Saturday, August 21, 2010

Gorgonzola and Grape Pizza

I found this recipe on a chowhound thread on favourite recipes. The combination of flavours intrigued me and I knew from my earlier not-so-typical pizza experiments that I enjoy them. Of course, pizza in the summer with no air-conditioning doesn't really work (unless you put them on the grill!), so I've had to take a break from my pizza making. Even though it's only August, it's starting to get cool enough here to brave pizza making in the oven.

Initially, I wanted to use the somewhat sour grapes that have been available lately, but the Val-Mont didn't have any in-stock, so I was forced to remain fairly faithful to the recipe. The only substitution I made was Marsala wine for the Vin Santo called for in the recipe, because none of the SAQ's near me stock Vin Santo.

I almost used a crust recipe I'd tried before, but then opted to use the one in the recipe and I'm glad I did. The crust is relatively easy to make and is much, much easier to shape into a pizza than crusts I've made in the past.


Gorgonzola and Grape Pizza (from

For dough
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup warm water
1 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp olive oil
For topping
1/3 cup Marsala (or Vin Santo)
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 cups red seedless grapes, halved lengthwise
140g Italian Fontina, rind discarded and cheese cut into 1/4-inch dice (1 cup)
60g Gorgonzola dolce, crumbled
1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper

1. Stir together yeast, 1 tablespoon flour, and 1/4 cup warm water in a cup and let stand until mixture appears creamy on surface, about 5 minutes.
2. Whisk salt into 1 1/4 cups flour in a large bowl, then add yeast mixture, oil, and remaining 1/2 cup warm water and stir until smooth. Stir in enough flour (1/4 to 1/2 cup) for dough to begin to pull away from side of bowl.
3. Knead dough on a floured work surface with floured hands, reflouring when dough becomes too sticky, but using as little flour as possible, until dough is smooth, soft, and elastic, about 8 minutes.
4. Form dough into a ball and dust generously with flour. Put dough in a medium bowl and cover bowl with plastic wrap, then let dough rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/4 hours.
5. At least 45 minutes before baking pizza, put pizza stone on oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 500°F.
6. While waiting, slice the grapes and chop the fontina.
7. Meanwhile, bring Marsala with sugar to a boil in a small heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then boil, uncovered, until reduced to about 1 tablespoon, about 5 minutes (mine took longer ... be patient and wait for it to reduce to 1 tbsp. Several reviews complained about the pizza being soggy and my guess is that people didn't fully reduce. I had a little liquid on my pizza as it was.).
8. Add grapes to saucepan and stir gently to coat with syrup, then transfer to a bowl. Add cheeses and pepper to bowl, then stir to combine.
9. When the dough is ready, do not punch down dough. Gently dredge dough in a bowl of flour to coat, then transfer to a parchment-lined pizza peel or baking sheet (without sides). Lightly flour parchment (around dough). Pat out dough evenly with your fingers and stretch into a 13-inch round. (Do not handle dough more than necessary. If dough is sticky, dust it lightly with flour.)
10. Arrange topping on dough leaving a 1-inch border. If desired, brush border with an egg wash or olive oil.
11. Slide pizza on parchment onto pizza stone. Bake pizza until dough is crisp and browned and cheese is golden and bubbling in spots, 14 to 16 minutes.
12. Using peel or baking sheet, transfer pizza to a cutting board. Cool 5 minutes and remove parchment before slicing.

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