September 22, 2015 — Dinner Party

Vegetarian Puff Pastry Pizza

  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • 4 PEOPLE
  • easy

‘…Puff pastry pizza is a smart idea – so much quicker than making dough. You can put it in the oven and slap anything on top! Read Dad’s story for other delicious topping ideas.’

'I should claim credit for introducing this SOS puff pastry pizza idea to Dad. We lived off these quick pizzas on a recent holiday to Italy with mates...'

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What you need

500g ready-made all-butter puff pastry

Flour for rolling pastry

40 oven dried and roasted cherry tomatoes. See tip. Or 20 fresh cherry tomatoes.

1 large red onion

1 tsp sugar

1 tbs vinegar (ideally red wine)

1 small courgette trimmed

1 medium leek trimmed of roots and most of the green top

150g/1 pack – mini mozzarella balls drained

15 dried and pitted black olives

Small handful of chopped basil

1 tsp dried oregano

2 tbs mayonnaise

1 tbs cream or milk

Olive oil

Salt and pepper


Dad's Recipe Tales

Is it a ‘cheat’ or is it a flan?

This is often called a “cheat’s” pizza but it could be seen as a ‘real’ vegetable flan. In fact it’s nearly a quiche.

What’s certainly true is this is a very useful method to make an infinite variety of easy going, fun and tasty meals. The principle is the same: roll-out the pastry, precook and top with anything you like. It could be made with grilled Mediterranean vegetables. Ham, bacon, sausages, or pepperoni can been included. A version with spinach, feta and mushrooms would be good. Or try tuna fish or prawns with tomatoes and roasted red peppers…

I would avoid putting too much liquid on the pastry as it will end up with a soggy bottom.

NB: The final heating will not thoroughly cook raw ingredients. Therefore give ingredients that need to be cooked – or would be better cooked – an initial separate cooking (as I have done for the courgettes, leeks, onions and roasted tomatoes in the above recipe).

How Dad Cooked It

  1. First roll out the pastry. Dust a work surface with flour and roll the pastry to a large square or rectangle (a rectangle may require cutting and reshaping the block of pastry). Roll to a thickness of about 5 mm or to fit the shape of a shallow baking tray or sheet. Line the baking tray or sheet with baking parchment and place the pastry on top. Put in the fridge to rest for half an hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 6.
  3. Make the saute sweet and sour onions. Slice the onion in half and then into very thin slices. Place in a heavy sauce pan with a thick base and a lid. Put one tablespoon of olive oil in the pan and bring the heat up. Fry the onions, stirring continuously, for 5 minutes. Turn the heat down to the lowest setting, add a good pinch of salt, the sugar and vinegar and stir. With the lid on the pan, gently saute for 30 minutes. Check frequently and stir.
  4. Prepare and cook vegetables. Wash the courgette and leek and slice into discs. Heat a large non-stick frying pan on a medium-high heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Lay the vegetables in the pan in a single layer and fry on both sides. If your pan is not large enough to cook all the vegetables in a single layer, cook them in batches. Drain and set aside.
  5. Wash the tomatoes and cut in half – set aside.
  6. Remove the pastry from the fridge. Mix the mayonnaise and cream or milk and brush over the pastry. This will act as a seal and a glaze, (usually the glaze is made from a beaten egg, but when I was making this pizza we had run out of eggs. I always think this part of pastry-making can be wasteful. My alternative works very well).
  7. Bake the pastry on the middle shelf for 20 minutes or until it is well risen and starts to turn golden. Then turn the oven down to its lowest setting to dry-out for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  8. Increase the oven temperature to 180C/Gas 6.
  9. Make the pizza. Score the pastry with a knife around the edge leaving a ‘crust’ of about 1cm. Push the inside down. Evenly scatter the onions over the base.  Then arrange the leeks, courgettes, tomatoes, mozzarella and olives. Sprinkle oregano over the pizza and bake for another 10 minutes to heat through. NB: The trick here is to ensure the mozzarella melts without burning the pastry. A blow torch can help here, but otherwise ensure the pastry is not overcooked on the first cooking and adjust the timing and temperature on the second bake to suit.
  10. Season and finish with shredded basil leaves and a drizzle of good olive oil. Serve hot or warm with a green salad.
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