Thursday, March 8, 2012

Apple, Gouda and Bacon Pizza

Can you really ever have too many pizza recipes?  I think not! 

Pizza is a staple in our house.  I crave pizza on a weekly basis and we probably have it that often.  It's easy, quick, as well as delicious.  Honestly, it's probably faster to make pizza at home rather than order out.  In the time it takes to determine what you want and where you want it from, order and then pick it up you could already be enjoying a delicious homemade pizza. 

As much as I love traditional flavors on pizza, I sometimes crave something different.  It's just nice to spice things up and add a twist from time to time.  That's exactly what this pizza did, spiced things up.  Apples, cheese and bacon.  I mean, can you really go wrong with these flavors?  I love the whole sweet and salty combo and this is another recipe that melds those flavor profiles. 
This pizza starts with a rustic, whole-wheat crust that is bursting with flavor and it's baked off for 2-3 minutes to make the perfect based for this delicious pizza.  Next is a drizzle of honey along a sprinkle of nutmeg and cinnamon.  Then comes the good stuff; a combination of parmesan and gouda cheese, honeycrisp apple slices, and bacon.  Pop it back in the oven for just a few minutes longer, just to allow the cheese to become a layer of ooey gooey goodness and then you have the best pizza ever!  Honestly, I cannot even find the words to tell you just how good this pizza is.  The combination of the sweet and tart apple, salty and crunchy bacon, earthy sage and the rich smokey gouda.  It is truly out of this world.
Spencer typically goes for the meat pizzas.  Whether it's homemade or takeout, he wants it loaded with a variety of meat.  Don't get me wrong, he's open to change and trying new things but he just wants a pizza with some substance.  I was hesitant to serve this to him at first, just because I thought it might be a little too "fru fru" for him, but I wanted to make this pizza so badly I pushed those concerns to the side.  Let me just say, I'm so glad I pushed my fear of Spencer not liking this to the back of my mind; not only did I LOVE this pizza, he literally raved about it as well.  He is constantly bringing this pizza up, so I know I have a winner and I know I will be making this again very soon.

Apple, Gouda, and Bacon Pizza
Ingredients:

Whole weat pizza dough, recipe follows (or your favorite store bought dough)
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 Small red onion, thinly sliced
1 Clove garlic, minced
6 Slices thick-cut bacon
1 Large honeycrisp apple
7 Ounces (1 cup) smoked gouda cheese, shredded
1/4 Cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
8-10 Sage leaves
2 Tbsp honey
1/8 Tsp cinnamon
1/4 Tsp nutmeg
Salt and pepper
Cornmeal

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450.  Place pizza stone in oven and allow to pre-heat as well.

Cook bacon using desired method, I used the skillet.  Place on a papertowel lined plate and allow to cool.  Once bacon is cool enough to handle, cut into bite size pieces.

Place a medium skillet over medium heat.  Once skillet is hot add 1/2 a tablespoon of olive oil and onions and sprinkle with salt.  Allow the onions to caramelize, stirring occassionally.  At the end of caramelizing the oninos, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Thinly slice apples and roughly chop the sage leaves.   

Place pizza dough on a floured surface.  Using your hands, gently stretch the dough into the desired shape, I formed a rectangle.  Sprinkle pizza stone with cornmeal and place streched dough on stone.  Place in oven and allow to bake for 3 minutes.

Remove dough from oven and brush with remaining olive oil, drizzle with honey, sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg.  Sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese over the dough, followed by a layer of apples, then onions and garlic.  Sprinkle remaining cheese, followed by bacon and the remaining apples.  Add sage, if desired.  Return to oven for an additional 12-15 minutes, until cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown.

Let stand for about 3 minutes, cut and serve.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough-

Ingredients:

1 Package (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
3/4 Cups warm water
1 Cup whole wheat flour
3/4 Cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 Tsp salt

Directions:

Run steaming hot water over a small bowl to warm up the bowl.  Place yeast, warm water, honey and oil in the heated bowl, stir with spoon and allow sit (proof) for 10-15 minutes. 

Meanwhile, combine the flours and salt in a large mixing bowl and stir to combnie.  Once the yeast mixture is foamy add to the flour mixture.  Using an electric mixer with a dough hook attachment, mix the ingredients on low until just combined.  Once ingredients are incorporated increase speed to medium and knead the dough for 5-6 minutes.  If the dough seems tacky, or too sticky, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, and knead until combined.

Brush or spray a large bowl with oil.  Place the dough in the well oiled bowl, turning once to coat, cover and set in a warm place to allow dough to rise until doubled in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. 

Recipe source: slightly adapted from How Sweet it is via My Life as a Mrs.

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