Just like most other restaurants and cafes up and down the country, the doors to all Pizza Express locations have been shut for some time now due to the coronavirus lockdown. But thankfully that doesn’t mean we have to go without restaurant-quality food, as many chain restaurants (including Pret and McDonald’s) have been releasing previously secret recipes for iconic dishes, with Pizza Express being no exception to the trend.
Starting with its famous dough balls recipe, the Italian chain have since also released the recipe to recreate its Margherita pizza and a stuffed version of the dough balls, too.
But now it’s really kicking things up a notch, with the release of the recipe for the Fiorentina pizza. Somewhat controversial for some people due to the cracked egg on top, for others it’s a classic favourite that they can’t wait to recreate in their own kitchen.
Pizza Express took to social media to tease the release of the egg and olive-laden pizza recipe, saying: ‘Just when you thought things couldn’t get any wilder. Some people find an egg on a pizza a little controversial, what do you think? Thousands of people voted for this one, so this Sundays #HomemadeFavourites recipe will be…The Fiorentina!’
To create the delicious pizza from scratch, you’ll first need to follow the top-secret-until-now Margherita pizza recipe, which you can find below. However, if you’re short on time, you can also achieve great results by using a ready-made Pizza Express Margherita pizza (available in most major supermarkets) and adding the toppings to that. Scroll down for both recipes.
Pizza Express Fiorentina recipe (from a Pizza Express Margherita Base)
MAKES: 1 CLASSIC PIZZA
PREP TIME: 10 MINS
COOK TIME: 10-11 MINS
1 Pizza Express Margherita pizza
Handful of cooked or blanched spinach
7g of Parmesan cheese (if you have it)
6-7 olives (black work best)
Pinch of oregano
Pinch of black pepper
Drizzle of garlic oil (olive oil will do also)
- Preheat your oven to 180°C.
- Open your Pizza Express retail margherita pizza.
- Place on to your baking tray.
- Remove a small amount of cheese from the middle of the pizza to make a circular space for your egg.
- Place black olives around the edges of your pizza base.
- Place spinach around the pizza leaving the middle empty for your egg.
- Season with oregano and black pepper.
- Sprinkle some garlic oil over the top.
- Crack the egg in the middle of the pizza. Tip: For a perfectly cooked yolk, sprinkle some olive oil over the egg before cooking. If you prefer it well done, break the yolk before placing the pizza into the oven.
- Bake in the oven at 180 degrees for 10-11 mins (keeping a close eye on your pizza to get a perfectly cooked egg).
- Finish with some grated Parmesan cheese (if you have it).
Pizza Express Margherita recipe
MAKES: 1 LARGE PIZZA
PREP TIME: 40 MINS
COOK TIME: 10-12 MINS
150ml warm water (roughly 27 degrees)
1 tsp of sugar
15g fresh yeast or 2 level tsp of dry yeast
225g of plain our (plus extra for working)
1 and 1/2 tsp of salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil & a little for drizzling
80g of Pizza Express passata (or any tomato passata you have)
70g mozzarella (or any cheese you have)
Pinch of oregano
1 basil leaf (if you have one)
- Preheat the oven to 230°C.
- Add the sugar and crumble the fresh yeast into warm water.
- Allow the mixture to stand for 10-15 minutes in a warm place (we find a windowsill on a sunny day works best) until froth develops on the surface.
- Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl, make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast mixture and olive oil.
- Lightly flour your hands, and slowly mix the ingredients together until they bind.
- Generously dust your surface with flour.
- Throw down the dough and begin kneading for 10 minutes until smooth, silky and soft.
- Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film or a towel. Leave to rest until soft to the touch, but not too springy – about 15 mins.
- On a well floured surface, evenly roll each piece with a rolling pin to make a round, thin pizza base.
- Place on a lightly oiled, non-stick baking tray (we used a round one, but any shape will do!).
- Spread the passata on top making sure you almost go to the edge.
- Evenly place the mozzarella (or other cheese) on top and season with the oregano and black pepper then drizzle with a little olive oil.
- Cook in the oven for 10 – 12 miutes until the cheese slightly colours. When ready, place the basil leaf on top if you have one.