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Author Notes: I based my crust on the pizza recipe in Dorie Greenspan's book, Baking with Julia. I added a little bread flour and milk (thanks to boulangere's advice), and increased the liquids to tenderize the dough. Of course, you can use any pizza dough recipe you like -- just be sure to make enough for two pies. I added shallots to the sage, walnut, and goat cheese base I'd originally envisioned. For tartness, I turned to the juice of my new main squeeze, Meyer lemon, along with a bit of the zest. If you want to keep things simple, just skip these additions!
Thanks to hardlikearmour, Pierino, boulangere, sfmiller, susan g, and hrosdail for their help in working out the kinks in my pizza crust. —creamtea
Food52 Review: Love this recipe! The dough is easy to make and roll out, and the topping is outrageously good. This makes a great meal or, cut into smaller slices, a very elegant appetizer. I made 3 pizzas rather than 2, since I made mine on a pizza stone that couldn’t accommodate the larger pie. Also, instead of juicing and zesting a Meyer lemon, I picked one from my windowsill plant, cut it into small slices, and laid those on top of the pizza. When I took the pizza out of the oven, I scattered another finely-sliced sage leaf over the top. I plan on making this again very soon. —Helen's All Night Diner
Makes: two 11 x 17-inch pizzas
Pizza Dough (Adapted from Dorie Greenspan)
packet active dry yeast
cups warm water (80º F)
tablespoons olive oil
cups all-purpose flour, divided (you may need less)
cup bread flour, divided
teaspoons fine sea salt
- Combine yeast, water, and milk in a large bowl. Whisk to combine, then set aside for about 5 minutes to proof.
- Whisk in olive oil, then add 1/4 cup of the bread flour and 2 cups of the all-purpose flour. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours. Tip: I sometimes warm the oven very briefly on low, then switch it off and put on the pilot light before putting in the mixture to rise. After 1 1/2 hours, a bubbly soft sponge of about twice the volume of the original mixture should form.
- With a rubber spatula, stir and fold the sponge to deflate it. With a wooden spoon, gradually stir in the salt and the last 1/4 cup of bread flour. Slowly add in some of the remaining all-purpose flour: just enough for the dough to pull away from the sides of the bowl and form into a cohesive mass. You probably will not need all of it.
- Put the dough in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and turn it on low. Gradually increase the speed to medium-high and beat about 5 minutes, until the dough is soft and elastic. Turn it out onto a lightly floured board, adding a little extra flour if necessary to create a workable dough, and knead for a few turns -- less than a minute.
- Cover a large bowl with a thin film of olive oil. Form the dough into a smooth ball and turn it into the bowl, coating it with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap. Set dough aside in a warm place to rise for another 1 1/2 hours. After this time, the dough should be bubbly. Tip: After deflating and dividing the dough (see step 5 below), you can wrap it in plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator overnight for improved texture.
For the Shallot Mixture (Enough for 2 Pies)
tablespoons olive oil
medium onions, quartered lengthwise and sliced thinly crosswise
shallots, halved and sliced thinly lengthwise
fat cloves of garlic, crushed with the flat side of a knife and coarsely chopped
10 to 12
fresh sage leaves, coarsely chopped (3 to 4 tablespoons, loosely packed)
teaspoon fine sea salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Zest from 1/2 Meyer lemon (optional)
Juice of 1/2 Meyer lemon (optional)
Cornmeal for sprinkling the pan
ounces soft, fresh goat cheese, crumbled
cup walnut halves, toasted in a rimmed baking sheet in a 375º F oven for 8 to 10 minutes, cooled and coarsely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 500º F.
- In a large heavy sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat olive oil until it shimmers. Add onions, garlic, and shallots and sauté, tossing and stirring, until they turn golden. Add the salt and pepper. When the onions and shallots are very tender and well-browned, add the sage leaves and sauté until wilted. Add the Meyer lemon juice and zest, if using, and cook another minute.
- Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. This mixture makes enough for two pies, with some left over.
- Grease two rimmed 11 x 17-inch baking sheets with a bit of olive oil. Sift some cornmeal over them (a mesh tea strainer works well for this).
- When the dough is ready, deflate gently and divide in half. Form each half into a dome or disc. Keep one disc covered while you form the other to fit the measurements of the pan. Flatten the disc as much as possible, then stretch it into shape, keeping the edges a little thicker than the interior. You can aim for a large disc, or fit the dough into the rectangle of the pan. If a thin spot or two forms, that's okay -- it doesn't have to be perfect. Just call it rustic!
- Brush the edges of the dough with a little olive oil. Spread the shallot mixture lightly over the dough, leaving a 1-inch margin all around. Scatter some of the walnuts and cheese across the top, but make sure to keep the topping light. Cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap, and repeat with the other half of the dough. Remove the covering. Bake the pizzas in the bottom third of the oven for about 5 to 10 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until edges are golden. Watch carefully to make sure the walnuts don't burn too badly -- if they begin to, you may need to turn down the oven to 400º F or 450º F. There will be some burnt onion edges, which is perfectly fine.
- Remove from the oven, cut into squares, and serve hot.
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