Some days it takes a little more than mushrooms or pepperoni on your pizza to get you going. Living in California has really changed my perspective on pizza. Where I once would scoff at the idea of ham and pineapple on pizza I now embrace pizza toppings like barely cooked egg, zucchini blossoms and lettuce. What’s gotten in to me? I’m sure it had something to do with the fact that when I first moved out here I couldn’t find a good tasting ‘classic’ pizza. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. I’ve gotten to the point that I now make gourmet pizza recipes at home. One of my favorites is fig and prosciutto pizza. But now I’m changing it up to prosciutto pizza with figs.
What’s the difference you ask? Since prosciutto is so salty, it’s generally used quite sparingly on the pizza (it’s salty taste can overpower anything else on the pie). But by using the right ingredients, you can pile on the prosciutto and not feel like you’re sucking on a salt lick.
Delicious tasting food is a result of balance: sweet, salty, sour, bitter and that fifth elusive flavor element umami. Of all my gourmet pizza recipes, this is the one recipe that has all of them. Balancing sweet and salty can be a bit of a trick that requires experimentation (and often it’s not a very pleasant experiment for your taste buds). But it’s not always just about sweet vs. salty. Something else that you can use to help balance these things is a neutral flavor/ingredient, like the ricotta cheese in this recipe.
Enough with the boring lesson. This prosciutto pizza is so good, you’re probably going to want to make 2 of them. That being said, a perfect use for this recipe is for small, bite sized appetizers. Simply roll out the pizza dough and cut it into small circles and add a bit of all the toppings and it’s a delicious little bite your guests can just pop into their mouths.
So what’s my secret ingredient to achieving balance (no, not in my life…if only I could find that)? (Just because I was calling it fig pizza, don’t be so sure that it’s figs.) It’s pears. I know you’ve seen recipes for prosciutto pizza with pears before and probably some that use fig preserves, instead of fresh figs, and of course the pizza’s topped with a salad. There’s a good reason for that. Those flavors work really well together. But instead of using fresh sliced pears, I cook them down into a sort of pear sauce/pear jam/pear yumminess.
This whole gourmet pizza comes together in less than 30 minutes, so it’s something you can make on a busy work night. Oh, and leftovers might even taste better than on the first day. Might.
Are you part of the problem or part of the cure?
Recipe: Fig and Prosciutto Pizza
- 2 Tablespoons Butter
- 2 Large Bartlett Pears (peeled, cored and diced)
- 3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
- Squeeze of Fresh Lemon Juice
- Pinch of Kosher Salt
- 6 Ounce Package of Prosciutto (chopped)
- 7-8 Figs (stemmed and sliced)
- Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Ricotta Cheese
- 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Preheat oven according to directions for the pizza dough you are using.
- Add butter to a medium saute pan and heat over medium high heat.
- Once butter has melted, add the pears and brown sugar.
- As you cook the pears, gently break them up with a fork or spatula. Occasionally stir to keep from burning and sticking.
- While cooking, add a small squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of kosher salt.
- Cook the pears until almost all of the bubbling liquid is gone and some of the pear mixture has browned.
- Remove from heat.
- While the pears are cooking, toss the chopped prosciutto into another saute pan and cook until just crisp (it will continue to crisp up when you bake it on the pizza).
- Remove from heat.
- Roll out, or cut, the pizza dough into your desired shape.
- Brush dough with a bit of olive oil.
- Spoon ricotta cheese onto the dough. I used around 1/2 – 3/4 cup. Do not use the entire container. You just want there to be enough cheese to give the pizza some heft.
- Spoon all of the pear mixture on top of the cheese. The heat from the pears will make it easy for you to spread both ingredients evenly over the dough.
- Dot the pizza with the sliced figs. You can use as many slices as you wish. (I used almost all of mine.)
- Top the pizza with the crisped prosciutto.
- Sprinkle the thyme over the top of everything, followed with several (generous) grinds of black pepper.
- Bake on a cornmeal dusted pizza pan or stone according to your dough directions.
If you like, you could also drizzle the baked pizza with a bit of balsamic vinegar. Taste the pizza first, to decide if you want to do that or not.
You could also cut the dough into small circles, or squares, and add the toppings. This would give you a fantastic appetizer.
Preparation time: 30 minute(s)
Cooking time: 15 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 8
Culinary tradition: USA (General)
Recipe by Pamela Braun.[/print_this]