Pizza for Christmas may not seem like a natural idea, but it can be a fun way to spread the holiday cheer, especially if you have a wood-fired pizza oven in your home. It can be a great way to spend some quality family time as you prepare the toppings. It’s also a clever way to keep the kids happy while the adults enjoy their brandy cake and eggnog. It’s vital that sharing pizza as a family, brings the family closer.
One interesting way to bring the Christmas spirit to your pizza ovens is to bake pizzas in Yuletide shapes. Instead of making the standard round pizza, try baking one in the shape of a Christmas tree, candy cane, snowman, or gingerbread man. Simply make your pizza dough then use a palette knife or cookie cutter to create the right shape.
Another interesting choice is to make Christmas garland pizza or a mistletoe pizza. These are good recipes for vegetable pizzas because you can get the colouring right and bake for a minimal period to keep the toppings bright and fresh. Remember to toast the pizza base first, so that it cooks through despite the shortened oven time.
Another interesting idea is to incorporate Christmas colours into your pizza. Use golden tinges of cheese, spinach and rocket leaves for green, and lots of sliced tomatoes for red. You can also shape your toppings into stars and baubles. Cut out a hole in the centre of the pizza to attain the wreath shape, and fold thinly sliced zucchini into a bow.
Since the pizza is largely a treat for the kids, consider making a series of tiny colourful pizzas rather than a large one. The children will love them, and the adults can have some fun with them too. Another interesting idea is to go with sweet pizza, topping it with chocolate, red cherries, and green cherries to echo your Christmas cake.
HOSTING OVER CHRISTMAS
If you’re hosting over the Christmas season, you will likely have guests for more than just one day. So your Christmas pizzas can stretch after the actual day. Pizza pockets are a sneaky way to use up leftovers before they go bad. Use shredded chicken and turkey as toppings, throw on some cheese, fold them over, seal them, and bake them in the pizza oven.
You can also use leftovers for mini pizzas. The advantage here is that the portions will be tiny, so they will cook (and be consumed) quite fast. Test different topping combinations on the children and the hangover victims. If a recipe gets vetoed, try something else, and the more popular combos can be remade as you proceed with ‘food clean-up.’
If you’re looking for a colour-coded Christmas treat, and if you have vegetarians among your guests, you could try a recipe with lots of green. Roasted Brussel sprouts, ricotta, and sprinkled parmesan make a healthy combination, and the taste is certainly memorable.
Good luck getting the kids to try it though. You could throw some BBQ sauce and balsamic glaze on top to make it more inviting while playing into the Christmas theme of red, yellow, and gold. To be on the safe, try it as a mini pizza recipe and chase it with drinks and cake.
For some families, Christmas is a holiday based on faith so that it may appeal to their sense of belief. Figs have a lot of significance in the Bible, especially in stories about Jesus, so why not put some on your Christmas pizza? They make for great taste and good symbolism. If your family isn’t kosher, you can combine the figs with prosciutto.
Top it all with mozzarella, and if you’d like to include more biblical ingredients, use yeast in your pizza base and olive oil to cook, season, and drizzle. The deliciously colourful results are bound to be a hit, so you can safely go full size with this Christmas pizza option.
We’ve already mentioned tree-shaped pizzas, but here’s another interesting idea. You can use your pizza oven to bake a fresh loaf of Christmas bread. Use pizza crust to bake a pull-apart loaf shaped like a Christmas tree. The kids are sure to enjoy this, and they can help you mould the dough into the right dimensions.
Start by cutting the pizza crust into little squares and stuffing the squares with cheese. You can also stuff other treats like bacon, shredded poultry, or other leftovers. Get the kids to curl the square stuffed pizza pieces into small balls. Seal the balls and lay them together on a cookie sheet, forming the tree. Put the sheet into your pizza oven.
To add to the Christmas flavour, baste the cake in melted cheese, butter, and green herbs like parsley and basil. This covers the green and gold. You can also make a tomato-based dipping sauce to throw in some juicy red. It’s best served with rich soup, leftover Christmas meats, and creamy hot chocolate. It also makes a great breakfast for groggy boxing day festivities.
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