Pear, Prosciutto, and Goat Cheese Pizza

Pear, Prosciutto, and Goat Cheese Pizza

Pizza toppings and panini fillings are virtually interchangeable. Anything that is good on a panini will be just as delicious on top of a pizza. Case in point, this panini, which we made a while back, virtually mimics this pizza, the only difference being the addition of caramelized onions.

I really love sauce-less pizzas. I really really love sauce-less pizzas with goat cheese. Which is why we make so many of them. And I don’t think I will ever deviate from my favorite crust recipe, which produces a crisp and chewy crust. With a splash of olive oil and a dash of dried herbs and fennel, the result is probably closer to a focaccia bread than a traditional pizza crust. Which makes it that much more unique and delicious. But do plan ahead – the dough requires at least 6 hours for the yeasty flavors to properly develop.

Pear, Prosciutto, and Goat Cheese Pizza

Makes 3-4 servings.

Ingredients:

Crust:
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
1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
1 teaspoon dried thyme

Topping:
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
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

Directions:

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). 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. Cover bowl with kitchen towel. Let dough rise at cool room temperature until almost doubled, about 2 hours. Punch dough down; form into ball. Return to bowl; cover with towel and let rise until doubled, about 3 hours.

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.

Heat a splash of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and saute, stirring frequently, 10 to 12 minutes or until onions are caramel colored and soft. Remove from heat.

Bake crust for 5-7 minutes or until just set, pressing down any large bubbles that might form. Remove from oven and quickly brush crust with olive oil and top with onions, pear, prosciutto, and cheese.

Bake pizza until crust is crisp and cheese begins to brown, 15-18 minutes. Transfer pizza to board. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.