorn flour, olive oil, salt, yeast and kefir; stir together. Add 1/4 cup warm water and stir, then knead, until dough comes together. If the dough seems wet, you may add a little more flour. If it seems too dry, you may add more of the remaining 1/4 cup water as needed. You’ll know it’s right when the dough is easily forming a cohesive ball. Douse it in a little extra olive oil, rolling it in the oil to coat. Cover the bowl and leave it in a warm place.

About an hour before you want to make the pizza, preheat the oven to 475F. If you have a stone (recommended!), place it inside to warm with the oven.

Prepare the leeks by taking discarding the long, green ends and focusing on the white and light green parts. Slice them up. Warm a teaspoon of coconut oil in a skillet on the stove over medium heat. Once it’s warm, add the leeks and sauté until golden and soft. (I used one leek for the two pizzas, but if you like a lot of oniony flavor, by all means, slice up two.)

When you’re ready to bake the pizzas, lay a piece of parchment on the counter and toss some flour on top. Pull the cover off the pizza dough bowl and divide the dough into two parts. Place the first on the floured parchment; add a little flour on top of it; begin forming it into a large crust. I like to flip it over a couple times to make sure the flour gets incorporated fully. Keep stretching and pulling until the dough is the size you like; it should be super thin.

Do the toppings by brushing the whole pizza with olive oil. Add half the leeks to each pizza, spreading them out all over. Top with half the strawberries and enough mozzarella to your taste. Lightly salt and pepper the whole thing.

If you’re using a stone and a peel like we were, cut the parchment paper right around the pizza dough, scoop the pizza onto your peel and slide it onto the stone in the oven. Bake for about 12 to 15 minutes, until cheese is golden and melty. Repeat with other half of dough.

When pizzas are done, remove from oven and top with drizzles of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 21 Comments

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  2. Jacqui

    I’ve told you before, and I’ll say it again: Love. These. Photos.

    Also, a couple of stories about strawberries:

    1. So you know those strawberry plants I’m growing on my patio? There were two almost-ready-to-pick berries that I instagrammed the other day, and yesterday, they were gone! I was so upset! I’m wondering if the rabbits got to them? Or maybe a bird? Anyway, the battle in which I defend my fruits and veggies against adorable-yet-hungry backyard critters has begun. Ugh.

    2. A coworker of mine is getting married to a guy from Ecuador, and at dinner with them one night, I asked him what’s the strangest food that he thinks we Americans eat. He said he had a salad with spinach, garlic and strawberries in it, and he thought it was really weird. Ha! I kind of loved that.

    Happy weekend!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Jacqui! Not your beautiful berries!! Those rabbits have got to go! I would have been so upset, too. Also, hahaha to the strawberry salad remark! I kind of love that, too. Thanks for the strawberry stories that brought a smile to my face today. : )

  3. Kathryn

    Interesting! As you know, I love this pizza crust but I’ve always used yoghurt and never had a problem. Admittedly, I don’t stretch the dough as thin as you do (because I’m lazy) so I wonder if that’s helped? I don’t think I’ve ever had it go dry though. I’m definitely going to try it with kefir (as soon as I have an oven again) and will be interested to see what difference it makes. This pizza really does look wonderful.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      That is actually super interesting to know, Kathryn. It makes me wonder if different yogurts have different reactions here. It also makes me want to buy a dozen yogurts and kefirs and test them one by one, haha! But I’m glad yours has still been working with the yogurt and even more glad that you’ve tried this recipe! : )

  4. felicia | Dish by Dish

    You know…. maybe I can understand what Jacqui’s ecuador friend means. I mean, I love strawberries and I love vegetables, but honestly, I haven’t tried strawberries with arugula or spinach or sauteed leeks! But since I’m seeing these combinations pop up in almost all the food blogs I follow, I suppose there must be something magical about these combinations that I still can’t quite seem to wrap my head around.

    Love how thin your pizza crust is btw! I bet it’s so crunchy & crispy that you can break it without must effort! :) Enjoy your weekend dear! and keep on enjoying whatever’s left of those farm-fresh strawberries!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      It’s funny what combinations end up being good together, isn’t it? Things we never would have put together can be fantastic. I guess they also can be horrible, but that’s how we learn, ha! Happy weekending to you, too!

  5. Wendy

    Hi Shanna! The pizza looks absolutely delectable. :)
    I saw a post from awhile back that you and Tim were growing kefir and making smoothies out of it, are you still growing them? Just curious since I recently bought some Kefir as well.. Thanks!

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  7. Elizabeth

    I ran across your blog a few days ago, and since then, cannot stop looking at it! I love the way you combine ingredients to come up with something unique, appetizing, and gorgeous. You capture things so well with your photos and the way you write is honest and true and beautiful. Thanks for writing.

  8. Paula @ Vintage Kitchen

    The topping in this pizza is so interesting to try Shanna. And the pics are gorgeous!
    I`m still looking for that perfect pizza dough that will never fail me. I`ve tried so many over the years, but adding kefir sounds like something to try. Isn`t there a viral two ingredient pizza dough recipe around the web? Just yogurt and flour… I don`t remember well, but I was wondering if the eikorn flour plays a part in the crumbliness together with the yogurt, and maybe not with the kefir. Anyway, I`m trying this recipe but with regular bread flour, since I can`t find your type here.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Paula, Two-ingredient pizza crust! What! I tell you, the Internet is full of surprises. Although, I will say, I have tried two-ingredient cookies and two-ingredient pancakes and been overall unimpressed, haha! So as far as this recipe, I think you could easily swap the einkorn with spelt or with wheat flour or with regular all-purpose. Bread flour definitely won’t be a one-to-one swap, but it’s probably possible with a little testing. Good luck!

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