For as much as I enjoy eating pizza, you’d think I would make it regularly. I don’t! It’s just one of those things I never really got around to mastering in all these years of home cooking. Last week, when I asked you what I should do with all of the figs on my overflowing fig tree, many of you asked for a fig and goat cheese pizza recipe. Great idea! But I’m not a pizza expert, not even close… and you know that I only want the best recipes on this site. I’m not about to experiment on you! So, I called for help. My assistant Ashley has a boyfriend, Gary, who happens to be a culinary school graduate… AND he worked in a restaurant that served lots and lots of pizza. Score! In fact, Ashley and Gary met while working together in that very restaurant back in their home state of Indiana. How cute is that??
This is Gary, peppering our pizza. Don’t you love his hat?
Please excuse the drapey sheets in the background. My breakfast nook doubles as a photography studio. Don’t judge.
I told Gary I wanted to do a goat cheese pizza with fresh figs, caramelized onions, and fresh arugula with a maple-balsamic reduction drizzled on top. The toppings were easy, but I needed help with the crust. I wanted something simple, tried and true, and THIN… we only indulge in thin crust pizza nowadays, as I like to taste the toppings more than the bread (and we can have more pieces without feeling so guilty about the carbs). I also like the crunchy edges of a thin crust pizza. Together with Gary, we came up with something super simple and scrumptious. Don’t fear the pizza… anybody can do this!
For the caramelized onions, we were inspired by Melissa Clark’s genius method for getting sweet, intensely flavored onions in less than half the time. The process involves starting the onions in a dry pan. Sounds strange? Maybe, but by golly, it works! Melissa’s method is somewhat sparse on details (pan temp? time?), so I wrote out the details based on my experimentation below. I also added a short deglaze with water after the initial browning, which helped to unstick the onions from the pan and cut down on the amount of oil I needed to use to get the onions fully caramelized. Of course, you can caramelize them the old fashioned way if you want to… this method just makes the process go faster, and requires less oil.
I added a bit of maple syrup to the balsamic reduction, which gave it a sweet depth that paired beautifully with the figs. When reducing the balsamic you’ll be left with more than enough for two pizzas, so if you want to double the rest of the recipe, go for it– no need to make extra balsamic. You could also make a nice green salad and drizzle that extra balsamic on top. Delish! Make this for somebody you love, and expect many, many kisses in return.
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- 1/3 cup warm water (not hot!)
- 1 tsp sugar, honey or agave will also work well
- 1 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for brushing onto crust
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup fresh figs, sliced into sixths
- 1/2 cup fresh arugula
- 3 oz goat cheese
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Corn meal
- 1/2 cup good quality balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- To make dough: Combine water, sugar and yeast in a small bowl. Let sit until frothy, about 10 minutes. This will activate the yeast-- it should look foamy. If it doesn't, your yeast may be expired... go get some fresh yeast!
- In a large bowl, combine flour and kosher salt. Add the yeast mixture along with the olive oil and mix until thoroughly combined.
- Transfer dough to a floured surface. Knead the dough for 5 minutes and shape into a ball.
- Place the dough into an oiled mixing bowl and turn to coat. Cover and allow to rise for 1 ½ - 2 hours, or until it has doubled in size.
- Meanwhile, make the balsamic reduction and caramelized onions. To make the balsamic reduction, add the balsamic vinegar and maple syrup to a small saucepan and cook on medium-low heat until the liquid has reduced to ¼ its original volume, roughly 15 - 20 minutes. Check and stir regularly to make sure it doesn't burn.
- When finished, the reduction will be very dark in color, similar to chocolate syrup.
- To make caramelized onions, place sliced onions in a dry pan over medium-high heat and cover with a lid.
- Check and stir regularly, until a good amount of color has developed, about 5-7 minutes. Deglaze your pan using the ¼ cup of water, stir the onions well and be sure to scrape up the brown bits that have collected on the bottom of the pan. Once the water has cooked off, add 1 tbsp olive oil and salt and continue to cook the onions about another 5 minutes. When finished, the onions should have a nice deep dark brown color and a sweet smell.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, you are ready to assemble and bake the pizza. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and place a pizza stone or sheet pan into the oven to allow it to come to temperature as well. (A pizza stone is recommended; they are a great investment if you're planning to make a lot of pizza, because they help the crust bake evenly and crisply).Punch down the dough ball down flat and place on a floured surface. To roll out, start in the middle and roll towards the edges, giving a quarter turn with each back-and-forth motion. Add more flour as needed to prevent sticking. Roll out to roughly 13” across.
- Poke several small holes with a fork in the bottom of the crust.
- Sprinkle a good amount of corn meal onto a lightweight cutting board before transferring your rolled dough to the new surface for topping assembly. Brush the crust with olive oil.
- To slice figs, first remove stems, then cut in half. Cut each half into thirds. Then sprinkle the caramelized onions, sliced figs, and goat cheese across the top of the pizza. Be sure to sprinkle the toppings evenly.
- Carefully transfer the assembled pizza to your preheated pizza stone or sheet pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes or desired doneness.
- Allow the pizza to cool slightly, then top with fresh arugula and drizzle with the balsamic reduction. Slice, serve, and enjoy!
Other Great Recipe Ideas
The Pioneer Woman – Tomato Basil Pizza, Two Ways
Weelicious – Green Machine Pizza
Dinner in Venice – Spring Fling Pizza
Cookin’ Canuck: Vegetarian Naan Pizza with Eggplant and Cilantro