One of my fondest childhood memories is of my paternal grandfather’s fabulous garden, filled with luscious purple grapes, red ripe tomatoes and of course, figs.
Everything my grandfather touched in his garden turned to gold. He had a green thumb like no other, and he cultivated the most amazing fruits and vegetables that belied his garden’s very modest size. Everything was delicious, but those figs were like sampling a slice of heaven to me, and until this day I look forward to early Fall when figs are in season.
A while ago we went to a fabulous pizza place where I had the most delicious pizza I’ve ever had. Granted, I was so hungry moose poop would have tasted good, but it was truly amazing. Thin, crispy crust with a fig and prosciutto topping to die for. But since the place is not exactly around the corner, and I had some figs on hand, I figured I’d do my best to duplicate it.
But…making pizza has always been challenging for me. Years ago I purchased a pizza stone and was mildly successful with it, but it cracked and I never replaced it because frankly, if I wanted pizza it was just a phone call away.
But now we live in the land where the buffalo roam (or at least bears) and even if we could get pizza delivered, it would look more like a frisbie than a pizza by the time it arrived.
So I tried my hand once again at making it on my own, but this time I was determined to grill it since I’m weird enough to think it’s not fun to have my oven at 500 degrees when it’s 90 outside.
The first two times was, frankly, meh. It tasted good, but the dough was a little too thick for my liking.
The third time, as they say, was the charm.
Now, this isn’t really a recipe on how to make pizza. It’s really more about technique because let’s face it, almost anything and everything goes on a pizza. It’s about what YOU like, not me, but if we like the same things, go ahead and copy this recipe exactly. Just be prepared to be shocked and awed.
- 1 Prepared Pizza Dough divided in half. Freeze the other half for another time.
- Cheese of your choice. I used smoked mozzarella and rosemary goat cheese, but that's only because that's what I had on hand.
- 1 Grilled Red Pepper, thinly sliced
- 1/2 Ripe Pear, thinly sliced
- Thin slices of ham or prosciutto (approximately 4)
- 2-4 Ripe Figs
- 1 Jar Fig jam
- 1/2 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
- Start by reducing your vinegar until it's fairly thick (about 5 minutes), then add the fig jam and stir well. Let cool.
- Place the pizza dough on your work surface. Lightly flour it and let it rest for at least 5 minutes.
- Using your fingers, press the dough outward, working your way around. Alternately, pick it up and stretch it, using the knuckle portion of your hands and working your way around the dough. When you're done, it should be a small circle of about 8" or so. Don't worry if you don't have a perfect circle. As you can see, I didn't either, but trust me, it doesn't effect the taste ;).
- Place it back on your work surface again, let it rest for at least 5 minutes and then repeat the previous step. Your dough should now be about 10" or so.
- Let it rest again and repeat. Now you should have a nice piece of dough that's fairly thin.
- Preheat your grill to the highest setting. It should be really, really HOT. While it's preheating, prepare your ingredients, i.e., slice your pear, cheese, pepper, etc.
- Carefully lubricate your grill well with olive oil. Using a flat cookie sheet (or large pizza spatula if you're lucky enough to have one) place the dough on the grill without any ingredients on it. This is key!
- After about 3 minutes, you should start to see grill marks on the side touching the grill. I like my pizza to have a slight char on it, so I usually let it cook for close to 5 minutes. But be careful, it can go from charred to burned really quick!
- Using your cookie sheet, remove dough from grill. Turn it over so the cooked side faces you and place your ingredients on top however you like. I started with the ham, then cheese, pears, peppers, figs and balsamic reduction.
- Place dough back onto grill using the cookie sheet, lower the heat slightly, cover and cook for about 5 minutes.
- The reason I wasn't very successful with my dough the first couple of times is I was impatient. I didn't wait long enough between working the dough, and I only did it twice. If you follow these directions, you should be good to go and I promise, it's worth it.