Easy Peazy Pizza: pepperoni, cheese, ham and pineapple
Iced Tea or Orange Fizz punch
With summer here and lots of young people somewhat at loose ends between the last day of school and family vacations or camps, it’s a good time to think about kids’ cooking.
Most children like to mess about in the kitchen, but complex recipes often don’t give them much chance to learn how. This “class” is intended for three children, with three different kinds of pizza and two drinks. The chocolate cake is an eggless one-bowl wonder I’ve made since I was a kid. If your class chooses Iced Tea, make it first, so it cools while everything else cooks. For Orange Fizz Punch, you need the fizz, so make it just before eating. But after the iced tea, make the cake—it needs to cool down before you eat it too. Make the pizzas last. They are good, and you could add extra toppings.
Cooking classes always do require lots of prep, in this case parental (which I know somewhat misses the point, but nevermind.) You’ll have to get the stuff, and provide relative amounts of supervision depending on ages. We sometimes underestimate children’s abilities. Most children of six can learn to turn on an electric oven, and most children over ten can carry out basic cooking procedures. Cooking conveys a real sense of responsibility as well as pride in the results—kids know about stove danger, but it’s a good idea to move slowly about teaching how to take things out of ovens and cool them. You know your children, and obviously you won’t encourage them to take on tasks for which they’re not ready. Most importantly, expect nothing and pray for peace.
The night before, or 12 hours before the cooking class,
1. Thaw 2 loaves of frozen bread dough for the pizza crusts.
2. If you’re not using pre-grated cheese, grate the mozzarella if children are under ten, to save them the frustrating and finger-skinning exercise.
3. Make sure the ingredients are on hand, that measuring tools are available, and that you have 3 pizza pans, one square cake tin and 2 plastic drink jugs.
4. Print the directions below for your young chef(s).
The day of the cooking class
1. Set out all the utensils required on the counter.
2. In a different place, line up the ingredients in the order of use.
3. Plan for breaks in the class schedule every 30 minutes. Recess makes the rest possible.
4. Clear a space for k.p., and make it clear that you expect help with the clean-up. (Hah.)
5. Have fun. To enjoy this, you have to go with the flow, put up with occasional lapses of interest or will, and recognize that the fun parts—like slapping the pzza dough around—may end up in chaos or food fights.
Pizza (3 types)
counter space for rolling dough
a dull knife
a rolling pin
three 12-14” pizza pans
a chopping board for each child
two measuring cups
a can opener
a cutting board
a rolling pin
For the Chocolate Cake
1 large bowl
a flat metal spatula
a rubber scraper spatula
a wooden spoon
8 inch square cake pan, or other shape but same capacity
a sifter or a large sieve
For Iced Tea or Orange Fizz Punch
2 plastic jugs
lots of ice cubes
long stirring spoon
For a cheese pizza, a pepperoni pizza and a ham/pineapple pizza
2 frozen bread dough loaves, thawed overnight
4-5 slices of ham
1/2 tin pineapple chunks in their own juice
pepperoni, summer sausage or pork breakfast sausage, according to taste
1 tins pizza sauce
1 package mozzarella for pizza, or 1 lb mozzarella, grated
flour for rolling crust
olive oil or vegetable oil
For George’s Chocolate Cake
milk or cream
vegetable oil, or shortening, or butter
chocolate chips (optional)
For Iced Tea
Orange Fizz Punch
frozen orange juice
fizzy water from a bottle, or gingerale or orange pop
MAKE THE ICED TEA FIRST
1. Boil 8 cups of water in a kettle
2. Pour the boiling water over two regular tea bags in a plastic jug
3. Let steep 10 minutes. Remove the tea bags
4. While tea steeps, squeeze 2 lemons
5. Strain the juice and add it to the tea
6. Add one cup of sugar. Stir well
7. Fill up the jug with ice cubes
8. Cool in the freezer then the fridge until it’s time to eat
Orange Fizz Punch (Make this ½ an hour before you plan to eat.)
1. Open the can or orange juice and put it into a plastic jug
2. Instead of water, fill the can with gingerale, fizzy water or orange pop 3 times
3. Mix until the juice is blended with the pop
4. Slice the lemons and oranges and add to the juice
5. Cover and put into the fridge. This works best if you drink it within an hour—otherwise the fizz disappears
MAKE THE CHOCOLATE CAKE
When you measure dry ingredients such as flour or sugar, carefully fill a measuring cup to the right level, and if possible use a spatula to flatten off the top so you get the exact amount. Baking is a chemical reaction, and you need to be very careful to measure the right amounts of everything. Also, the exact heat in the oven, and the timing, are very important. Ask someone to set the oven to 350F for you, and learn how to use the timer on the oven.
Prepare a cake pan. Using waxed paper or parchment paper, trace the bottom of the cake pan on the paper with a pencil. Cut out the shape.
Put some butter on your fingers—about 1 tsp. Rub the butter all over the bottom and sides of the cake pan. Now put the paper shape into the bottom of the pan. This will make it easy to remove the cake from the pan once it’s cooked.
Use the sieve to sift into a big bowl the following:
1 ½ cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
Add to these ingredients the following
1 cup milk or cream mixed in the measuring cup with 1 tsp. vinegar
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix all these together with a large spoon. Scrape the sides of the bowl to get all the dry stuff mixed into the wet. The dough will be quite stiff.
Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pan. Get it all out with a spatula. Move it around in the pan so it is evenly spread.
Put your cake into the oven heated to 350F and leave it there for exactly 30 minutes. Remove it. Cool on a rack for 30 minutes, then use a knife to loosen the cake from the edges of the cake pan. Turn it upside down and shake the pan a little. The cake will come out. Remove the waxed paper from the bottom, and very gently put the cake right side up on a plate. This cake doesn’t need any icing, but you could sprinkle a few chocolate chips on top.
MAKE THE PIZZA LAST
1. Wash your hands really well and dry them completely.
2. Put 1 tbsp. flour onto the cutting board and dust it around .
3. Divide the 2 loaves of thawed bread dough into 3 pieces.
4. Put ¼ tsp. oil into the palm of your hand and rub your hands together.
5. With clean, oiled hands, take one piece of the dough. Press it flat on the waxed paper. You are going to knead it. This means you turn the edges in, push the dough together, and turn the edges in again, over and over again. Do this for about five minutes, until the dough has a smooth, elastic feel and appearance. It will become stiffer and harder to knead.
6. Now make the dough into a ball. Flatten it a little with your hand, then roll it with the rolling pin. Press hard, and roll first to the north, then south, then east, then west, and so on. The dough will get flatter as it comes into a larger circle.
7. Put another ¼ tsp. oil into your hand. Rub it all over the pizza pan.
Now put the circle of dough onto the pizza pan and stretch it out. The more you stretch it, the larger the pizza and the thinner the crust. You may need more oil on your hands.
8. Leave the dough alone while you prepare the fillings.
The Cheese Pizza
1. Measure ¼ cup of cheese and sprinkle it on the pizza crust
2. Measure ¾ cup of pizza sauce and spoon it around the pizza
3. Measure ½ cup of cheese and sprinkle it on top of the sauce.
4. Measure ½ tsp. oregano and dust it over the pizza.
5. Bake in a 400F oven for 15-20 minutes.
1. On a chopping board, cut two sticks of pepperoni or sausage into thin slices. Make 1 cup of pepperoni slices.
2. Measure ¼ cup of cheese. Sprinkle it on the pizza crust
3. Measure ¾ cup of pizza sauce. Spoon it around the pizza
4. Measure ½ cup of cheese. Sprinkle it on top of the sauce.
5. Measure ½ tsp. oregano. Dust it over the pizza.
6. Bake in a 400F oven for 15-20 minutes.
Ham and Pineapple Pizza
1. On a chopping board, cut the pieces of ham into squares
2. Open the tin of pineapple. Use the sieve, and drain the water off the pineapple down the sink.
3. Spread the pineapple pieces over the pizza crust
4. Measure ¼ cup of cheese. Spread it over the pineapple
5. Measure ¼ cup of pizza sauce. Dab bits of it over the pizza
6. Measure ½ cup of pizza cheese. Spread it over the pizza
7. Bake in a 400F oven for 15-20 minutes.
When the pizzas are done—get help setting the oven timer—you will also have to ask someone to help you remove the pizzas from the oven. Be careful – they are VERY HOT! If you can’t get help, be sure to use big oven mitts. Before you remove anything from an oven, make sure you know where you are going to put it. A towel or a base of newspapers on the table will prevent the hot pan from burning the table.