Cooking

Homemade Fancy Pizza

The original Cal Italia pizza from Sacramento.

Back in May, I attended a conference in Sacramento, California. Pizza Rock was one of the few restaurants open downtown on a Sunday night. I love pizza, but most made in California tend to be what we call “dumpster pizza:” a boatload of toppings hiding low-quality sauce and crust. Not so here.

I shared the Cal Italia pizza with Alyssa, and it was pretty much universally agreed that this pizza rocked. But then again, how can you go wrong with the unexpected combination of sweet, salty and tangy?

Special equipment: a cast-iron skillet.

Ingredients

  • Store-bought pizza dough (each bag of Trader Joe’s dough makes 2 personal pizzas)
  • Fig preserves*
  • Grated part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • Gorgonzola cheese
  • Prosciutto, about 2 slices per personal pizza
  • Balsamic vinegar

Instructions

About 30 minutes before you want to start working with the dough, remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to rest. At the same time, preheat your oven or broiler (my broiler is in my oven, not a separate drawer) to 500 degrees. Set your oven rack close to the heating element, but far enough away that you have room to work. Put your cast iron skillet on the stove over high heat for preheating. The underside of the skillet will act as a ripping hot pizza stone, helping you to simulate pizza oven temperatures.

When you’re ready to begin working with the dough, CAREFULLY move the skillet to the oven and place it on the rack upside-down.

On a lightly floured surface, divide your dough in half and roll out into two round crusts. You’ll be making these pizzas one at a time. I transfer the active dough to a lightly floured pizza peel for easy transport to the oven.

Apply dabs of fig preserves directly to the dough. Cover with shredded mozzarella, and dot with gorgonzola crumbles. Tear prosciutto into smaller pieces and scatter over the cheese.

Carefully slide the pizza onto the underside of the skillet. Set your timer for 2 minutes, and don’t take your eyes off of it. Mine takes 4-5 minutes to cook, depending on dough thickness and how well I’ve preheated the cast iron, but I always, always check after 2 minutes just to be sure.

Using long-handled tongs or a long-handled spatula, remove the pizza from the oven and onto a plate or cutting board. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Cool for 5 minutes, then cut.

Results

Much to my surprise, the Tiny Kitchen Assistant loved it, even the gorgonzola-filled bites. “I wouldn’t have thought of putting salty ham on a pizza. This is definitely a Betty recipe.”

* I actually had fig preserves in my pantry; I can’t recall why. It seemed like enough of a sign that I needed to replicate this pizza at home.

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2 Responses

  1. Nancy says:

    I’ve never really liked pizza (probably because all I’ve ever known is california dumpster pizza), but this … this looks good. Yet another hint that I’m actually a California-born east coaster?

  2. Alisa says:

    It would explain a lot.

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