By 11 A.M., people in Havana have begun to gather in front of the outdoor pizza stand of Juan Carlos and his daughter Olga Lidia. The tantalizing aroma of hot fresh pizza draws hungry apartment dwellers from a nearby complex. The pizza craze in Cuba, as Juan Carlos explains, began in the 1950s with the opening in Havana of Montecatini, a pizza parlor named after the famous Italian resort city. For Juan Carlos, who was a teenager at the time, going to Montecatini was a great treat. He began to help out at the pizza parlor and learned how to make his new favorite food. “Pizza,” he says, “is the perfect snack food for people on the go, delicious, economical, and quick enough to make fresh to order. Once you have the base, the only limit to the kinds of pizza you can make is your own imagination.”
In her small, simple kitchen set-up, Olga makes individual crisp, thin-crusted pies to order. The choices today are chorizo, onion, and cheese; ham, onion, and cheese; or plain cheese. As they are ready, she grips the edges of the piping-hot pizzas with small sheets of brown butcher paper and hands them to the waiting customers. The customers, in turn, fold their pizzas in half like a turnover and walk off eating them out of hand.
Make the dough: In a small bowl, combine the yeast with the sugar and
Generously oil 4 to 6 metal pie pans,
Top the pizzas:
© 2006 All rights reserved. Published by Abrams Books.