Sunday, March 28, 2010

Pear, Prosciutto, and Goat Cheese Pizza

You might notice a few non-vegetarian dinners in the next few weeks.  I'm going to be trying to put some meat and seafood back in my cooking.  We'll see how this experiment goes.

Originally, I had planned on using a pre-made pizza crust to make this recipe, but when I got to the grocery store, I couldn't find any.  I know where the crusts were at before they moved into the new expanded space, but I'm at a complete loss as to where they're hiding in the new, magical, expanded, and wonderful store!  Rather than ask, I decided to try making my own pizza crust.  I'm glad I did as this one was delicious and not at all like a traditional pizza crust.  It is, however, time intensive to make this crust, so you have to plan ahead (or just use a pre-made one and then this becomes a remarkably quick and easy meal!).

I made the following changes to the recipe.  For the crust, I left out the fennel and used white flour instead of unbleached due to pantry constraints (when I couldn't find the crust at the store, I took a chance that I had everything I needed at home!).  I passed on the onion in the pizza, because while I love the taste of onion, I'm not too crazy about strips of onion on my pizza (yes, I'm weird).  Finally, I added some arugula to the pizza because I thought it needed some green.  The arugula taste was overpowered by the other ingredients, but I'm sure more greens can't be bad for me!

Pear, Prosciutto, and Goat Cheese Pizza (from love and olive oil)

3/4 cup warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast (from 1 envelope)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups (about) unbleached all purpose flour [I used white]
1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds [I skipped]
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 firm-ripe pear, halved, cored, and cut into thin slices
8 very thin prosciutto slices, torn into pieces
3 oz soft mild goat cheese, crumbled [I used some with herb seasonings]

1. To make crust, pour 3/4 cup water into large bowl. Sprinkle yeast over; stir to blend. Let stand 10 minutes to dissolve yeast. Add oil, salt, and herbs, then 1 1/2 cups flour. Stir until well blended (dough will be sticky). 2. Turn dough out onto generously floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, adding just enough flour to prevent dough from sticking, about 5 minutes (dough will be soft). Shape dough into ball; place in large oiled bowl and turn to coat.
3. Cover bowl with kitchen towel. Let dough rise at cool room temperature until almost doubled, about 2 hours.
4. Punch dough down; form into ball. Return to bowl; cover with towel and let rise until doubled, about 3 hours.
5. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Punch down dough. Form into ball; place on floured work surface. Cover with kitchen towel; let rest 30 minutes. Sprinkle rimless baking sheet with cornmeal. Roll out dough on floured surface to 13-inch round. Transfer to baking sheet. [I used a pizza stone and let it heat with the oven and then very careful transferred the dough to the hot stone.]
6. Bake crust for 5-7 minutes or until just set, pressing down any large bubbles that might form [Be careful!  The crust will be ridiculously hot]. Remove from oven and quickly brush crust with olive oil and top with arugula, pear, prosciutto, and cheese.
7. Bake pizza until crust is crisp and cheese begins to brown, 15-18 minutes. Transfer pizza to board. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.

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