Do you remember those Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books you had as a child? The ones where if you wanted your hero to fight the dragon, you should turn to page eight, but if you preferred her to choose the better part of valour and retreat to come up with a cunning plan, then you should head straight for page thirty-four. All of the building blocks were there; you just had to decide how to put them all together to come up with what you hoped would be a sensible plot. I have stumbled upon the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure pizza as the perfect way to cater a party.
Of course, I cannot lay claim to the invention of choosing toppings for pizza any more than I can, or would, the adventure books. Children’s cafés have been doing this for years. What I didn’t foresee was what a low stress way it would be to feed adults too, nor how much fun they would have doing it either.
Normally, I am rushing about at dinner parties, because I make a lot of food, often that has to be prepared at once. I am not one of these people who comes up with dishes that can be prepared in advance. If you are like me, the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure pizza party is a great way to allow you to relax. Everything was made in good time for the guests to arrive, or sliced, as appropriate, and laid out on the dining room table so people could choose what to put on it.
Of course, because it was me, I had made most of the components, including the mozzarella, and the smoked mozzarella, as well as the dough, and the pizza sauce. I didn’t make the charcuterie, though, maybe that is for another pizza party another time. But in general, it was pretty relaxed, with no fancy elements to put on, or to be pureeing as the guests arrived. I also split the dough into individual portions, and placed them ready and waiting for the final proving inside a ziploc bag. All in all, it was a success, low stress, meant I got time with my guests to have fun, and they got time to make the pizza of their choice.
We even had two servings of dough and just enough pizza sauce leftover the next day to make the perfect hangover breakfast, with bacon, sausage, mushroom, spinach and the egg. The dough kept well in the fridge, and should freeze well too.
And, because I made all of the elements of the pizzas, and my friends loved to make their own, I’ve decided to enter them into this week’s Made with Love Monday hosted by Mark of Javelin Warrior. Of course, it will also appear in the round-up post for this month’s Cheese, Please! because I used the fresh cheeses that I made, and the dough had the whey from the cheese in it.
Recipe: Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Pizza
Pizza dough – I made 2 double batches of this recipe,which is really great, but I used whey from the cheese making in place of the water, which worked out really well
For the Pizza Sauce:
The amounts given below is enough for 4 individual pizzas. I made enough for 20, but I’ve scaled it down here.
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 fat clove of garlic
Splash red wine
200 g tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp fresh oregano (flowers and all), or 1 tsp dried
For the Toppings:
Whatever you feel appropriate, really. I used
Red onion, sliced
Raw mushrooms, sliced,
Raw pepper, deseeded and sliced
On the morning of your party, make the mozzarella, and bodge up a smoker to smoke about half (or buy both, I won’t judge).
Make up the dough, according to the recipe I’ve linked to – or use another favourite of yours. Allow to prove for 90 minutes. You can totally relax or eat lunch, or do whatever you like for a bit at this point – most unusual for getting ready to host a crowd.
At some point chop up and lay out your toppings, in a very leisurely fashion. You even have time to decide you should offer pineapple after all, and run out to get some. It’s up to you.
Fold over the dough, as Dan shows you in the recipe I linked to. Leave it to sit for another half an hour. Treat yourself to a cup of tea – or something stronger if you prefer.
Divide the dough into your ziploc bags, and place them on the table with the rest of your toppings.
Then you need to make up your sauce. In a frying pan, so that you can get a lot of evaporation, soften the red onion. Add the garlic and cook off until the scent hits you.
Splash a good helping of red wine into the pan and cook until it has almost evaporated. Finally, add the tomatoes and oregano. Cover the pan with a lid for about five minutes, until the tomatoes breakdown a little. Remove the lid and cook on a medium heat, until the sauce is really thick. Put this in a large bowl on the centre of the table.
Serve up the mozzarella, and open the smoker, hoping you still have resplendent balls, and not smoky little discs, unlike mine. Even if they are, use them anyway.
Stand back and watch the children show the adults how to get stuck into the shaping and topping of their pizzas, closely followed by the adults trying to top one another’s efforts.
20 responses to “A Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Pizza Party”
Homemade pizza is always so good and I love the idea of throwing a make your own pizza party – so delicious and perfectly customizable. And making your own smoked mozzarella – so impressive!
I had a lot of fun with it, although it does warrent more attention, but now I know what to do for next time.
What fun! My kids always love making pizza. Making the cheese, smoking the cheese AND using the whey. Wow, impressive stuff. Thanks for sharing again with Cheese, Please!
Thank you. I appear to have gone fresh cheese crazy. And now I have a load of veggie rennet that will need to be used up, so I am just going to have to do more. 🙂 Although it will likely be too late for this round up, I fancy a brie-type cheese soon.
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I love a good pizza and a great way to have a party! 🙂 I also love the hang over pizza, brilliant!
Thanks! I needed it the next day 🙂
Whey to go girl! You definitely get top prize for making your own cheeses AND using the whey in your pizzas. The party looked like great fun.
🙂 Thanks Linda, we did have fun, albeit a week later than planned, due to the Curious Incident of the Dog Sick on The Sofa.
It’s why I’m cramming all my cheese posts into the one week, instead of over two like I’d hoped for.
I do sympathise, our cat peed on the bed the other day. I spent the entire day washing and drying duvets and bedlinen. Not the sort of housework I enjoy.
Oh god! The smell 😦
This is a great idea! I’m gonna throw one!
You should Ros, the adults loved it more than the kids
Great idea, we’ve done pizza parties for the kids but why not adults too! Although I’m not sure making the cheese as well as the dough would be within my capabilities… I’m full of admiration for your organisational skills.
That’s very kind, Sarah, but I am the least organised person in all honesty. It was a real surprise to be able to spend this long with my guests, and not be chopping frantically as they arrived. I think the thing is that I usually try and make all kinds of different foods. I really gave myself a break with the offering of different toppings this time. The cheese really only takes about 40 minutes, including boiling the kettle a few times
I’ve done pizza parties with kids but never with just adutls. What a fabulous idea to put your guest to work 🙂 Love the fact that you get time to spend with your guets (and if they are not happy with the food they only have themselves to blame ;-> )
Honestly, I loved it too, normally I’m still rushing about while the guests are here. This way is much better, I think
This is such a wonderful idea. It really saves you the trouble of garnishing and topping each pizza and you don’t have to worry about displeasing somebody’s taste buds. As each person adds on their desired toppings, they’ll be the one’s solely responsible for their taste bud-happiness! Will try this out at my upcoming cousin get-together. Thanks for the article!
You’re welcome. I’m sure your guests will enjoy making their own as well. Have fun at your get-together
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