Thursday, 14 November 2013

Roll Up! Roll Up!

Girelle di Pizza -con la Zucca, Formaggio Fresco e Pomodorini 
Pizza Rolls, with Pumpking, Cream Cheese & Cherry Tomatoes

Here's an idea for you- nothing ground-breaking and new, but still... they are just a little different, they are nice and seasonal and almost guaranteed to please. These great, not-so-little pizza snacks are perfect party food and whipped together in next to no time. No fancy ingredients, no fuss- just good, tasty fun! 

Of course you can fill these rolls of pizza dough with any number of ingredients- whatever takes your fancy... but this evening, to try them out, I decided use pumpkin, with a hint of ginger, some cream cheese, cherry tomatoes and Spring onion, along with a little grated Scamorza on top. Basically because that was all that I had at home- just like in real life!

These little beauties are SO easy to make, there is hardly anything I need to tell you- well, except perhaps for the one, important trick that will make these work wonderfully.

Basically, they are exactly what they look like they are- strips of pizza dough with a topping and cheese on them, which are rolled-up, stood on end and baked until they are golden brown. The trouble is that if you did simply make them that way, the sauce and the filling would ooze out of the bottom during baking... and during eating them of course too!

First things first though- the filling requires a little preparation that needs to be done before the rolls can be assembled. This simply means grating and pre-cooking the pumpkin, onion and a hint of garlic in advance, so that the rolls do not bake too long and become too soggy from the pumpkin juices in the oven. I grated the pumpkin very coarsely, added just a touch of garlic- maybe a half clove, finely chopped and a couple of spring onions. This was about 1 coffee mug full of grated Hokkaido pumpkin that I used to make 4 rolls- just a little goes a long way!

I stirred the pumpkin at a high heat until it changed color and became moist from its own juices, then added a little rosemary and thyme, salt, pepper and nutmeg and removed it from the heat to cool. There- prep work done.

For the rolls themselves, I cut the pre-made pizza base into 4 strips of around 6" in width and spread it first with tomato paste and then with a little cream cheese. Here in Germany, we are lucky enough to have something called "Quark", which is basically cheese curds and available in a low-fat version- and that is what I used. Elsewhere in the world... Philadelphia or some other preferred cream cheese will work just fine.

I seasoned it with salt, pepper and nutmeg and then spread a stripe of grated, pre-cooked pumpkin and onion along the middle. I then placed thinly sliced cherry tomatoes here on there on either outside edge of the dough and sprinkled everything with grated Scamorza. Ok- now everything was on-top of the dough- but I needed it to be inside the dough, and so I gently folded each strip over, length-ways, to give me a strip that was only half the original thickness and closed on one side. And it was this side of course, that went to form the base of the rolls, as soon as I had carefully gathered them together.

A final dusting of nutmeg, a little more freshly ground pepper and into a pre-heated oven they went, at the very highest setting for around 15 minutes. This means at least 400° over there in the USA... but basically just as hot as your oven can manage! Pizza ovens get way hotter than this! After 15 minutes the rolls were puffy and firm and good to eat, but just a little pale- so I gave them 3-4 minutes under the broiler, just to make sure they were brown yummy on top before serving!

As you can see, the pizza roll baked evenly all the way through, the pumpkin remained juicy and full of flavor and the cream cheese with the hint of grated ginger, the chopped onion and the nutmeg made for a really satisfying good feed!
Try them out and see- I know for a fact that everyone is going to love them- and that means that they will love you for making them too!

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