En español | Pizza is my family's favorite dish. We love it so much, we cohosted our younger daughter and son-in-law's rehearsal dinner at Pepe's Pizza in New Haven, Conn. After serving up enough pizza to stuff us all, the owners invited us back to the kitchen, where we took turns making our own. It was one of the highlights of that special weekend.
Now my older daughter is thinking about what kind of baby shower she'd like. No teacakes and finger sandwiches for her: She wants a coed party with a make-your-own pizza bar extravaganza.
When you enjoy pizza as often as we do, you have to get creative — starting with the crust. When there's time, I make it from scratch. As long as you've got a few hours to let the dough rise and a food processor, it only takes about five minutes to make the dough. For nights when homemade dough isn't possible, I keep balls of store-bought dough in the freezer (it thaws quickly in the microwave).
When we need the dough ready even sooner, I've developed a recipe for quick yeast-less flatbread dough (see below) made with bread flour, salt and a little oil and water. This dough can be made and rolled out even before the oven has had time to preheat.
Or, for a super-fast weeknight supper, I often pull out a couple of pocket-less pitas or naan bread from the freezer and make top-and-bake pizzas.
Right now our pizza toppings are shifting with the changing weather — from summer's bounty to fall's harvest. Last month we were topping pizzas with zucchini and peppers, eggplant and tomatoes. This month it's apples and onion, butternut squash and cabbage. We're adding a little fall pork, too.
These additions are just suggestions — feel free to mix and match toppings as you like. Caramelized onions would enhance any of these pizzas, while diced bacon would partner just as well with apple or butternut squash.
Flatbread Pizzas With Caramelized Onions, Apples and Cheddar
Makes 4 flatbread pizzas
- 1 cup bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup warm water, plus extra if necessary
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, halved and sliced thin
- 1/4 cup apple butter
- 1 apple, halved, cored and thinly sliced
- 4 ounces grated cheddar cheese (about 1 cup)
Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 500 degrees. Mix flour and salt in a food processor. Mix water and oil and pour over flour mixture; process to form a soft dough that when pressed comes together. If dough is too stiff (hard clay texture), process in another tablespoon of water; continue to process dough until well kneaded, about 15 seconds.
With floured hands, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and cut into quarters. Working with one quarter at a time, roll dough to an approximate 12- by-4-inch thin rectangle, coating with flour and turning as necessary to keep it from sticking.
Transfer to a large parchment- or silpat-lined rimless cookie sheet. (All 4 flatbreads should fit crosswise on the same sheet.)
Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet. Add onions and cook over high heat, stirring frequently, until spotty brown. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until impressively and uniformly caramelized, about 10 minutes longer.
Spread each dough rectangle with a portion of apple butter. Arrange apple slices over apple butter, top with onions, and then sprinkle with cheese. Bake until crisp and golden brown. Remove from oven and serve.