Berber Pizza

A vegan pizza recipe for the Moroccan Berber Pizza
I found the recipe for this Berber Pizza in a book evocatively titled “A Platter of Figs” by David Tanis of the much-lauded Berkeley, Calif. restaurant Chez Panisse.

Although many of the recipes in here call for the addition of meat, I was pleasantly surprised to find one that sounded delicious and was really easy to veganize. The original recipe had some butter– I just substituted with olive oil for healthier and, dare I say, equally tasty results.

This past week, I had an old friend and her family, including her charming two-year-old son, visit for dinner. I made this pizza, among other things, and the vote was unanimous– we all loved it.

The Berber Pizza, which is from North Africa, is a covered pizza and the filling is so simple yet so delicious, it’s almost mindblowing. Don’t let the word “pizza” mislead you– this is not your average takeout-style pizza. Instead it’s elegant and unusual and what’s best, it couldn’t be easier to make. All you need are some onions and some everyday spices, and some flour.

Enjoy the recipe, everyone, and have a great week!
A covered North African pizza stuffed with onions and spices
Berber Pizza

(Adapted from “A Platter Of Figs”)

Ingredients

For the dough:

2 tsp active dry yeast

1 1/4 cups warm water

4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I didn’t try substituting with whole wheat even partially because I wanted to keep the crispiness of the crust)

1 tsp salt

1/3 cup olive oil

For the filling:

4 medium onions, sliced thinly

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp cumin seeds, roasted and powdered

1 tsp coriander seeds, roasted and powdered

1 tsp red chilli powder, like cayenne

2 tsp ground black pepper

Salt to taste

1/4 cup chopped coriander/cilantro

To make the dough, mix the yeast and 1/4 cup of warm water and 1/2 cup of flour. Set aside until the mixture becomes foamy, about 10-15 minutes.

Now add four more cups of flour, salt, olive oil, and the remaining 1 cup of warm water.

Knead into a soft but smooth dough. Add more flour if necessary.

Cover and allow the dough to rest for at least 2 hours or even overnight, in a refrigerator.

To make the filling, heat the olive oil in a skillet. Now add the onions and stir quickly over high heat until lightly browned but still crunchy. Add the cumin, coriander, chilli powders and black pepper as well as salt to taste.

Stir in the coriander leaves and set aside to cool.

Punch down the risen dough and divide into six equal-sized pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth ball. Set the dough balls aside to rest for 10 minutes, covered.

Roll out two of the dough balls into 8-inch discs, using a little flour if necessary.

On one disk, spread out a third of the onion mixture evenly.

Moisten the edges of the second disc by brushing on a smidgen of water, then press down on top of the other disc with the filling. Press the edges together to seal.

Roll out the pizza into a 12-inch round. Make two more pizzas the same way using the remaining dough balls.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place the pizza on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake each pizza in the oven, one or two at a time, for 22-23 minutes or until lighty golden and crisp.

Brush the top with olive oil as soon as it comes out of the oven. I also brushed a mixture of 1 tbsp olive oil + 1 tsp dijon mustard + 1 tsp garlic powder on one, and the added flavor was delicious.

Cut into wedges, and enjoy!

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

19 thoughts on “Berber Pizza

  1. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Pavani

    April 21, 2009 at 4:09pm

    Wow.. thats an unusual pizza. with only onions “in it” and not “on it”. Looks delicious Vaishali. I’m curious did you serve any dipping sauce with it?

  2. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Cham

    April 21, 2009 at 5:56pm

    What an exciting name, very different and tasty one!

  3. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Red Chillies

    April 21, 2009 at 6:07pm

    Very creative idea especially during parties etc or when one is engrossed watching TV. It is more of a no-mess pizza and easy for kids to eat ot. Very cool.

  4. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Uma

    April 21, 2009 at 7:37pm

    A nice variation from regular pizza! Looks great Vaishali! Yum!

  5. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Asha

    April 21, 2009 at 10:49pm

    I was about to log off and then this popped up. Looks wonderful, I guess you can stuff with sweet fruit too, would be lovely for kids. Great recipe V, enjoy! :)

  6. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Vaishali

    April 22, 2009 at 3:06am

    Pavani, this really doesn’t require a dipping sauce but if you’d really like one, any pesto or tomato sauce would be great.

    Cham, Red Chillies, Uma, Thanks ladies.

    Asha, great idea. A fruit filling might work great for a sweet pizza but of course you’d have to ensure that there were no juices since you have to roll it out. I might add some sugar to the crust.

  7. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    A_and_N

    April 22, 2009 at 3:49am

    This is really really cool! bookmarked to try soon!

  8. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Sharmila

    April 22, 2009 at 4:42am

    I like this idea of stuffing … and you made the dough too! Good one Vaishali! :-)

  9. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Priya

    April 22, 2009 at 11:22am

    Quite a different and tasty pizza from usual pizzas..looks yumm!

  10. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Pooja

    April 22, 2009 at 8:38pm

    Wow this a great Pizza Vaishali :) Would love to try this out. Love your posts..so unique!!

  11. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Dibs

    April 23, 2009 at 1:17pm

    For a moment I read this as “barber pizza”!!!! Looks and sounds yummy – lovely colour! I like Ashas’s idea on stuffing with fruits!

  12. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Shreya

    April 23, 2009 at 4:23pm

    looks great. Never heard of it before. Sure wish I could taste it:-)

  13. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Arch

    April 25, 2009 at 10:50am

    Lovely and unusual…never heard of an African pizza…really convinient to eat like RC said…Nice one V, trying out your banana nut muffins right now !!

  14. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    kahliyalogue

    April 26, 2009 at 5:41pm

    This is sooo great!I feel like taking a slice off that rack!Ive never heard of this..thanx so much for sharing the recipe,Im gonna try asap..looks like this may very well become a new favorite comfort food! :)mmmmmm

  15. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Wendy T

    May 1, 2009 at 3:05pm

    I am so pleased I found this post. We live in Morocco and have just returned from the desert where we had some of this wonderful Berber Pizza!

  16. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Carol Peterman/TableFare

    January 10, 2011 at 11:12pm

    This looks spectacular. I love the Ethiopian spice mix berbere, which would be great as a sub for the spices in your filling. Here’s a link to Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s recipe for berbere spice mix.
    http://bit.ly/dI1QfX

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