Pizza for Dessert

grape pizza

grape pizza

I know you’ve seen pizza served for dessert. A lot of sweet stuff piled on like chocolate or nutella.

This one’s a little different. This involves fruit, and, yes, sugar, but then we sneak in the savory with rosemary & olive oil. Oh yeah. That’s right.

I first discovered sweet grape pizza from a Tuscan recipe for schiacciata di’uva (pizza with grapes). In that recipe the pizza was folded in half with grapes on the inside and on top.

I’ve since morphed the recipe to be a flat open pizza.

grape pizza assembly

grape pizza assembly

making grape pizza in my cooking class

making grape pizza in my cooking class

And now I’ve added brown sugar with the white sugar, prefer more abundant rosemary, and bake it until it’s nice and deep golden brown. The edges get a crispy snap and the sweetness surprises your tastebuds…making them run back for more.

grape pizza cut into pieces

grape pizza cut into pieces

To begin, you can buy pizza dough in the supermarket. This recipe is for 1 pound. But I’m also including here my Dad’s recipe for pizza dough, which my family is realizing is really my Aunt Mary’s recipe for pizza dough. Aunt Mary wasn’t my real aunt, but she’s still Aunt Mary to me. She, & her husband (Uncle John), lived upstairs from us in Brooklyn. She was a mentor in the kitchen for my mom. A sweetheart and a Sicilian.

When the summer gets in full swing try this with thin slices of peaches. In winter it works with thin slices of apple. I’ve used nectarines, too, and I just envisioned sweet red plums. Gotta try that one!

Grape Sweet Pizza w Brown Sugar & Rosemary

1 lb. pizza dough (store-bought or fresh-made)

3 cups seedless red grapes, sliced in half

1/2  cup sugar (or more)

1/2 brown sugar

8-10 fresh rosemary sprigs, Leaves stripped off, stems discarded

a few healthy drizzles of olive oil

Preheat oven to F. 400 degrees

Make sure dough is at room temperature. Press out dough into a thin flat disc or oblong shape. Alternatively, cut dough in half and make 2 smaller pizzas. Lay thin dough on a lightly-oiled parchment-lined baking sheet.

Place the grapes, cut side down, on top of the dough, pressing them in lightly. Leave a narrow border of dough on the outside edge. Sprinkle with sugar. Toss on rosemary. Drizzle olive oil.

Bake about 20 minutes until crusty and golden. Cut into squares to serve.

Dad’s (& Aunt Mary’s) Pizza Dough

For the dough:

5 cups flour (all-purpose)

2 teaspoons salt

2 1/4 teaspoons yeast (1 package/envelope)

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 cup olive oil

1 egg

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or you can do this by hand) mix together the flour and salt. In a medium bowl or large measuring cup combine 1 1/2 cups warm water (tepid, not too hot, not too cool) with the yeast and the sugar. In a small bowl or cup mix the egg with the olive oil.

Make a well in the center of the flour. When the yeast has “bloomed” (becomes puffy) pour the yeast water in the well and pour the egg/olive oil mixture in the well. Gently stir the flour and wet ingredients to roughly combine. Then mix on a slow speed with the dough hook for about 5 minutes until silky.

Take out dough hook. Smooth a thin film of olive oil over top of dough. Flip dough so all sides have a thin film of olive oil. Cover top of bowl with a clean dry kitchen towel and place in a draft-free place to rise. Let rise about 2 hours. It should double in size.

Scoop dough out onto a work surface and cut into 6-8 pieces (use a bench scraper or knife). Roll each piece gently into a ball and wrap each ball in a pam-sprayed or lightly oiled piece of plastic. Don’t wrap too tight since dough will rise again in plastic. Let rise about an hour more.

Unwrap dough and gently press into the shape you want. You can also stretch dough more by gently holding down the center and gently pulling the edges out.

Fav Nashville Eats: Skyking Pizza (Kingston Springs)

Sky King pizza

Skyking pizza

It’s a well-known fact (probably just in my head) that I’m pizza-fussy. I will not eat any ole pizza. Maybe it’s my NY-Italian-American upbringing. Maybe my 30 years in NYC. Maybe my life in Roma and my many trips to Italy. Maybe my finicky tastebuds. Maybe all of this created a pizza-snob monster: me.

But when I bite into a good pizza I fall in love immediately. And a cozy spot in a small town, about a half-hour from Nashville, makes a pizza I love: Kingston Springs’ Skyking Pizza. They know how to ring that elusive  yummy pizza bell.

When I first heard they were opening a pizza place in Kingston Springs (and they were importing a heavy wood-burning oven) I was skeptical. Because I’m always skeptical about pizza. But the first time I walked into Skyking Pizza I was encouraged by the open and warm environment. The impressive huge pizza oven. The appetizing menu. And the super friendly wait staff.

At first bite I knew I hit the jackpot. The crust has a crunch AND a chew. The crust reminded me of Naples-style pizza. A beautiful chew, but the blackened spots licked by the fiery oven hit you with a crunch.

Sky King pizza crust

Skyking pizza crust

Skyking offers about a dozen different pizzas… from Margherita to Very Veggie to “Go Forth” (which loads on the meats) and more (my fav: white pizza with ricotta, garlic, artichoke hearts, spinach, basil, and mozzarella).

Sky King white pizza

Skyking white pizza

They have house-made sausage, meatball & salad side dishes. They serve beer and you can bring your own wine. They make it easy to have a good time. And to want to return as often as possible.

I’ve always been a fan of Roman-style pizza. In Rome (if you go to the right pizzeria) the crust is so thin it’s almost cracker crisp. In Rome, I almost always get pizza con funghi (mushrooms). This is me and my pizza at my fav Roman pizzeria “Dal Paino”…

me with mushroom pizza in Roma

me with mushroom pizza in Roma

But in recent years I’ve discovered the wonders of Naples-style pizza. Crust thicker at the edges and chewy. When done right. It’s great. Skyking delivers that taste and texture.

Skying Pizza Kingston Springs

Skying Pizza Kingston Springs

Wondering where they got that name? Skyking? Maybe it puts you in mind of the 50’s TV show. Do you know the show?

Sky King TV show

Sky King TV show

It’s about a pilot in Arizona who, in every episode, flies around and helps people or solves mysteries with his little 2-seater plane. I used to watch it and I used to love it. I was probably a fan because I always wanted to fly. As an adult I was after getting my pilot’s license. I took a few lessons out at Teterboro Airport in NJ, but then lack of time and enough money spirited me away. The flying bug was inspired by my father, who also wanted to get his pilot’s license. We used to go to JFK airport just to watch planes take off and land.

Sky King had a niece, too…Penny. She was also a flier. I don’t really remember her as much as Sky King himself, taking to the skies in his plane named Songbird.

Sky King TV show

Sky King TV show

I asked them at Skyking pizza. My now favorite pizzeria has no connection to the TV show. Just as well. I don’t think that massive pizza oven would fit into the plane.

Skyking's wood-burning pizza oven

Skyking’s wood-burning pizza oven

Aleppo Pepper…right next to the salt

Aleppo Pepper

Aleppo Pepper

Aleppo pepper has crept into my cooking over the years and has become as much a staple as salt (overstatement — close to salt) (salt is THE most necessary seasoning condiment).

But consider: aleppo can be thought of as a hot pepper, but it’s not that hot. For me, it spikes the food not heats it. It gives it a LIFT. Wakes it up. Use more and you can get heat. But it’s a subtle heat…it’s a sleepy heat…it’s a heat that feels tame and feisty, too. The flavor is smoky and deep. Dare I say: perfect?

What do I use it on? Aleppo can jump into almost anything except the most delicate and I leave it out of desserts.

Making a ricotta filling for ravioli? A little aleppo gives it some pep. (You know how ricotta can be. Creamy, but needs salt…and aleppo).

ravioli

ravioli

Roasting some asparagus? A little aleppo wakes them up.

roasting asparagus

roasting asparagus

Aleppo turns meats into soulful mouthfuls…

roasted lamb with fennel

roasted lamb with fennel

Tomato Sauce loves a little aleppo…

sun-dried tom sauce

Seafood and aleppo go out on dates all the time…

clams oreganata

clams oreganata

Savory Breads just love that little punch of aleppo…

tomato & olive baguette

tomato & olive baguette

Lasagna embraces a small shake of aleppo…

lasagna

lasagna

Frittata’s say yippee when aleppo visits….

peppers frittata

peppers frittata

And don’t forget pizza! What more can I say?

pizza

pizza

Get some! You’ll soon figure out how much you’d like for whatever dish you want to give a little nudge to – or a lot. I always find it at Penzeys Spices, or if you have a Savory Spice Shop near you, I know they carry it.

Enjoy the heat this winter! 🙂

 

Sweet Pear Pizza Recipe

 

Sweet Pear Pizza w Sage

Sweet Pear Pizza w Sage

This pizza blows me away. It is SO good. So easy too. It’s a taste you haven’t tasted before but you’ll be so happy to be introduced. Taste buds meet sweet pear pizza, prepare to be WOWED.

“Duly wowed!”

Start with 1 lb. of pizza dough. Make your own or buy a bag o’ pizza dough from the supermarket. Lightly oil a medium bowl. Place dough in bowl and then turn over so all sides are slightly oiled (stops dough from forming a “skin”). Cover loosely with a clean dish towel. Let it get to room temperature and rise a little bit, too…about 1-2 hours.

Meantime, peel and core 2 Bartlett pears. Cut into quarters and cut into thin slices.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment. Lightly oil the parchment. On a work surface dusted with flour, press out the dough (with your fingers) into a flat disc. Pick up the dough and drape a wide edge over your fists. Gentle move the dough edges over your fists, pumping your hands up and down so the dough stretches some more. Lay dough out on the prepared baking sheet. DOn’t worry about a perfect shape. It can be round. It can be oblong. Whatever.

Place pear slices in a nice pattern all over the pizza. leaving a narrow border around the edges. Press the pear slices into the dough a bit. Now sprinkle with about 1/2 cup sugar. Sprinkle some torn up sage leaves. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 20-25 minutes until crusty and golden. Cut into slices or squares to serve.

Pear PIzza

Pear PIzza