Want an adorable Valentine’s Day activity to do with your kids over the next week? Make-your-own Heart Shaped Pizza with a great recipe that Asya Geller with our sister site, Greenwich Moms and her husband Mike Geller of Mike’s Organics are sharing. “My wife and kids love pizza, so we have a tradition of making heart shaped pizzas for Valentine’s Day. We have such a fun time making them, and even more fun eating the pizzas,” says Mike.
- Cutting board and knife
- Cheese grater
- Prep bowls for toppings
- Rolling Pin (little ones for little hands are fun!)
- Pizza pans or large rimmed baking sheet(s)
- Pizza Cutter
- Serving platter or board
- 1 (14- to 16-ounce) ball pizza dough made ahead of time and left out to soften (Use Roberta’s Recipe or we highly recommend using store-bought dough to simplify – our favorite is Trader Joes.
- 1½ cups marinara sauce
- 6 ounces cheese – mozzarella, Jack, Colby, or cheddar cheese, grated
- Toppings of your choice – the more colors the more fun – sliced bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, roasted red peppers; blanched broccoli or cauliflower florets; chopped artichokes, cooked bacon, cooked chicken; sausage; sliced pepperoni or other cured meats or vegetables)
- Extra-virgin olive oil
TOPPING PREP – BEFORE YOU START:
- Chop all toppings – kids bite sizes in individual bowls
- Heart Shaped Pepperoni – Fold a pepperoni slice in half and use a pair of kitchen shears to trim the edges into the shape of half of a heart. (When you unfold the pepperoni slice, it will be a whole heart.)
INSTRUCTIONS FOR PIZZA
- Preheat the oven to 500°F.
- Line baking sheets with parchment paper or grease with a little olive oil.
- Making the Heart Shape:
- If you are making individual pizzas, divide the dough into separate balls.
- Roll the dough on a lightly-floured surface into the shape of a heart, then turn the edges over to form the crust. Brush with olive oil, then dock the crust with a fork to prevent bubbles from forming.
- OR – Use a pair of kitchen shears or a paring knife to cut the pizza dough into the shape of a large heart, discarding the dough scraps.
- Blind Bake the Dough – Baking blind (sometimes called pre-baking) is the process of baking dough without the filling – making it more sturdy before adding the toppings.
- Add the Pizza Sauce – two or three spoonfuls of sauce is plenty for individual pizzas, spread it out evenly and leave room around for the crust
- Add Toppings – add as you want to your pizza – encourage your kids to grab pinches or spoonfuls rather than handfuls of toppings to avoid the crust being flimsy and wet in the middle
- Bake Again – return to the oven and bake for 8-15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown, the cheese begins to brown in spots, and the pepperoni is crispy.
- Let Cool – Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.
- Slice the Pizza – Just like a regular round pizza, we typically slice heart shaped pizza into triangles… even if they aren’t perfect.
TIPS TO HELP YOU
LET THE DOUGH COME TO ROOM TEMP SO IT’S EASY FOR LITTLE HANDS TO HANDLE
Let it sit on the counter for 1 to 2 hours until ideally it is at room temperature. This makes the dough much more elastic and forgiving to little hands.
CHOOSE A VARIETY OF TOPPINGS AND PREP THEM AHEAD OF TIME
The more colorful the better. If your kids are older, or if you have kid-size safety knives*, let them help you prep the toppings while the oven preheats.
ENCOURAGE CREATIVITY (DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE MESS)
Remember: the pizza will likely not be perfect heart shapes, but it’s all about the fun experience together!