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Author Notes: For more photos and recipe notes, visit Cardamom and Tea. Lahm bi ajeen is usually described as Middle Eastern meat pizza, but there are some ways that the comparison doesn't begin to do justice to lahm bi ajeen's unique flavor. Pomegranate molasses is the true star of this recipe. This recipe is adapted from Kris Khoury's. —Kathryn Pauline
teaspoons active dry yeast
cups room temperature water, divided into 1 cup and 1/2 cup
ounces (2 cups) all purpose flour
ounces (1 cup) 00 flour (or substitute additional all purpose flour)
- Proof the active dry yeast with the sugar and 1 cup of the water until the water looks a little foamy on top (about 5-10 minutes).
- Add the all purpose flour, 00 flour, and salt to a bowl (the bowl of a stand mixer, if you plan to knead by machine).
- Add the water/yeast/sugar mixture and stir until the dough starts to come together into a dry, shaggy mess.
- Gradually add a little of the remaining 1/2 cup of water at a time, about 1 tablespoon at a time, until the whole thing comes into a dough ball. Do not use all of the water, unless you need it. If you use too much water, compensate with a little more flour; likewise, if the dough looks too dry, add a little more water and let it sit for a few minutes to absorb. The dough ball should not be too sticky or dry (somewhere in between is best). It should look a tiny bit firmer than store-bought pizza dough.
- Knead until the dough ball passes the window pane test. It should come together into an elastic ball that has a smooth surface. Kneading should take about 5-15 minutes by machine with a dough hook, or 10-20 minutes by hand. Pay more attention to the dough's consistency than the time you've spent kneading.
- Place the dough in a bowl, cover it, and let it sit at room temperature for 20 minutes, and then in the refrigerator overnight. If you don't have time to wait overnight, you can let it rise at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours (resting it in the refrigerator will help it develop a better flavor and texture).
Topping and Baking
ounces lean, ground beef
tablespoons pomegranate paste/molasses
tablespoons tomato paste
cup chopped parsley, loosely packed
small onion, minced
teaspoon ground black pepper
Flour for sprinkling
Semolina or cornmeal, for sprinkling
- Lightly flour a clean, food-safe work surface, divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, and shape each chunk into a round ball.
- Place a pizza stone (or sheet pan) on the oven floor, move the oven racks up and out of the way, so you can easily access the pizza stone, and pre-heat the oven to 500° F.
- Roll each dough ball into a circle, about 1/8 inch thick. This is very thin, but not paper-thin (see above photos). Separate the pieces with wax paper and let them rise for about 25 minutes.
- Divide the ground meat mixture into about 8 equal pieces.
- Sprinkle a pizza peel (or rimless sheet pan) with a tablespoon or two of semolina or cornmeal.
- Place a rolled-out disc of dough on the semolina/cornmeal.
- Put one of the pieces of meat on top of the dough disc. Work the meat into a thin, even layer over the dough, so that it doesn’t separate from the crust and shrink to the center as it cooks. Sprinkle with a little additional salt, if you'd like.
- Once the oven has preheated, use a quick motion to move the pie from the pizza peel onto the pizza stone. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the meat starts to brown and the bread is cooked through and starting to char.
- Repeat with the remaining 7 pies.