Having a husband who's sometimes pickier about his food that my children means that pizza is a staple in our diet, something that we eat a few times a month.
Most of the time, I like to make ours from scratch. I like the experience of kneading and stretching the dough by hand. I love baking the pizza to a perfect crisp on a baking stone. The base of any good pizza is definitely the dough.
Most of all, though, I love being able to get creative with the toppings. After you create the perfect crust, the toppings are what make it something special. Many a night, our toppings are simply a good sauce topped with melty, stringy mozzarella and perhaps some fragrant fresh basil. Remember, I live in the land of picky eaters. I love a classic plain pizza but sometimes I need to jazz things up.
There are a few rare nights when I have the kitchen to myself. Oh, and on those nights, glorious pizza toppings appear. Crusty pizza topped with herbs, cured meats, crisp vegetables and as my husband says, "funky cheese." For him, anything other than mozzarella enters the realm of "funky."
For this pizza, I topped the perfect crust with balsamic caramelized onions the meld perfectly with the sweetness of the pears while the savory, creamy goat cheese brings it all together to make this pizza far from boring. My husband certainly turned his nose up at it. Fruit on a pizza? Way outside his comfort zone and boy, did he miss out.
As for my girls, they inhaled it. I hope as they grow up they'll outgrow the pickiness that comes with toddlerhood and have my more adventurous palate. Watching them gobble up this grown-up pizza allowed me to catch a glimmer of their foodie futures and it looks bright. This pizza dough is the perfect balance of chewy inside while crisp outside.
Once topped with these exquisite toppings, this pizza becomes something extraordinary.
- 2 1/2-3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup water, warm
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 large yellow onions, halved and evenly sliced
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 pear, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup goat cheese
- salt, to taste
- black pepper, to taste
In a large bowl, whisk together 2 cups of flour, the yeast and salt. Whisk together the olive oil and water. Add the olive oil/water to the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture begins to come together.
Sprinkle 1/4 cup flour onto a work surface and begin to knead the dough. If necessary, add more flour 1/4 cup at a time until a soft, smooth dough is achieved and it will hold a fingertip impression when poked. You may not need to use all the flour to achieve the desired consistency. Do not add too much flour, as this will effect the final dough.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turning to lightly coat on all sides. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 1 - 1 1/2 hours.
While the dough is rising, preheat oven to 475°F with a baking stone in the center of the oven for at least 1 hour before baking.
In a large skillet set over medium heat, heat the olive oil.
Add the onions to the pan, stirring to coat. Continue stirring the onions every 5 minutes or so, being careful not to burn the onions.
Once the onions begin to turn a light brown, reduce the heat to low and continue to cook and stir the onions every few minutes.
Once the onions have softened and become a deep golden brown, add balsamic vinegar. Continue cooking until the vinegar has been absorbed and the onions have reached your desired color. Remove from heat and set aside.
On a lightly floured surface, press and stretch the pizza dough into a 12 to 14-inch circle then move it to a corneal dusted pizza peel.
Brush the pizza dough evenly with a bit of olive oil. Top with caramelized onions. Arrange the pear slices over the onions and scatter crumbled goat cheese over the top. Sprinkle with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Transfer the pizza to a hot baking stone. Bake the pizza 15-20 minutes until golden browned.