This pizza was an almost complete failure. I say “almost,” because it actually tasted really good. The flavors mingled perfectly: tomato, mozzarella, basil, and eggplant. What could be better? The problem was that the dough would not cook all the way through and it remained so soggy, I couldn’t really pick up a piece of pizza with my hands. I ate it in forkfuls. Tasty, soggy, forkfuls.
I thought I had taken all of the necessary soggy-avoiding measures. I salted the eggplant and let it sit for 30 minutes, blotted out the moisture with a paper towel and repeated for another 30 minutes followed by more blotting.
I let the dough warm to room temperature before spreading it out on a floured surface. I even tossed it in the air like they used to at Lombardi’s when I was growing up. I put the tomato sauce on sparingly. I used organic tomato and basil tomato sauce made by Classico.
I chopped up the heirloom tomatoes and squeezed out the excess liquid. Then I added them to the pizza.
Then I added the chopped, drained eggplant.
Then I added the fresh basil.
And then, I added thick slices of fresh mozzarella.
The directions on the dough package said to pre-heat the oven to 450˚F and bake for 9-12 minutes. I thought that sounded rather short, but then I did think that the cheese might start to burn at 450˚F if I left it in much longer than that.
When I took the pizza out of the oven it looked great, but the center was not only mushy, but the dough was still raw.
I put it back in for another 5 minutes and now the outer edges were better and the middle wasn’t exactly raw, but it was still soggy. I ate a few bites and put it back in the oven for even more time. Still mushy after 5 more minutes.
What went wrong?
Is a pre-heated pizza stone a real necessity here?
Did I need to squeeze out even more excess moisture from the fresh eggplant and fresh tomatoes?
Did I need to plan on much more time in the oven? Would a lower temperature (like 400˚F) have worked?
Should I have used the convection setting on my oven?
I appreciate any comments and will continue my research and get back to you.