Fall is definitely my favorite season. I know there’s a lot to be said for spring especially coming out of a long hard winter. But Autumn in all its glory, just can’t be surpassed. Apples are coming into season, no matter how you like them there’s an apple for you, crisp, sweet, tart, and oh so juicy!
Spending most of my life in the New Jersey, I’ve been spoiled by all of the wonderful produce we have available, and this time of year as we see the last of the summer crop at the market, the fall selections are taking their place. Winter squash in so many shapes, and colors, pumpkins of all sizes, sweet potatoes, pears and my favorite apples….sigh
Spending my early childhood in Texas, I grew up loving apple butter, and unless you’re making it yourself the only name I trust is Musselman’s, and you’ll always find a jar or two in my pantry. After all what’s a biscuit without apple butter? It has been finding it’s way into different dishes, and Lisa jokingly suggested I use it for a pizza, and the more I thought about it the better it started to sound!
I didn’t want to make a dessert pizza, I wanted a savory pizza , one with a blend of complex flavors…..a tribute to fall and everything I love about it. So I started testing. I went through a variety of tomato products trying to find just the right one, but it was worth it. If you’re expecting a traditional style pizza, you’re not going to be happy. But for that fall afternoon, when the weather has turned a little cool and you need sweater, my apple butter pizza will be a just what the doctor ordered, as you celebrate the season!
- 3 ½ cup (420 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 ¼ cup (300 ml) water
- 1 ¾ tsp. (9 g) active dry yeast
- 1 ¼ tsp. (6 g) sugar
- 1 ¾ tsp. (9 g) sea salt
- 1 tbsp. (15 ml) olive oil
- ½ cup (120 ml) Mussleman’s Apple Butter
- ½ cup (120 ml) Contadina Tomato Paste with Italian herbs
- ½ tart apple (I used Gala) –sliced thin
- ½ cup ( 113 g) gorgonzola cheese
- ½ cup (10 g)baby arugula leaves
- 2 tbsp. (30 g) toasted pine nuts
- In your stand mixer bowl, add 1 ¼ cups of warm water (100 -105 degrees F or 38-40 C)
- Sprinkle dry active yeast and sugar on top of water, allow to sit for 10 minutes until yeast gets creamy
- In another bowl, mix flour with sea salt
- Add flour to yeast mixture and using a dough hook, mix until a coarse ball has formed on the dough hook (approx., 2-3 minutes)
- Allow dough to rest in bowl, with a damp towel covering the bowl, for 5 minutes.
- Continue to mix using dough hook on medium to low speed for about 2 more minutes
- (if the dough is too sticky to hold its shape add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time until its firm enough. If the dough is too dry add water one tablespoon at a time until moist enough)
- Coat a bowl with extra virgin olive oil and place the dough into the bowl and coat dough with olive oil, place a damp kitchen towel over the bowl and allow to rise for 40 minutes or until doubled in size.
- Divide dough into 2 dough balls and place on a floured surface and cover with a damp kitchen towel (not terry) and allow to rise until doubled in size (about 2 hours)
- Form dough into 12-14 inch pizza (free form) placing on pizza peel or cookie sheet .
- I used a pizza stone on my grill (my grill goes to 650 degrees when closed), you can make the pizza in a household oven if you like, just increase the time and set your oven to 450. Preheat your oven 20 minutes before you are ready to use it
- Mix apple butter and tomato paste together to make your pizza sauce
- Spread apple butter pizza sauce on your formed dough
- Place sliced apples randomly on top of sauce
- Use ½ of gorgonzola cheese, sprinkle on top of your pizza (try to hit the apples with some of the cheese)
- Bake until bottom of pizza crust is browned 5-6 minutes in a grill 11-14 in your oven
- Remove pizza from oven and top with baby arugula leaves and the remainder of the gorgonzola crumbles, and toasted pine nuts.
- Cut into slices and serve immediately with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and crushed red peppers if you like a little heat on your pizza.
Remember to take some time to enjoy the season. Share a cup of hot cider with a friend or loved one, take a walk through the park and marvel at the wonders of nature as the leaves change to the colors of fall right before our eyes……. Time passes much to quickly my friends, don’t hurry it along, stop and enjoy the moment.