Middle Eastern Pizza with Za’atar, Pine Nuts and Olive Oil

The first time I made this seductive pizza, I came very close to eating the whole thing. More of a snack than a meal, it’s essentially a very good flavored bread. Za’atar is the Arabic name for an irresistible seasoning mix of toasted sesame seeds, lemony sumac and oregano that’s popular all over the Middle East. Combined with olive oil, it makes the topping of choice for “plain” pizza in countries such as Lebanon, Palestine and Israel. (This herb mix also does wonders for grilled chicken and fish.) Find Za’atar in Middle Eastern groceries and in the spice department of many supermarkets. Check the ingredients; if it doesn’t include salt, then add a sprinkling to your pizza.

The dough for this herb-flavored pizza is prepared and baked immediately; there is no need to freeze the crust first as it puffs and stays crisp under such a light topping.



Heat the oven to 450°F, heating a baking sheet at the same time. Make Quick Pizza Crust dough and transfer to a decorating bag, as directed. Have ready two sheets of baking parchment, and draw a 9-inch circle on each one. Pipe open spirals inside the circles, using half of the dough for each. Smooth out to 1/4-inch thick or less with a rubber spatula, making the rims a little thicker. (Or make 8-inch diameter circles, hold back 1/3 of the dough, and pipe out rims).

Slide the pizzas and parchment onto the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes until pale gold. Remove from the oven (Slide each parchment onto a pizza peel or the back of a cake pan), brush with olive oil, and sprinkle with Za’atar and a teaspoon of pine nuts. Return both pizzas to the oven and bake for a further 8 minutes, until deep gold. Brush the rims lightly with olive oil before slicing, and serve hot.

Recipes © copyright 2012 by Jacqueline Mallorca

The author of more than a dozen cookbooks, Jackie Mallorca’s most recent titles include The Wheat-Free Cook: Gluten-Free Recipes for Everyone and Gluten-Free Italian.