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Friday, October 11, 2013

Pear & Gorgonzola Pizza

I'm really into combining sweet and savory ingredients, even when it comes to pizza.  These combinations are popping up everywhere and I absolutely love a fun, gourmet pizza.  So, ditch the tomato sauce for a night and give this sweet, salty, taste bud tingling delight a chance! 

Step 1: Start with Pizza Dough.  My go to recipe is Ina's (of course).  Perfectly fluffy and pillowy dough, rolls out nice and thin and keeps in the fridge for a few days.  Can't go wrong with that.  If you're short on time, pick up some dough from your fav pizza place.

Full recipe found here:

For the dough:
1 1/4 cups warm (100 to 110 degrees) water
2 packages dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons olive oil (I add more like 4)
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
Kosher salt

*This recipe makes 4 thin pizzas.  Make the whole batch and freeze the rest. 


Mix the dough: Combine the water, yeast, honey and 3 tablespoons of olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. When the yeast is dissolved, add 3 cups of flour, then 2 teaspoons salt, and mix on medium-low speed. While mixing, add up to 1 more cup of flour, or just enough to make a soft dough. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until smooth, sprinkling it with the flour as necessary to keep it from sticking to the bowl.

Knead by hand: When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured board and knead it by hand a dozen times. It should be smooth and elastic.

Let it rise: Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and turn it to cover it lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Step 2: While the dough is rising, get all of your other ingredients together: 

- Fig Preserve or Jam - I find this by the speciality cheeses at most grocery stores and always have a few on hand.  It's amazing on this pizza and great for a cheese plate or even on toast.
- Pear - you'll need 1 for this pizza
- Brie Cheese
- Gorgonzola or Blue Cheese - I like Gorgonzola on this since it's less pungent
- Honey
- Basil
- Caramalized Onions or Shallots *
- Fleur de Sel Salt

How I caramelize Onions:

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a small pan.  Thinly slice 1/2 of a larger white onion or 1 medium sized onion.  Reduce the heat to low and slowly toss the onions, coating them in the butter.  Add a pinch of kosher salt and 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of sugar.  Stir occasionally.  This should take around 15-20 minutes.  Towards the end, as they are turning golden brown, watch closely because it will burn in a matter of seconds.  Let cool and set aside.

I make this pizza in our convection toaster oven on the pizza plate that it comes with.  If you don't have a convection oven, make sure your regular oven is super clean and pre-heat to 500 degrees.  If you are unsure of how clean it is, it will bake just fine at 450 -  it just won't be as crispy.

Step 3: Assesmbling:

Roll out 1/4 of your dough into a 12-14" circular shape to fit onto your pan.  You want this to be pretty thin.  This flavor combination tastes best on a thin crust.  Your pizza will taste delicious no matter what shape, so if it's a rectangle or square or jagged oval, don't worry about it!

- Spread a thin layer of fig preserve all the way to the edge (I use 1-2 tablespoons)
- Thinly slice your brie cheese.  Place a few slices all over the pizza.  A little bit goes a long way here.  Most brie comes in 8 oz packages and I used about 1/6th of the package for the whole pizza
- Thinly slice your pear and arrange in concentric circles on top of the Brie
- Spread the caramelized onions all over the pears
- Sprinkle gorgonzola cheese all over the top.  Be as generous as you'd like

Step 4: Bake at 450 for 10-12 minutes or 500 for 8-9 minutes

As soon as it come out of the oven, drizzle a thin stream of honey all over (pick something that isn't overly floral in taste).  Sprinkle some chopped or hand torn basil and then finish it off with a little pinch of fluer de del salt.  The briny finishing salt helps balance out the sweetness of this pizza.

Step 5: Slice, Serve and ENJOY!!!!

This pizza pairs really well with a spinach, arugula or dark green salad tossed in a balsamic dressing or other acidic dressing.

You'll love serving this deliciously stylish food for family, friends for any occasion!

Happy Cooking and Happy Styling!