Monday, December 5, 2011

Autumn Apple Pizza with Whole Wheat Crust-- SWOON!

I wanted to wait until after the Thanksgiving Carnage before sharing this recipe for one of the best pizzas I have ever eaten.  This is a very high compliment, because (gasp) I'm really not a huge fan of pizza-- unless you're talking Margherita Pizza.  Then, you have my full attention.  I much prefer a brush of olive oil (or basil pesto) on my pizza crust over red pizza sauce.  

I had just bought some locally grown, organic Fuji apples.  When I spotted this recipe on "How Sweet It Is" food blog, I realized I had all of the ingredients that I needed to make this pizza recipe.  My husband loves bacon. I love caramelized onion and we love  Gouda cheese. That means, I usually keep some on hand.  We have a sage plant in our herb garden.  It took a nano-second for me set my sights on making this for dinner.

Jessica also shared her recipe for a whole wheat pizza dough. I confess, that I was a bit skeptical, at first.  I have a pizza dough recipe that I really like, but I wanted to try the whole wheat route.  To those of you who are scared of working with yeast-- relax! It's not that hard.  I keep a jar of Fleischmann's Bread Machine yeast in my refrigerator.  I make sure that the yeast isn't expired. 

Just remember that yeast need moisture, food and warmth to grow. In this recipe, you need warm water (no hotter than 105F), honey and you add the yeast. Set it aside for 10-15 minutes. Measure 1 cup of whole wheat and 3/4 cup flour. NOTE: I use King Arthur Unbleached Flour, of course.

 Unless you shop at King Arthur Flour's website as much as I do, you probably don't have their Pizza Dough Flavor.  I love it!  Don't sweat it, if you don't. It's just an extra "perk" to the recipe. I added that to my pre-measured flour.

TIP: Preheat your oven to WARM for a few minutes, then turn it off.  This will set up an "incubator" for the dough to rise much faster-- like almost twice as fast!

So, 10 minutes later, the yeast is alive!  Dump in the flour.  If you have a stand mixer, with a dough hook, this will be super easy to do.  You could use a bread machine, as well. (Otherwise, you can use elbow grease and do this by hand.)

I simply turned on my dough hook, and let it mix everything together. At first, the dough seemed a little too sticky, so I added 1 Tablespoon more of unbleached flour....then one more. Perfect! This took about 5 minutes to accomplish.

Grease a bowl with olive oil.  Of course, I use a plastic dough bucket, because I collect gadgets. Just roll the dough so it coats with the oil.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set into the lightly warmed oven.  Of course, you can just cover the bowl with a clean cloth, and wait for 1-1/2 hours.

Cut five pieces of bacon into squares. I chose to cook mine in a cast-iron skillet; you can "nuke" them on a paper towel, but I wanted to go for "slightly crisp".

Slice one onion and sprinkle a little kosher salt. Cook with a teensie bit of olive oil, while the bacon is cooking.

PIZZA BAKING TIPS:  Ever wonder why you have soggy pizza crust?  I solved the problem by investing in a pizza stone.  I preheat my stone so that when I slide my pizza onto it, the dough immediately begins to bake.  Don't have a pizza stone? You can preheat a baking sheet and get a similar effect.  Parchment paper really helps, too.  

45 minutes later...  the dough has risen beautifully! Whoo-hoo!

On a piece of parchment paper, set on top of the reverse side of a baking sheet?  Now, why would I do that? Aha!  You see, I don't have a pizza peel yet-- you'll understand in a moment. I like to use corn meal instead of flour.  This dough was so easy to work with, that I used my hands to shape it into a circle. I barely had to use a rolling pin!

 Slice an apple fairly thin...

The onions are lightly caramelized (about 15 minutes)...

Brush the pizza dough, lightly, with olive oil.  Sprinkle with nutmeg.  Add a layer of apple, then some Gouda cheese...then the caramelized onion.

...and add the bacon.

Add more cheese, more apples...and garnish with fresh sage.

The oven and pizza stone is preheatedt 375F and I'm really thinking this is going to be a great pizza.

I simply pull out the baking rack, slightly tip the inverted baking sheet with the pizza on the parchment paper (and hold my breath).... and it's on the baking stone! Whew!

25 minutes later, the aroma in my kitchen was making me really hungry.  I carefully grabbed a corner of the parchment paper (with tongs) and pulled it back on to my inverted baking sheet.  There!

The crust is baked beautifully.  The cheese is bubbly.  It's hard to wait a few minutes, before cutting.

VERDICT:   I love Gouda cheese.  My first bite was all about the caramelized onion, the gooey cheese, the saltiness of the bacon with a sweet bite of apple.  Wow!  The pizza crust is fabulous.  You don't realize you're eating whole wheat, because it doesn't have a gritty texture.  All of the flavors work well together.   I wanted to kiss Jessica.  The pizza crust is going to become my own go-to, from now on.  While editing these photos, I craved this pizza all over again. Oh, yes, I'll make this one again.  Very soon. Like this week. For real.

I really love "gourmet pizzas" that are a little outside of the standard pizza box.  Like Tyler Florence's Bacon, Potato, Rosemary and Fontina Pizza. That's another really good one.

You want this pizza.  You want this pizza crust.  So, here's the printable recipe.   Go visit "How Sweet It Is".  Jessica is funny, a great photographer, sometimes naughty with sweets and she loves bacon.  This pizza is her brainchild, and I love her for it.

A printable recipe card is at the end of this post.


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bellini said...

This does take pizza to a whole new level Debby, a road that I am ready and willing to travel.

Susan said...

This would be so good for a change.

Lynn said...

This sounds delicious, I'm not a great pizza fan either but this is completely different than "normal" pizza and I will for sure be making this! The thought of these flavours together makes my mouth water!! Thanks for sharing:-)

Jay said...

wow...sounds scrumptiously tasty..
first time your space..
excellent recipe collection with interesting presentation..
Am your happy follower now..;)
do stop by mine sometime..
Tasty Appetite

Katie@Cozydelicious said...

This pizza looks amazing! I love the sweet and salty combo. And I have a ton of apples, so this is perfect!

Joanne said...

I made a super similar pizza last year with brie and sausage instead of gouda and good. I imagine this is just as good, if not better!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Ow wow - I would never have thought of apples for pizza, but I can see the combo looks fantastic.

Mitchelle Adams said...

Wow. that looks delicious! Hope I can taste a pizza like that ;OO

SnoWhite said...

This pizza crust does look wonderful, and the pizza too! Thanks so much for sharing it with us today.

LadyJayPee said...

That looks delish! I'm with you...liking the "white" pizzas vs the red-sauced ones (though I wouldn't turn down either). I recently made a sliced pear pizza with gorgonzola that was very good. (I'd add pine nuts next time.) And a pizza with ultra-thinly-sliced garnet yams, fresh basil & pine nuts. I'd like to try yours next with our home-grown apples.

Maranda said...

Oh my! There is absolutely nothing on this pie that I don't love! And that's one of my favorite flavor combos! YUM!!

Sam Said said...

Certainly a feast for the eyes!! you're a passionate cook. Thanks for sharing.