I can’t believe it’s already February and I’ve only posted once since the new year D: I’m so sorry, guys!! I had these grand plans to post every week after turning in my book, but then I was a bit behind on my book and didn’t *actually* turn it in until January 15th, and then I got revisions back on it and was working on those until today when I sent them off, and was also wrapping up planning for the most recent Secret Supper (we did it in the snow! It was amazing!!!!) And then there was a trip to Hawaii and a trip to Cambria for an awesome blogger meet-up, (both of which I’ll post about later). Aaaaand now I’m waiting in line to board a flight to Mexico. I think it’s safe to say that my plans to travel less this year and become a homebody have yet to come to fruition/failed miserably. I know I’m overdue for a hearty personal post; there’s a lot I’ve been wanting to say about where I want the blog to go this year and where my head has been at lately, but I’m going to save that for the following week because I want to be able to take the time to write it well (which for me takes quite a bit of time.) In the meantime, here is a recipe for a delicious Honeyed Pear Pizza with sherry caramelized onions and bonne bouche cheese.
This pizza is roughly based on one that I made a few years back with pears, blue cheese, and caramelized onions, but I decided to kick it up a notch with some ingredient upgrades—namely using Vermont Creamery’s ash-ripened aged goat cheese Bonne Bouche as well as some cubed prosciutto + a sautéed pear and shallot puree as the sauce. Bonne Bouche is especially wonderful because the edges of the cheese underneath the rind are delightfully gooey, which makes it feel like the cheese comes pre-melted. The cheese itself has the most nutty, smooth, creamy flavor and is very mild for a goat’s cheese. Because of the softness of this cheese, I recommend cutting it into cubes for the pizza right out of the refrigerator while it is still firm, rather than letting it come to room temperature before cutting. The firmer chopped bits are easier to distribute over the pizza without them sticking together, too (although it *is* fun to lick the cheese goo off your fingers afterwards when it’s especially messy!) As for the cubed prosciutto, I got a 1/4-inch thick slab cut for me at the deli counter at Whole Foods and you should be able to do the same at a local Italian deli or high-end supermarket. Then I just chopped it up into cubes when I got home and sprinkled it on the pizza for some deliciously salty bursts of pork flavor. When you add the pureed pear and shallot sauce into the mix along with the pear slices simmered in a honey syrup, you’ve got yourself a ridiculously stinkin’ good pizza that’s perfect for a chill night in but also fancy enough for entertaining friends and family.
As far as making the pear pizza, I recommend following the steps outlined below for baking the pizza on a pizza stone in your oven at a high temperature and using parchment paper to help transfer the assembled pizza from a large baking sheet onto the stone. My pizza wheel was being really wonky when I tried to cut the pizza, so my friend and intern Stephanie showed me her awesome trick for “slicing” pizza, which was using a pair of kitchen shears to literally cut it into slices. It is SOOOOOO much easier than struggling with a dull crappy pizza wheel and I don’t think I’ll cut pizza any other way again. It’s a game-changer! I hope you guys enjoy this recipe, and I’ll be back again in about a week with some chocolate cupcakes to share 🙂
Sherry Caramelized Onion, Honeyed Pear and Bonne Bouche Pizza
Shallot Pear Sauce
- 2 tablespoons Vermont Creamery unsalted cultured butter
- 1 ripe pear (peeled, cored and chopped)
- 1 medium shallot (chopped)
- 2 tablespoons Vermont Creamery unsalted butter
- 1 medium sweet onion (chopped)
- 1 tablespoon cream sherry
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 ripe pear (peeled, cored and thinly sliced)
- 4 ounces 1/4 thick slice of prosciutto (chopped into 1/4-inch cubes)
- 18 ounces pizza dough
- 1 4-ounce wheel Vermont Creamery Bonne Bouche cheese (cold and cut into roughly 1/2-inch chunks)
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit with a pizza stone inside of it. For the shallot pear sauce, melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium low heat. Add the shallot and saute until softened and translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the pear and sautee until the shallots turn lightly golden, about an additional 15 to 20 minutes more, stirring every 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes before pureeing in a blender or food processor.
For the sherry caramelized onion topping, melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium low heat. Add the onions and stir to coat in the mixture. Continue cooking until the onions for an additional 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Add the cream sherry and stir to incorporate. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking until the onions are lightly golden, about 15 to 20 minutes more, stirring every 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
For the honeyed pear topping, heat the water and honey in a medium frying pan and bring to a low boil over medium heat. Add the pear slices and stir gently to coat in the syrup. Continue cooking until the mixture is bubbly and the pears are golden in color, about 10 to 15 minutes. Strain and set aside, reserving the honeyed pears.
Using lightly floured hands, spread out the pizza dough on a lightly floured working surface using your fingertips to push the edge of the dough ball out into a roughly circular or oval shape. Transfer the shaped crust to a sheet of parchment paper on a flat baking sheet. Spread the pear and shallot puree onto the crust with a rubber spatula, leaving 1-inch bare around the edge for the crust. Top with the sherry caramelized onion, honeyed pears, prosciutto, and bonne bouche.
Open the oven and pull out the rack with a baking stone. Hover the baking sheet over it and pull the parchment paper with the pizza on it off, sliding it onto the hot stone. Push the rack with the stone back into the oven and close the door. Bake until the crust is golden and the toppings are bubbly and lightly golden at the edges, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before topping with the fresh thyme leaves, slicing, and serving.
Tip: Use kitchen shears to cut the pizza instead of a pizza wheel!