Food & drink
Celebrate International Pizza Day with Gozo’s very own Gozitan pizza
Where to get it, and how to make your own!

Joanna Demarco

International pizza day celebrates two things. Firstly, the global and unifying love of both making and eating pizza. Secondly, the individuality and diversity of pizza existing in an array of forms. Our beloved Gozitan pizza - reportedly over a century old - with its tasty folded crust and potato topping, yet its clear linkage to the typical pizza - celebrates both.

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According to Maltese cuisine enthusiast Marlene Zammit from A Maltese Mouthful, what differentiates the Gozitan ftira is the dough made to create the base - traditional sourdough - which is flattened to create more of ‘pizza-base-like’ surface. A signature ingredient atop the Gozitan pizza is sliced potato. Other ingredients, although found on other pizzas, specifically brought together on this one include anchovies, capers, olives, eggs, gbejniet and sometimes, Maltese sausage.

Today, although also available in a handful of places around Malta, Gozitan pizza is primarily found in Gozo’s bakeries. Mekren, Maxokk and Ta’Pietra Bakery in Nadur are among the local favourite options where you can get this special pizza.

Try your hand at making your own!

You can also try making it yourself at home, using this recipe provided by Marlene from A Maltese Moutful.

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For the dough:

600g bread flour, 3 tsp yeast, 2 tsp salt, 1½ tsp sugar, 6 tbsp olive oil, 320ml warm water

Toppings (option 1):

2 large sliced tomatoes (2 large), a small tin of anchovies, 3 sliced boiled potatoes, black olives sliced (about 10), 2 cloves sliced garlic, chopped basil, salt and pepper, olive oil. Other options can include sliced onions, capers, other herbs as you wish.

Toppings (option 2):

3 fresh gbejniet (or ricotta), 1 lightly beaten egg, 3 sliced boiled potatoes, caramelised onions (made using 2 sliced onions fried for 20 min, then add 2 tbsp brown sugar, 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar. Fry for a further 10 min), rosemary (fresh or dried), salt and pepper, olive oil. Other options are parmesan cheese, sliced garlic and sliced Maltese sausage.

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Prepare the dough first. Place all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix. Mix together the water and oil, and slowly add to the dry mixture, mixing as you go along. You should end up with a soft dough which you can start to knead. Knead the dough on a flat surface for about ten minutes until the dough is smooth. You can either leave in a covered bowl in a warm area for at least three hours, or once left outside you can then cover in cling film and place in the fridge overnight.

Once the dough is ready, cut into four equal size pieces. Preheat oven to 200°C, and place some flour on a flat surface. With a rolling pin, roll out in the shape of your tray (I used a small rectangular tray). Roll the dough larger than your tray as the dough tends to spring back once placed on the tray. In your tray add some olive oil and sprinkle some semolina on top. Place the dough onto your oiled tray. Spread some olive oil onto your ftira.

For topping 1:

Lightly crush a few tomato slices and spread on your ftiraAdd all the other ingredients, but add the potatoes last. Finally, add some salt and pepper.

For topping 2:

Mix together your cheese and eggs. Place some oil on your ftira and then add the cheese and egg mixture. Add your caramelised onions and then top with potatoes. Add the rosemary, and salt and pepper. Fold the edges of your ftira a little to give a more rustic effect. Place your ftira in the oven for about 20 minutes, until the edges of the dough look golden brown. Serve immediately.

... and, obviously, enjoy!

9th February 2019

Joanna Demarco
Written by
Joanna Demarco

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