Pizza Foundation in Marfa

What makes a great pizza? I personally have several criteria for what makes a great pizza, and I’m pretty picky when it comes down to the basis of a perfect pizza pie.

It all starts with the dough. And it has to be made from scratch. For me, once cooked, the crust needs to be tender yet crisp – and not too thick. It needs a nice bit of char when you lift the pizza to peek underneath (often referred to as looking “under the skirt”).

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Peeking under the skirt before the first bite… it’s just right. Those are HIS fingers, by the way… I have dainty lady fingers 😊

The crust needs to be able to hold the pizza toppings without collapsing. I need a delicious, bright tomato sauce, creamy cheese, and just the right amount of toppings to get a taste of sausage or whatever I choose for a topping, in just about every bite.

The other day, my husband and I enjoyed a fantastic pizza that exceeded my criteria at the Pizza Foundation in Marfa. If you haven’t tried it, put it on your To Eat list now.

Our pizza - I get in trouble for sneaking jalapenos into the order when he wasn't listening. Next time, I'll just put them on MY half.Our pizza – before I placed the order, we’d agreed on sausage, onions and mushrooms for our toppings… my husband left the room, I went rogue, and jalapenos magically appeared.

Owners Saarin Keck and Ronnie O’Donnell met back in 1998 when they were just college kids, both working for some pretty well-known pizza restaurants in the Providence, Rhode Island area.

After years working for restaurants like Al Forno in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Saarin and Ronnie decided that they’d like to open their own pizza restaurant and work for themselves, so they moved down to far West Texas and gave it a go. Pizza Foundation opened in March of 2003 and has been cranking out great pizzas ever since.

Ronnie hand-strecthes every pizza dough.

Ronnie hand stretches every dough before dressing the pizza.

They weren’t alone when they made the move from Back East to Far West Texas – Saarin’s sister, Maiya Keck, was also in Marfa. Maiya owned Maiya’s Restaurant, and owns the Get Go grocery in Marfa – I could spend hours perusing all of the goods offered at the Get Go. But that’s a story for another time.

After many years at their original location where the Marfa Contemporary now sits, the new Pizza Foundation was built to Saarin and Ronnie’s specs. The big blue metal building at 305 S. Spring Street in Marfa is in a constant state of continuous improvement – a concept I truly appreciate.

They’ve recently added an ice cream cart to one corner of the restaurant, so in addition to beer, wine and tiramisu, you can enjoy ice cream treats with your pizza. Pizza and ice cream – two of my favorite food groups.

I’ve eaten Pizza Foundation’s pies many times since we moved to Fort Davis, and just now – like almost four years into life here – learned the trick… you have to order ahead. We ordered ahead, and visited with Saarin while we enjoyed our Big Bend Brewing Company beer while we waited for our delicious sausage and onion pizza. If only I’d saved room for that beautiful tiramisu I saw several other patrons enjoying.

Pizzas are 16 inches and start with sauce and cheese for $15.25. Then, add veggies for $1.00 each (or 75-cents for ½ the pizza) and meats, pineapple, fresh basil and fancy cheeses for $2.25 each (or $1.50 for ½ the pizza). Depending on the weight of the toppings, they suggest no more than three or four toppings, that way it doesn’t collapse when you pick it up. But I suppose you can always ask for a knife and fork to eat your pizza.

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No knife and fork for me – so much deliciousness, right here in my hand.< strong>Call ahead at (432)729-3377. You can specify the time you want to pick up your pizza, too. Check them out at pizzafoundation.com or find them on Facebook. They’re open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 1 p.m. until about 9 p.m.Plan ahead – you won’t regret it.

Easy Tiramisu
(since I didn’t get to eat any at Pizza Foundation!)

6 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1-1/4 cup mascarpone cheese – room temperature
1 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 – 7 oz. packages Italian Lady fingers
1 cup cold espresso or strong coffee
1/2 cup coffee flavored Liqueur optional
1 ounce cocoa, for dusting

Combine egg yolks and sugar in the top of a double boiler, over boiling water. Reduce heat to low, and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and whip yolks until thick and lemon-colored.

Add Mascarpone* to whipped yolks, beat until combined.

In a separate bowl, whip cream to stiff peaks.

Gently fold the whipped cream in the mascarpone mixture and set aside. The mascarpone does not have to be at room temperature, but it will help it mix in easier if it is.  Take it out of the refrigerator as you gather ingredients to make the recipe.

Mix the cold espresso with the coffee liquor, and dip the lady fingers into the mixture just long enough to get them wet, do not soak them.

Arrange the lady fingers in the bottom of a 9-inch square baking dish (or container similarly sized)

Spoon half the mascarpone cream filling over the lady fingers.

Repeat process with another layer of lady fingers

Add another layer of tiramisu cream. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

Dust with cocoa before serving.

*Note: If you can’t find mascarpone cheese, you can make it: 8 ounces full fat cream cheese, 1/4 cup whipping cream and 2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter… just whip until it’s just blended.

Printed with the permission of the Alpine Avalanche<<<<
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