HomeFood + WineIn the Kitchen with Crystal Jagger from Bally Pizza

In the Kitchen with Crystal Jagger from Bally Pizza

with Crystal Jagger from Bally Pizza

The most important lesson I learnt in the kitchen with Crystal Jagger is that sometimes the simplest dishes taste the best.
It’s fresh, high-quality, local ingredients that are the secret to great food, according to Crystal, who owns Balhannah’s Bally Pizza.
“I think that’s the most sustainable way to eat,” she says.
“Using local produce you’re reducing food miles, you’re more likely to be eating what’s in season.
“Instead of writing a meal plan for the week, go to the shops, see what’s on sale and work backwards.
“Using local then helps support the local economy – other local small businesses.
“But then also what you’re going to have is going to taste so much better.
“We’re so spoilt with all of the food and the produce in the Adelaide Hills.”
The wife of Masterchef star Callum Hann, Crystal comes from a family of “foodies” and is passionate about pizza – so much so, that she’s heading back to Italy this year to hone her skills.
“I think pizza makes people happy,” she says.
“Most countries have some kind of dough with topping on it, whether it’s pizza or not, it’s some form of that and I think it’s just such a beautiful, fun food.”

‘I think pizza makes people happy,’ says Crystal Jagger.


Crystal, who’s a mum of two and also has an organic pyjama business called Jagger Sleepwear, has a long history working in the Adelaide Hills hospitality scene – from Bird in Hand to The Lane and Artwine (where she incidentally first connected with her Masterchef hubby over a cheeseboard during a Crush wine festival event!).
But while she got her start in a more fast-food-style takeaway pizza joint as a teenager, it was experiencing Italian pizza in its birthplace that inspired her to bring that back with her to the Adelaide Hills.
“The first overseas trip Callum and I took together, part of it was going to Italy and we always said we’re going to have a little pizza shop one day because we just loved it so much.”
Since taking over Bally Pizza in 2021, Crystal has slowly begun transforming the menu, focusing on perfecting her pizza dough – which is fermented for 48 hours and hand-stretched – and adding homemade fresh sauces to move towards a traditional Neapolitan style pizza range, that includes a gourmet take on some modern Australian favourites – like pepperoni and ham and pineapple.
It’s her secret for a great pizza sauce that she shared with me at her Bridgewater home recently … and I was amazed at how such a simple recipe can make a pizza taste so good!
The key, according to Crystal, is to start with good quality Italian or Australian tomatoes – fresh or tinned, depending on the season.

Crystal Jagger


“A great pizza base is about really beautiful, sweet, ripe tomatoes,” she says.
“San Marzano are the ones that are, I guess, reputable because they’re a beautiful Italian tomato and they’re really sweet, so they have a lot of beautiful flavour.
“But really any good quality Italian or Australian tomato – tinned works because they’re good all year round.
“Now as we get later into summer, as tomatoes get really ripe and juicy, you can use fresh tomatoes.”
Add to that some salt flakes, a drizzle of good quality local olive oil and fresh basil and you have a base that is perfect for pizza or even pasta.
Crystal’s favourite additions are Adelaide Hills olives and anchovies, but once you have the base, she says your imagination is the limit!
And as for whether pineapple belongs on pizza? Well that, she says, is entirely up to you!
“At the end of the day you have to do what makes you happy,” she says.
“If it brings you joy then you just have to.
“In Italy, absolutely not, but in Australia – that’s the good thing about Australia is it’s a melting pot of cultures.
“And we’ve taken pizza and added a few things – good or bad – and if you want pineapple on your pizza, then you enjoy it – the most important thing is that you enjoy your pizza.
“Do I eat pineapple on a pizza? No. But do my kids? Yes! You’ve got to make sure everyone’s happy.”

Crystal’s Simple pizza base sauce

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