Monday, November 9, 2009

Moving On Up

Getting the keys to your first home is something to celebrate. With Champagne. And since most of our kitchen was packed into boxes, pizza was an easy prep meal. Not your run-of-the-mill pepperoni, but a Special Occasion pizza. Caramelized Onion and Fig Pizza with Havarti.

On a trip to San Francisco a couple of years ago I had the gustatory pleasure of being treated to meal at Greens in Fort Mason. I had a fresh, tasty sampler platter, but Trevor ordered the most delicious pizza with caramelized onions and fresh figs. As I tasted it I knew I’d have to try to recreate it at home.

Caramelizing onions is easy, if a little time consuming. But the result is so delicious. The onions cease to be oniony and take on a sweet flavor that's completely alien to raw onion flavor.

I usually make my own pizza dough in a bread machine, but my 12-year-old bread machine died when I got it out to make the dough. It served me well and couldn’t have gone at a better time. (I didn’t have to lug it to our new place only to have it die on me there.) RIP Oster bread machine. I ended up making pizza dough in my food processor and it worked OK, but I prefer the ease of putting all the ingredients into a bread machine and forgetting about it until I hear a triple beep.

Below are my recipes for pizza dough and our fig pizza. For this meal we used Persephone Farm onions. And we got our wonderful Havarti from another PSU Farmers’ Market vendor, the Willamette Valley Cheese Co.

And coming soon … your absolute best friend in a move: the slow cooker.

Pizza Dough
Makes 2 large thin-crust pizzas or 4 small thin-crust pizzas.

1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 ½ cups stone-ground all-purpose flour, such as Bob’s Red Mill
½ cup stone-ground whole-wheat flour, such as Bob’s Red Mill
2 teaspoons (or 1 packet) quick-acting yeast
¾ teaspoons salt

Add all ingredients to the bowl of a bread machine following your manufacturer’s instructions. Select and start dough cycle. Rough is ready when cycle is complete.

Caramelized Onion and Fig Pizza with Havarti
Makes 1 14 ½-inch diameter thin-crust pizza. I used Mission figs for this recipe, but any kind will work.

½ pizza dough recipe listed above
1 tablespoon butter
1 ½ to 2 large onions, sliced
1 ¼ cups dried figs
2 cups Havarti or Fontina cheese, grated (or as much as desired)
¾ cup Mozzarella cheese, grated (or as much as desired)
all-purpose flour for rolling
nonstick cooking spray, such as Pam
cornmeal for dusting pizza pan

Place figs in a bowl of warm water and let soften up while you are cooking onions.

Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When butter is melted add onions. Cook for about 10 minutes until onions are soft and wilted. Turn heat to low and slowly cook the onions stirring occasionally for 30 to 40 minutes. Don’t rush the onions. As they cook they will turn a caramel brown and become sweet. Set aside when done and allow to cool.

Heat oven to 475˚ F. Drain figs and pat dry. Slice into ½-inch thick slices. Set aside.

Dust work surface with flour and roll out pizza dough to fit a large, round pizza pan. Alternately, you can use two cookie sheets and make 2 smaller, rectangle-shaped pizzas. Spray pizza pan with coking spray and dust with cornmeal. Place dough on pan. Top with onions and figs then cheeses.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted. Enjoy!


  1. Congratulations on the new home! I want to eat your pizza.

  2. Thanks! I'll have to make it for you sometime.