This pizza is awesome. I could stop writing and leave you with those four word, but I’ll elaborate. The dough has fantastic flavor and is light and fluffy. The sweetness of the caramelized onions and apples pare well with the sharpness of the cheddar and creaminess of the ricotta. After making this pie, you will begin may rethink the importance of tomato on pizza. I know that my wife, Lisa, now actually prefers this combo over the classic Margherita pie.
The first time you try shaping the dough it will be difficult. It still isn’t easy for me, and it’s given me appreciation for the skill that pizza makers have when it comes to their quickness in making perfectly-round pizzas. If you’d like a video tutorial on shaping the dough, check out this clip on YouTube. It’s slightly different from the technique I explain, but the fundamentals are the same.
- 2 Whole Wheat Pizza Dough Rounds
- 1/2 lb Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated
- 6 oz. whole milk ricotta cheese, strained
- 1/4 lb shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 1 Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced
- 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons white granulated sugar
- kosher salt and black pepper
- Fresh basil
- olive oil
- Parmigiano Reggiano, freshly grated
- Special Equipment
- Pizza Stone
- Pizza Peel
- Preheat the oven and the pizza stone to 500 degrees fahreneit, or as hot as your oven will go, for at least one hour.
- Caramelized Onions: heat tablespoon of olive oil a sautee pan over medium heat. Add sliced onions, stirring every few minutes to prevent burning. After 25 minutes of cooking time, add the sugar, give the onions a stir and cook for a few more minutes until the onions are caramelized. Season with salt and pepper.
- Mushrooms & Apples: Remove the onions from the pans into a small bowl. Add another tablespoon of olive and heat the pan to medium heat. Add the mushrooms and sautee for 3-5 minutes until the mushrooms are soft and wilted. Then, add the sliced granny smith apples and sautee for another 3-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and remove the mixture to another small bowl.
- Create a pizza station that includes bowls full of olive oil, kosher salt, shredded cheddar, ricotta, onions, and the mushroom/apple mixture.
- Have a small bow of flour ready for dusting your countertop
- Have a small bowl of semolina flour ready for dusting your pizza peel.
- When your dough is ready generously flour your work surface and place one round of dough in the center of the floured surface. Dust the dough lightly with flour.
- Using your fingertips as if you were tapping piano keys, gently tap on the center of the dough to flatten it slightly, leaving a 1-inch rim untouched.
- Pick up the dough, ball both of your fists, and with your fists facing your body, pace the top edge of the dough on your fists so the round stretches downward against the backs of your hands, away from them.
- Move the circle of dough around your fists like the hands of a clock so the dough continues to stretch downward into a circle.
- When the dough has stretched to about 10 inches diameter, lay it down on the flour-dusted surface.
- Brush the rim of the dough with olive oil and sprinkle kosher salt over the surface of the dough.
- Layer the dough with the cheddar, dollops of the ricotta, the onions, mushrooms and apples, making sure to leave a 1-inch rim with no topping around the edge.
- Dust a pizza peel with semolina and slide the pizza peel under the pizza with one decisive push. You are less likely to tear or misshape the dough with one good push of the peel than several tentative pushes. Reshape the pizza on the peel if it has lost its shape. Shake the peel gently to determine whether the dough will release easily in the oven. If it is sticking to the peel, carefully lift one side of the dogh and throw some more semolina under it. Do this from a few different angles until there is semolina under the entire crust.
- Open the oven door and slide the dough onto the preheated pizza stone. Again moving decisively, pull the peel toward you to leave the pizza on the stone.
- Bake the pizza 10 to 12 minutes, cooking times vary depending on the power of your oven.
- While the pizza Is in the oven, clear a space on a clean, dry cutting board to put the baked pizza on.
- When the pizza is done, slide the peel under the crust and use tongs to help pull the pizza onto the peel. Then slide it onto the cutting board and top it with grated parmigiano, and a drizzle of olive oil.
- Allow the pizza to cool for a few minutes and then cut it into 4 to 6 slices for serving.
- Repeat this process with the second dough round.