I participated this month with an online blogging group called the ‘Secret Recipe Club.’ Once a month each group member is assigned a blog to post a recipe from by the groups moderator and mine this month was Feast on the Cheap. Don’t you just love the name of that blog? I mean really…don’t we all want to do EXACTLY that? It’s run by the mother/daughter team of Mary Anne and Mariel; do visit their blog not ‘just’ for fabulous recipes but they also do a cost analysis of ingredients. I know you will love discovering this blog; I know I did!
As part of the recipe club, we get to pick the recipe we want to prepare and for me, this pizza was so perfect. I can not remember the last time I had a pizza with red sauce and meat. For me I think it all started with a pizza very similar to this one that I had at a local California Pizza Kitchen and I’ve not looked back. Our pizza of choice now most often includes an olive oil base and wonderful fresh ingredients. One of my favorites includes spinach, sun dried tomatoes and feta cheese and another was this totally unique but Oh My Yum! Lemon Ricotta Pizza with Herbs and Honey.
I’ve made my own version of Feast on the Cheap’s White Pizza with Sweet Pears and Balsamic-Glazed Figs; changed ever so slightly and not quite as cheap! I’ve switched out the cilantro for some walnuts and used more pears and cheese I admit. I served this for dinner but it would also made a terrific appetizer if cut into smaller portions.
I would typically make my own pizza dough but I didn’t have any whole wheat flour; was at a market to get some pork belly for bacon (yes, that post will show up soon!) and saw little bundles of whole wheat pizza dough made by Il Fornaio Restaurant and Bakery. They don’t sell the dough to the public in their restaurant but it’s available locally at Tony’s Market. I had never tried whole wheat pizza dough before but it seemed perfect for a pizza with fruits, nuts and cheese and it was exactly that.
White Pizza with Walnuts, Pears and Balsamic Glazed Figs – and a Secret!
- Whole wheat pizza dough - your own recipe or purchased dough
- 1 1/2 cup blend of freshly grated parmesan and a mild white cheese like shredded mozzarella or grated fontina (I used grated white cheddar)
- 2 ripe pears, cored and sliced thinly
- cup dried figs, sliced
- cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 11/2 teaspoon of Balsamic vinegar
- 3 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Pre-warm an empty baking sheet about 5 minutes before you’re ready to bake your pizza (this will result in a crispier crust if you don’t have a proper pizza stone).
- In a small saucepan, combine the figs, 2 Tablespoons of olive oil, Balsamic vinegar and minced garlic clove over med-low heat for 1 minute – until the figs just start to soften and the vinegar begins to sizzle. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Roll out your pizza dough on a well-floured surface – be sure to flour your hands and the rolling pin too. Once rolled out, brush the top of your dough with the remaining Tablespoon of olive oil. Assemble your toppings starting with half of the cheese mixture, followed by the pears, the figs, the walnuts and finishing with the remaining cheese.
- Use two spatulas to place your assembled pizza on the hot baking sheet. (I cheated here...I just put the dough on the hot baking sheet and assembled it quickly to avoid the transfer business).
- Turn the oven temperature down to 450 degrees and bake for 8-12 minutes – timing will depend on the thickness of your crust and your oven, so be sure to check after 8 minutes. Once your crust has risen and has turned a nice golden brown, remove from the oven. Serve hot.