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Fear Conquered: Yellow Cheese on Pizza
“What are we doing about dinner?” I ask. We’re at Boyfriend Javelin’s parent’s home and it’s 8 PM. Actually, its after 8 PM and there’s nothing to eat in the house and there’s 8 people to feed.
Well. ACTUALLY, there’s always food in my in-laws house. There’s just not always someone who want to cook it. Or prep it. Or figure out what everybody else wants to eat. Because there’s definitely food in the house and definitely plenty of us capable of cooking it. Definitely.
There’s people like me. Or Boyfriend Javelin. Or Boyfriend Javelin’s dad. Or sister. Or sisters. Or mother. Really, any of us. Only contrary to my own insistence on cooking food from scratch at home, when I’m out and about (what does that mean, anyway?) I often can’t be bothered with cooking. Or prepping. Or really just boiling a pot of pasta and pouring on some sauce. It’s laziness, really. “Out and about” laziness.
“I’m hungry,” I prompt again, rifling through bags on the kitchen counter. Because I love potato chips and there’s almost always a bag somewhere on the kitchen counter of my in-laws. And I’m ravenous for potato chips because we don’t keep them stocked at home (because I’m ravenous). “What do you guys want to do for food?” I look expectantly at Boyfriend Javelin.
“I don’t care what we do,” Boyfriend Javelin says and yawns. “What does everyone else want to do?”
“We could do pizza,” Boyfriend Javelin’s mom says without looking up. She’s busy on the computer and I still can’t find chips.
“I’m good with that,” I say. Pizza in a box from a delivery place. Because there are some days I really can’t be bothered beyond lifting the top of a cardboard box and pulling out of piece of soggy dough piled high with cheese and toppings. I’m good with that.
“What kind of pizza do people want?” I ask persistently. I’m hungry, there’s no chips, and not a scrap of food in front of me.
Nobody wants to commit to a pizza topping. There’s a lot of “We could do...” and “What about...” and “I could go for...” and “I don’t care...” and “I’m just hungry...” So I vote for pepperoni and Boyfriend Javelin backs me up. More questions, more not finding chips, more indecision on something as simple as pizza toppings. Someone says supreme and everyone else latches on. Two pizzas - pepperoni and supreme.
“Who wants to order?” Boyfriend Javelin’s mom asks. I shrink back into the shadows at the edge of the kitchen and try to look inconspicuous. I hate ordering pizza. All the questions, all the crazy toppings to remember (pepperoni and supreme!) and randomly forgetting my address. Plus there’s the dialing of the phone number and waiting for someone to pick up. And the possibility of rejection when they do pick up. “Sorry, we don’t make pizzas for Marks anymore.”
I hate ordering pizza.
“So who’s ordering?” Boyfriend Javelin asks. He catches my eye and I look meaningfully at him.
“I’m hungry,” I hiss. But I’m not ordering. I don’t say that part but he knows. He always knows.
“Fine,” he growls and pulls out his phone. “Somebody give me the number and I’ll call.”
And 45 minutes later, hot pizza. I say hot rather loosely as it was more of a tepid warm. And I say pizza loosely because it’s more like a pillowy, partially baked bread slathered in sauce and piled with toppings. And I say 45 minutes loosely because we spent at least another 45 minutes deciding on pizza, toppings and location. So really that’s like 90 minutes for tepid, partially baked bread coated with sauce and toppings in the shape of a pizza.
But it was better than the chips I couldn’t find. And nobody had to waste time cooking. And it was so easy to order. Not that I did the ordering.
Now for my obvious segway: guess how long it takes to make this Apple, Bacon and Cheddar pizza?
I personally hate guessing games - too much pressure to get the right answer. Which is of course a random guess and so odds are it won’t be right. So guessing games seem entirely rigged for failure which makes me feel stupid.
And I hate feeling stupid.
But if you were to guess - because YOU enjoy guessing games - 45 minutes would be a reasonable guess. It’s actually also the right guess. It takes just 45 minutes to make this pizza entirely from scratch. (Except for the pizza dough which you can make in advance and store in the freezer. So I’m not counting the pizza dough.)
45 minutes. Which means if I had brought pizza dough with me to my in-laws, we could have made real pizza in less time than it took for order and delivery of the tepid boxed stuff. And since there were 8 of us, we could have made like 5 pizzas in that time. 5 pizzas, from scratch, really hot, in under 90 minutes. It’s fast.
But this pizza is really weird, right? It’s ok, I want you to agree with me on this. It’s weird. Weird like, “Why would I ever make this?” weird. Yellow cheese on a pizza is just wrong and what is pizza without tomato sauce? Weird.
It’s also really good. The crust is amazing. First, because my homemade pizza dough is awesome. Or it might just be I think it’s awesome because I made it. But others (Boyfriend Javelin, mostly) say it’s awesome too. It’s crispy, it’s chewy, it’s delicious. And anyway, I wouldn’t lie to you and tell you it’s awesome if it sucks. So the crust is awesome.
Then you add the balsamic reduction on top of the crust and the crust goes from amazing to...well...more amazing. There’s something in the tangy sweetness of the balsamic that just brings the crust to life. But not in a scary, zombie, living dead kind of way. I’m not into zombies. Unless they’re covered in the balsamic reduction and taste like pizza dough. Which sounds creepy, so moving on.
On top of the balsamic crust comes a pile of red onion (not a pile, more like a sprinkling). Next comes the green apple. Then the cheddar. Cheddar and green apple are great friends. More than friends. Meant to be together. I don’t know why. Granny’s a lady and the Big Cheese never tells.
That was corny and I apologize. It will happen again.
So balsamic, cheddar, onion and apple are all happening. Then comes the smoked bacon - great scott! You can’t stop eating. Well, I can’t stop eating. I don’t care if yellow cheeses don’t belong on pizzas. I don’t care if apples and onions don’t belong together (they do). And confound it all - balsamic reduction is SOOO much better than tomato sauce!
Well, it’s better on this pizza. With pepperoni - not so good.
Yellow cheese on a pizza? Ok, it’s still weird. But on this pizza, it’s so good and it’s the perfect cheese for the job. And I’m not afraid to admit it. Fear of yellow cheese on pizza conquered. (Oh yeah! Happy Halloween!)
STORY | PRINTABLE RECIPE | HUNGRY FOR TIPS?
|Made a balsamic reduction: Start with 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar|
|Pour vinegar into a small pot and simmer over medium heat until reduced by half (about 10 min)|
|While balsamic reduces, take 4 rashers of smoked bacon|
|Finely slice the bacon into pieces|
|Saute bacon in a hot pan until crispy|
|Drain bacon pieces on paper towels while you prepare other ingredients|
|While the bacon is sauteing, prepare pizza dough on a lightly floured board|
|Press out dough with your fingers or a rolling pin|
|Stretch dough to a 12-inch diameter|
|Prebake pizza on a ventilated pizza pan for 3-4 minutes in a 475F preheated oven|
|Before or while pizza dough pre-bakes, grate 8 oz of cheddar cheese|
|Peel and halve a medium red onion|
|Slice onion into pieces and separate pieces|
|Core and slice a medium tart green apple|
|Finely dice apple|
|Brush pre-baked pizza crust with balsamic reduction|
|Evenly sprinkle onion slices over pizza crust|
|Add apple pieces|
|Sprinkle cheddar cheese over apple and onion pieces|
|Sprinkle crispy bacon over cheddar cheese|
|Bake pizza for 8-10 minutes in preheated 475F oven until crust is crisp and cheese is melted|
|Slice and serve immediately|
STORY | PHOTO TUTORIAL | HUNGRY FOR TIPS?
Apple, Bacon and Cheddar Pizza
Prep Time: 35 min
Cook Time: 10 min
Ingredients (1x 12-inch pizza)
- 1 ball (1/4 recipe) homemade pizza dough
- 1 medium tart apple, thinly diced
- 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 4 rashers bacon, diced and sautéed until crisp
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- Preheat the oven; add the balsamic vinegar to a small uncovered pan over medium heat and reduce the vinegar by half (about 10 minutes)
- While the vinegar reduces, prepare the bacon, apple, onion and cheese and roll out the pizza dough and pre-bake the crust (for dough recipe technique and tips, see my Homemade Pizza Dough)
- Generously brush the pre-baked pizza crust with the vinegar reduction, then top with onion and apple; sprinkle grated cheese evenly over the onion and apple, then sprinkle bacon pieces evenly over the cheese
- Bake for 8-10 minutes until the crust is crisp and the cheese is melted; slice and serve immediately
An original recipe by Javelin Warrior. © 2012 Javelin Warrior. All rights reserved.
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Hungry for Tips?
- If you really, really, REALLY can't stomach yellow cheese on pizza, you can always use a good aged white cheddar cheese instead of yellow. But I like yellow and I love how colorful this pizza becomes with the green apple, purple onion and yellow cheese.
- Be generous with the balsamic reduction when brushing over the pre-baked crust. The reduction really ties this pizza together and you don't want the flavor to be lost by behind the apple, onion and cheese (and bacon).
- If your pizza dough puffs up dramatically during the pre-bake (as mine often does), just gently press the air out of the pockets before adding the toppings. Once you finish baking the pizza, unsightly air pockets disappear entirely (yet keep the dough crisp and almost airy).
- Don't overload the pizza with toppings - if you have a big green apple, you may not be able to use the whole apple. Same thing with onion. If you overload the crust, it will become soggy. Which is sad. Don't make sad pizza.
- 8 ounces of grated cheddar cheese looks like a lot, but it melts down quick so you'll need every bit of it. And the sharper the cheddar, the better.
- I recommend a granny smith or similar green apple for this pizza. I've Honey Crisp but the apple is a little too sweet and not quite tart enough.
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