Pizza! Who wouldn’t love it? During the past two decades pizza has basically became the favorite food of Finnish people. It’s for sure the most consumed fast-food and there is no small town in the middle of nowhere without a pizzeria. Most of the pizzas available cannot be called gourmet (no offense), but rather a quick, greasy hangover fulfillment. Even so, I prefer that to big hamburger chains that just don’t offer anything to me with their nutrient poor, mayo overflowing hamburgers. And in which the iceberg lettuce, that basically equals to paper in nutrition, is usually the only fresh thing. Not that I wouldn’t love burgers in general, because I do!
Back to pizza. I remember when I was a kid and my parents used to prepare pizza on special occasions. That pizza had a fluffy, pan pizza like crust and a lot of different kinds of toppings. Those pizza days were glorious, because they were so rare. Usually pizza was eaten in the New Year’s Eve, which made it feel even more glorious. I also remember feeling envy for the neighbor girls whose parents put only tomato, anchovies, onion and cheese in their pizza. My god, that was delicious! I never dared to ask my parents to put anchovies in our pizza, as I thought they already would if they liked them. Until these days my parents still prepare the pizza in their style on special occasions (like, still, the NYE). For me pizza has become more like everyday food, and I don’t see that glory in it I used to when I was a kid. It’s so sad in a way! Nowadays we cook pizza a couple of times a month. S has his own favorite, pizza à portuguesa, which is a typical pizza they eat in Brazil. It consists of ham, onion, boiled eggs and black olives. I like to try different flavors each time, even though my all-time favorite is simply pizza margherita.
The recipe that follows takes pizza on a new level again, as the flavors are truly elegant and in perfect balance. My favorite pizza dough is so simple to do that I always use it, even though I sometimes would like to try some other dough. Note that this dough is at its best if you can let it stand covered in the refrigerator for 8 hours before using (yes you read right, in a fridge, not in a warm place). It’s not absolutely necessary, though, and you can also let it raise in a traditional way.
Finding just the right measures for the dough is hard, so share your pizza dough recipe with me, if you have found a perfect one!
Pear, Gorgonzola and Pecan Pizza
For the pizza dough (makes two small pizzas):
250ml lukewarm water (42 C)
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
2,5dl + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour + more for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
2 medium pears, halved and sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons dark balsamic vinegar
150g Gorgonzola, or other blue cheese of your choice, sliced
200g fresh mozzarella, shredded
handful of pecan nuts
Prepare pizza dough. Place warm water in a medium-sized bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let stand for 5 minutes.
Add the salt and gradually whisk in the flour. Knead for 5-10 minutes. If you are going to make the pizza immediately, cover the bowl with a kitchen cloth and let the dough double in size in a warm place for about 1 hour. The dough is at its best when refrigerated for 8 hours, covered with plastic film, before using.
Heat up the oven into 250 C (or higher, if your oven allows). Make sure your oven is very hot before you put the pizza in. Unless you use a pizza stone, which I unfortunately don’t have myself, place the baking sheet into the oven to become hot while you prepare the pizza. This guarantees you a crispier result.
Heat the olive oil in a medium-size skillet and cook the onions over medium heat until golden and soft, about 8 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and continue cooking for a few minutes more, until the liquid has evaporated. Set aside.
If you want, quickly sautée the pear slices on oil as well, about one minute is enough. This might be necessary if you don’t use ripe pears, but gives a good flavor overall.
Halve the pizza dough in two same sized balls. On a floured surface, roll the balls open until the thinness you prefer. I like my pizza not super thinly rolled, having something to chew on the edges.
Place both the rolled doughs on their own pieces of parchment paper. Top the pizzas with shredded mozzarella, balsamic onions, pear slices, gorgonzola and pecan nuts (in this order).
Bake for 5-10 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the crust gotten a golden color. Drizzle with olive oil before serving.
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