Pizza today is much more diverse than the traditional, flat, round bread, with the classic toppings of tomato sauce, cheese and pepperoni. A nice pizza pie may now come in any shape and size, it may not even have sauce, and can be topped with fruits, greens, and even seafood. Pretty much whatever you think sounds good in the moment. Thank goodness for evolution!
Honestly, homemade pizza, crispy crust pilled with fresh flavorful ingredients, is probably my absolute favorite food! I was recently enjoying some vacation time in California and found myself ordering pizza at almost every restaurant we went to. I mean, I had to stop myself after several days and force myself to order something different. Even though my affection for pizza has continually run deep throughout my whole life, I have just now started to prepare my own crust, and oh my gosh, it is so simple! I can only begin to express the excitement of creating any type of pizza any time I want. Now the only problem is learning to restrain myself so that I don't blow up like the Pillsbury Dough "girl".
Inspired by my new dough making ability, these beautiful giant blackberries, and my endless pizza cravings, I went to work. I know what you are thinking, blackberries on pizza?? As I placed it in the oven, I was starting to doubt myself, but this pizza is now a weekly favorite. Just think, fresh garden herbs, cheese and warm fruit, delicious!!
Blackberry Pear Herbed Pizza
Prep: 6 hours (dough to rise) / Bake 30-45 min. / Serves: 4
- 1 pint of blackberries
- 2-3 pears- skins removed and sliced
- 1 fennel bulb- chopped
- fresh sage- chopped fine
- 4 ounces Cypress Grove Chèvre
- 4+ ounces combined gruyere and asiago cheeses
- 6+ fresh basil leaves- chopped
When making a pizza with no sauce, I like to sprinkle the flattened, herbed dough with gruyere and asiago cheeses; then I place the toppings.
Making the Crust:
- 1 package Fleischmann's instant yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 cups water ( around 110 degrees F)
- 3 1/2+ cups flour (I use spelt flour)
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4+ Tablespoons fresh thyme
Pour yeast, sugar and salt into a mixing bowl. Pour in the water and stir in order to dissolve the yeast, sugar and salt. Once dissolved add the flour and mix completely (some people use a mixer to do this, but I have been having great success by just stirring with a spoon). As you are mixing the flour in, sprinkle in the thyme and olive oil. Once you have it all mixed in together, you will have a kind of sticky ball; leave it in the bowl. Cover the bowl with a cloth and store in a warm place for about 6 hours (until the dough doubles in size). Remove the dough from the bowl and dust it with flour. Then, separate the dough into two equal size balls and (adding more flour if needed) kneed the dough on a cutting board. Finally, sprinkle the cutting board with flour and begin to roll the dough out with a rolling pin. Before I get the dough completely rolled out, I like to toss it back and forth between my hands to stretch it out some. Please, don't fret for a second about the shape of your pizza (let this be part of your creativity). Once you have the crust rolled out, transfer it to a pizza stone or baking dish (greased with extra virgin olive oil) and begin to load on the toppings! After the topping have been added, place in a preheated 500 degree F oven and bake for 30-40 minutes (until crust is crisp on the bottom). Remove and chopped basil to the top; allow to rest and cool for a couple of minutes before cutting to serve. Enjoy!