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Beetroot, goat’s cheese and caper pizza

Serves 2 beetroot goats cheese and caper pizza on chopping board

The mark-up on pizza is astounding. Make your own and you won’t look back. I learnt this recipe on a course at River Cottage and the dough is the best I’ve tried. Get the oven as hot as possible well before cooking.


For the dough

  • 5g (⅛oz) dried yeast
  • 350ml (12fl oz) lukewarm water
  • 250g (9oz) strong plain flour
  • 250g (9oz) plain flour, plus more to dust
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • Slug of olive oil

For the topping

  • 4 tbsp olive oil, plus more to drizzle
  • 4 large red onions, very finely sliced about 10 thyme sprigs
  • 250g (9oz) goat’s cheese, in chunks
  • 500g (1lb 2oz) roasted beetroot, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tbsp capers, rinsed


  1. Dissolve the yeast in 1 ½ tbsp of the water and mix in 2 tbsp flour. Stir to make a smooth paste and leave under a cloth, somewhere warm, for 30 minutes to form a ‘sponge’.
  2. Put the flours in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour in the sponge, salt, oil and remaining water and mix, gradually bringing in the dry ingredients, to form a wet dough (don’t be tempted to add too much flour). Knead for 10 minutes until satiny and elastic. Put in a clean bowl, cover with a cloth and leave somewhere warm for 1 ½ hours, or until doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 250°C/480°F/gas mark 9 and put in pizza stones, unglazed terraotta tiles or baking sheets.
  3. Meanwhile, for the topping, heat the oil in a saucepan and add the onions. Turn them in the fat, add 1 tbsp water, cover, place over very low heat and sweat for 15 minutes. Add the thyme and set aside.
  4. Plomp the dough on to a lightly floured work surface and knead for 2 minutes. Divide into two and roll each piece into a 30cm (12 in) round. Put on well-floured baking sheets or large pieces of cardboard to support them while you add the topping.
  5. Top with the onions, cheese and beetroot. Season and drizzle with oil. Slide on to the hot stones or baking sheets (oil baking sheets at the last minute). Bake for 15 minutes, scattering with capers 5 minutes before the end. Serve immediately.

Also try...

Pizzas can go anywhere. Just remember your topping has to cook, without burning, in 15 minutes. But keep a rein on things. Don’t go dreaming of pineapple chunks…

Fried onions, oregano and mozzarella cheese (for purists)

Potato, onion and taleggio cheese (partially cook and finely slice the potatoes)

Spinach, courgettes, ricotta and Parmesan cheese

Roast pumpkin, spinach and fontina cheese

Prosciutto, goat’s cheese and figs

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