Mini Party Pizzas


I’d really like to tell you that this was a quick, fun and easy recipe that makes for a great snack to bring to parties or entertain with. But it wasn’t. It was really difficult and frustrating. Hopefully next time that won’t be the case with the experience and skills learned in the two or three hour-long process. I have a newfound respect for pizzas the size that they’re supposed to be. I’m always happy to put in some effort on food that’s being served to friends though, so if you share this value, then these baby pizza pies can be an impressive show of handiwork.

I know you’re probably thinking I could have used English muffins instead of making the dough from scratch. Pile them with sauce and cheese and stick them in the toaster for all it’s worth. But I already did that throughout grade school to make as afternoon snacks, so how boring would that be? No, I went and used a yeast pizza dough recipe. Hand-stretched, and cut into 4-inch or so circles with the top of the tomato can. The basic pizza dough recipe I used came from the Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook (12th Edition–the thing has more incarnations than a cat).

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Getting the hang of this (get it–hang?)

The reason I had so much trouble is really from all the time it took to make the individual rounds of dough. I didn’t have any surface large enough to cut more than four rounds at a time, and the leftover scraps after the circles were made had to be kneaded again, sometimes re-wetted, and re-rested for a few minutes. I went through this procedure maybe eight times. Also, make sure you don’t place the rounds of dough in a pile unless they’re very well-floured. I didn’t follow this and erased fifteen minutes of work after a pile of ten rounds became completely stuck to one another.

Mini Party Pizzas
(Makes 25-30 4-inch pizzas)

Pizza dough (recipe below)
About 3 cups of tomato sauce (my basic recipe below)
About 4-5 cups mozzarella, shredded or thinly sliced
Sprinkle of fresh herbs for garnish

Once your dough has been kneaded, separated into two balls, and has rested for a few minutes, take each ball and stretch it out carefully. Use the back of your hands mostly, and start with the middle. Then move along the edges and rotate the dough in the air with the back of your hands. Once the dough becomes almost paper-thin, being careful not to make any holes, place onto a large surface. Cut the dough into small circles using the top of a large can, cup or small bowl, and place onto a floured baking pan.

Top each pizza with a spoonful of tomato sauce and some cheese, and bake in a 400-degree oven for about ten minutes. You can usually hear the cheese when it starts to sizzle and bubble as an indicator. Top with some fresh herbs for garnish, and serve.

Pizza Dough
Recipe courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook, 12th Edition:
Makes 2 pan or thin-crust pizzas

2 3/4 to 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons cooking oil or olive oil

1. In a large mixing bowl combine 1 1/4 cups of the flour, the yeast, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; add warm water and oil. Beat with an electriv mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl. Beat on high speed 3 minutes. [I just stirred with a wooden spoon and it turned out okay —Ed.] Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.

2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (6-8 min. total). Divide dough in half. Cover; let rest for 10 minutes. Use to make pan pizzas or thin-crust pizzas.

Basic Tomato Sauce
1 large can of whole peeled plum tomatoes
1 small can of tomato paste
1/2 cup finely diced onion
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 Tb olive oil
Pinch of crushed red pepper
Pinch of basil and/or oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

In a saucepan, sautee onions in oil until just turning translucent. Smush the tomatoes with your hands as you pour them into the pan along with all the juices in the can. Bring tomatoes to a boil. Add the tomato paste, garlic, and spices and lightly simmer covered for at least an hour. Taste for seasoning and adjust as desired.

Cost Calculator
(for 25-30 mini pizzas)

for the dough
Flour, yeast, salt: $0.30

for the sauce
can of whole peeled tomatoes: $1.69
can of tomato paste: $0.59
1/2 cup diced onion and 2 cloves garlic: $0.25
Olive oil, salt, pepper, spices: $0.10

4-5 cups shredded mozzarella: $2.50
Sprinkle of fresh herbs: $0.05

Total: $5.48

Health Factor

Four brownie points – pizza isn’t generally considered a health food, but that’s part of why it makes good party food. When you make things like sauce and dough from scratch, you know exactly what you’re getting nutritionally. The only thing I watch out for is the sodium content of canned tomatoes and tomato paste, which is usually very high. It doesn’t hurt to compare the content levels of a couple of brands in order to decide which one to buy.

10 Responses

  1. Laura

    My Mom always makes homemade pizza, and the way she taught me was to take the circle of dough, place it in the center of a round pan, and strech it out with your fingers, smoothing out lumps and patching holes as you go. It’s probably not the most authentic way of doing it but it only takes a few minutes (even for clumsy hands like mine) and gives decent results.Just make one large pie,and cut it up- or you could use a cookie sheet for a square ‘sicilian’ style pie.

  2. Yvo

    Wow, I’m really impressed. This is, however, exactly the reason I don’t bake or do anything that involves dough really. To me, it’s so precise, fussy, messy…. and I really don’t have the space to roll out anything like that. I’m truly amazed at your dedication though, and they look absolutely delicious.

    PS This is probably really weird of me, but I think we have the same stove!

  3. Aoife

    Would it have been easier to cut the dough into pieces and stretch each piece out into a small round? That might have cut down on some of the time spent rekneading.

  4. cathy

    Thanks for the suggestion–I actually tried making each piece individually at first, but they looked pretty sloppy and it was hard to get them as thin as I wanted without breaking (the dough is really elastic…). Exactly as you said, Yvo, precise, fussy, messy–definitely not for every day!

  5. Maike

    Wow, what a good idea! Actually, I took the “mini” Aspect a little further and so made BITE SIZE PIZZAS! Great for the kids, and so yummy! It was for my daughter’s 5th Birthday party. I wanted to give the kids a fun and happy party game, and so we did ” PIZZA MAKING!!” It was so fun! All the kids enjoyed it, and ate all of it up in the end. Not a single crumb left on any plate! Everyone should try it!

    Much better than supermarket pizzas!!

  6. Lea

    Thanks for the recipe. Used it yesterday at my son’s 3rd birthday party as I couldn’t find any ready made mini pizza without a whole lot of unwanted extras!
    As Aoife noted, I took the risen dough and cut into eight small pieces, flattened and used a glass to cut the circle. Ended up only rekneeding 3 or 4 times. Cheated on the sauce, and used goat milk mozarrella.
    Kids and adults loved them and I can’t believe how easy it was to put together! My husband liked them so much, I showed him this morning how to make the dough! Wonders never cease

  7. Shelly

    i love the recipe, it looks yummy

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    I am truly thankful to the holder of this web site who
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