One thing, of many, that I aspire to change about myself is my reliance on store-bought breads. I mean really, unless you are lucky enough to have an amazing artisan bread shop in your neck of the woods, the stuff at most grocery stores is barely worth eating. I have plans, though, big plans!
I mention this as a somewhat guilt-ridden disclaimer about the pizza dough that I use on a regular basis: I don’t make it myself. I should. I really should. But right now, I don’t. And frankly, I don’t think the final product suffers all that much because of it. Could it be better? Of course. But it’s a far cry from Boboli (bleh). For a while I used raw dough from my local grocery store but found that it was very inconsistent and I had no idea how many times it had been frozen, thawed and refrozen – getting bad dough puts the hassle back in what is supposed to be a hassle-free workaround.
To the rescue: My Local Pizza Joint. I have a pizzeria 5 minutes from my house that is awesome enough to sell their dough to the public and at a very reasonable price. It is almost always made that day and is utterly consistent. Now, it won’t win any “dough character” awards but it is a tasty and reliable workhorse on pizza nights at our house. Give it a try if you haven’t already (there is only a little shame in it). Call up your local pizza joint and ask if they can hook you up. Who knows, you might never end up getting around to making your own!
Speaking of phoning it in, it’s unfortunate that so many pizzas fall into the uninspired convenience food category. We have one pizzeria that we can call at a moment’s notice and get a pretty inspired pie but at the nauseating cost of nearly $30/pie! That is why when we are in the mood for really good pizza, not just the fill-your-belly-for-cheap-kind, we make it ourselves.
Making your our pizza removes the constraints of your local pizzeria’s 15 or so topping (that have inevitably been chosen for their mass appeal) and limits your creativity only by what you have in your house and are daring enough to put together.
This pizza is a version of my absolute favorite: Gorgonzola and grapes with caramelized onion. Since we had no grapes lying around, I substituted ripe pears and was not disappointed in the least. The flavor concept is pretty simple; it’s a play on salty/savory and sweet. Salty and pungent Gorgonzola gets complimented by the sweet and earthy caramelized onions, while the pears provide balancing acidity and some additional sweetness. It may seem a bit odd to think about, but once you taste it you will immediately understand. It’s so, so good.
LET’S GET STARTED
Preheat your oven to its highest setting (500-600F in the case of most residential ovens) with your baking stone in it. If you don’t have a baking stone, get one, but in the meantime, a baking sheet will do.
Start by stretching out your dough. You will get a better product if you do this carefully and patiently by hand instead of rolling it out. Seriously, that rolling pin squeezes the life out of your dough. Be sure to stretch it out until it is quite thin, as it will rise considerably when cooked.
Once your dough is stretched to your liking, lay it down onto a piece of parchment paper, then use scissors to trim the paper into a circle about 1 inch wider that the dough. No, the paper won’t burn in the oven and it make FAR less mess than using corn meal. Use this trick and I guarantee you won’t go back!
Add several large globs of caramelized onions (that you made using this recipe) to the dough and carefully spread them out (I find the backside of a large spoon does a good job at this) almost up to the edge of the dough. They will serve as the “sauce” for this pizza.
Sprinkle on a generous amount of crumbled Gorgonzola cheese.
Add sliced, ripe pears.
Sprinkle on some fresh, minced rosemary.
Carefully transfer the assembled pizza onto your baking stone or baking sheet. A pizza peel helps quite a bit with this, but in absence of one, and upside down baking sheet will work just fine.
Bake the pizza until the crust has risen and is browning and the cheese is bubbling and has started to brown some. This might be anywhere from 5-15 minutes depending on your oven’s max. temp.
The finished product should look something like this:
Allow the pie to cool a bit and the cheese to firm back up some, then slice, serve and enjoy!
- 1 ball of pizza dough
- approx. ¾ cup caramelized onions
- approx. ¾ cup Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
- 1 ripe pear, peeled and sliced
- 1 teaspoon rosemary, minced
- Preheat oven to its max. temp.
- Stretch out dough very thin and lay onto parchment paper. Trim the edges into a circle about 1 inch wider than the dough.
- Spread the onions onto the dough with the backside of a large spoon almost up to the edge of the dough.
- Sprinkle on the cheese, distribute the pear slices evenly, and sprinkle on the rosemary.
- Bake for 5-15 minutes (depending on your oven) or until the crust has risen slightly, is browning and the cheese is bubbly and just beginning to brown slightly.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before cutting and serving.