52 Cookbooks #34: Polenta pizza fail!

So, I found an old cookbook all about pizzas and as I quite fancied a pizza I thought I'd deviate from my normal "go to" recipe and try one of these.  Hmmnn, now I wish I hadn't!

The book is an M&S Pizzas book, and it's so old it still has the St Michaels branding on it!


52 Cookbooks: the challenge is to cook a 

new recipe from one of my (many) 

cookbooks each week for a year...

As I was flicking through it I noticed this recipe for a polenta pizza with sun-dried tomatoes and basil.  It looked interesting enough to try and I thought would be a good alternative to more bread...

I don't think I've used this cookbook before, definitely not recently as I found it in the bookshelves in the study rather than with the rest of my cookbooks. That meant it was about as far away as it could get from our kitchen!  

Perhaps that was a sign... If it was, I ignored it and started by boiling water, adding salt and stirring in the polenta then cooking for 5 minutes until it thickened.  At this point as I didn't have a 12" pan I used two smaller baking tins and poured the thickening polenta into these and left it to cool and set.

So far so good. I'd even remembered to do this in advance, to give them plenty of time to cool and set - which makes a change!  Next it was time to brush them with oil and grill them.  This is where it I think it went wrong!

I was aware that polenta doesn't have much flavour  so takes on the flavours you add. I brushed the tops with a tablespoon of garlic oil and shoved it under the grill for the allotted time. It was supposed to crisp but hadn't, so I shoved it back in. After more than double the time it still wasn't crisp - the oil was bubbling away and both of the pizza bases were swimming in oil. 

I'm not sure it was supposed to be like that. However, on we went and the toppings went on - the square tin followed the recipe with passata, sliced cherry tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, cheese and black olives. For the round pizza I added pesto, a few more tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoes and some goats cheese. 

Well they looked like pizzas, I'll give them that - then it was into the oven for 25-30 minutes to cook.

This is how the square pizza looked straight out of the oven, it still looks like a pizza!

Unfortunately it tasted nothing like pizza!  The base was awful, there are no other words for it. MOH was bravely soldiering on as in his words he was "bloody hungry" but I was for giving up and finding something else to eat. It was that bad.

In fact I don't think I've stopped eating anything part-way through a meal that I've cooked before, so this was a first. Even the time when I halved a recipe and forgot to halve the chillies in the recipe we managed to eat it - and that was a very long time ago!

So having given up on this and having a hungry husband it was down to a sesame seed bagel topped with peanut butter to fill the hole...

The verdict

  • No, no, no, no, no!
  • Do not try this at home!

I think you know that I won't be cooking this again, but I'm in two minds as to whether I should keep the cookbook or try one more recipe before throwing it out (for recycling, not even to the charity shop!)

Have you tried, and had any success with polenta as a pizza base?

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