PECKISH during mid-afternoons while working from home? Fix this quick and delicious classic Hawaiian pizza featuring ham and pineapple using English muffins (store-bought or home-made). Nobody can resist a delicious distraction. Bake a double batch – the aroma of freshly baked pizza will surely attract other hungry stomachs.
Total Time: 1¾ hours
Yields: 10 mini pizzas
A: Tomato Jam
500g cherry tomatoes
Pinch of salt
80g sugar, granulated
1 lemon, peel only, optional
5cm cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons ginger, grated, juice only
1 lemongrass, white portion only, bruised
1 dried or fresh chilli padi (bird’s eye chilli), optional
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
C: English Muffins
5 muffins, split & lightly toasted
D: Pizza Toppings
150g ham, diced
5 canned pineapple rings, cut into small wedges
250g mozzarella cheese, shredded
Basil leaves, 1 stalk
1. Make tomato jam: Remove stems from tomatoes. Soak in water for at least 20 minutes with a pinch of salt. Drain and transfer tomatoes to a medium non-reactive pot – Pyrex glass or enamel are ideal.
2. Add in remaining A ingredients. Bring to a gentle boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer uncovered for 1¼ hour.
3. As tomatoes cook, they will release a lot of water. It will slowly evaporate and the jam will gradually thicken as it cools. At this stage, it is a vibrant reddish orange with the consistency of a jam. Remove pot from stove. For a darker and less watery jam, continue cooking another 10-15 minutes. The sugar will gradually caramelise taking on deeper hues.
4. Season with B ingredients and adjust to taste. Using a spatula, stir it into the jam. Cook 5 more minutes. Remove jam from stove. Discard lemongrass, cinnamon stick and lemon peel. Pour into a sterilised jar. Allow jam to cool down at room temperature uncapped, approximately 2 hours. Refrigerate when it has cooled down completely.
5. Preheat oven to 200°C for at least 10 minutes.
6. Spread 1 tablespoon of tomato jam on each muffin half.
7. Top with pineapple and ham, piling them onto the muffin base.
8. Sprinkle with cheese. Lay muffins on a baking tray. Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese melts and turns golden brown. Garnish with fresh basil leaves. Serve immediately while piping hot.
BUYING TIP: Vine-ripened cherry tomatoes contain more pectin and gel faster during cooking. They are sweeter, less tart and juicier, hence requiring less sugar.
Tomato jam has multiple uses: it is lip-smacking as a condiment in burgers, spread on toasted bread or crackers and even stirred into plain curd-style yoghurt (Indian or Greek) for a quick dessert. Jam refrigerates well for up to 2 weeks.
TECHNIQUE: Letting jam simmer over medium-low heat allows the natural sugar in tomatoes to caramelise yielding a sweetish and mildly tangy jam.
Photos: Evonne Lyn Lee
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