Caramelized pear and roasted walnut pizza

From Pizza on the Grill
Elizabeth Karmel and Bob Blumer
May 28, 2014
By Elizabeth Karmel and Bob Blumer
How much do we love this dessert pizza?! It is hard to believe that a pizza with three toppings  can taste this complex and delicious. But this is a perfect example of our philosophy that time invested in homemade toppings is time well spent. It’s so good, you’ll find plenty of uses for the walnut spread, like on crêpes or waffles or spreading it on bread and adding sliced bananas.
   
 CarmelizedPear  

The Pizza
  • 2 ripe pears, peeled
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon divided
  • 1 ball prepared pizza dough, at room temperature
  • 1/4  cup all-purpose flour, for rolling the dough
  • 1  cup Walnut Spread (see below)
  • 6  ounces Cambonzola or Saga blue
  •  cheese, cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips
Serves 2 to 4

Stand each pear upright and cut vertically into 1⁄4-inch-thick slices. Use a small spoon or paring knife to remove the core from the pear slices. Spread the brown sugar evenly on a small plate and dredge both sides of the pears in it to coat. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter. When it bubbles, gently add the pears and cook until nicely browned and soft, about 4 minutes per side. Remove from the heat and reserve for topping.

Mix the granulated sugar with 1⁄4 teaspoon of the cinnamon and knead into the dough. Set aside until ready to make pizza.

Preheat the grill, roll out and shape the dough, and grill the first side of the crust per the master instructions (Brush dough with 2 tablespoons walnut oil in place of olive oil). Use tongs to transfer it to a peel or rimless baking sheet. Flip the crust to reveal the grilled side.

Spread the entire surface with the walnut spread. Artfully arrange the pear slices on top and sprinkle with the cheese.

Finish grilling the pizza per the master instructions.

Remove from the grill and sprinkle with the remaining 1⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon. Slice and serve immediately.

Adventure Club: Finish with a crumble of your favorite toffee or a Heath bar.

Drink this: A late-harvest dessert wine, such as Tokai from Hungary, Sauterne from France, or ice wine from Canada or Germany, would be a luscious accompaniment for the walnut spread and caramelized pears.

Walnut Spread
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
  • 1  pound (2 cups) walnut halves or pieces, toasted
  • 3  tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2  tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2  tablespoons walnut oil
  • Pinch of kosher salt; more to taste
In a food processor, combine the toasted walnuts, 2 tablespoons of the granulated sugar, the maple syrup, 2 tablespoons walnut oil, and a pinch of salt, then process until the texture resembles peanut butter. Reserve 1 cup of it for topping and refrigerate the rest in an airtight container, where it will keep for 1 week.

Master Instructions: The Gas Grill Method
Preheat the grill by setting all the burners on high. After lighting, close the lid and leave on high for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat of all the burners to medium.

Meanwhile, sprinkle your work surface with the grits or polenta. Place the dough in the middle of the surface. You can either roll out the dough with a rolling pin, stretch it out with your hands, or press it out from the center against the work surface. Ideally, you want a 12-inch, organically shaped piece of dough – round, square, or rectangular – 1⁄8 to 1⁄4 inch thick (error on the thinner side for thin-crust pizza and on the thicker side for thick-crust pizza). Drizzle or brush both sides generously with oil. Our recipes call for 2 tablespoons, but we tend to use more oil when making our own pizzas, which results in a thinner and crispier crust.

Pick up the dough by the two corners closest to you. In one motion, lay it down flat on the cooking grate from back to front (as you would set a tablecloth down on a table). Close the lid and grill for 3 minutes (no peeking!), then check the crust and, if necessary, continue grilling a few more minutes until the bottom is well marked and nicely browned.

Use tongs to transfer the crust from the grill to a peel or rimless baking sheet. Close the lid of the grill. Flip the crust to reveal the grilled side. Follow the specific recipe directions for adding any sauce, toppings, and/or cheese.

Switch the grill to indirect heat by turning off the center burner(s) if you have a three- or four-burner grill. For a two-burner grill, turn off one burner. Set the pizza back on the grate over indirect heat (the unlit section) and grill, with the lid down, until the bottom is well browned and the cheese is melted, 7 to 10 minutes. For two-burner grills, rotate the pizza halfway through the cooking time.

Remove from the grill, garnish, and season as directed. Slice and serve immediately.

Master Instructions: The Charcoal Grill Method
Build a fire by lighting 50 to 60 charcoal briquettes in either a chimney starter or a pyramid-shaped mound on the bottom grate of your grill. Once the briquettes have become gray-ashed (20 to 30 minutes), move them all to one side of the grill.

Meanwhile, sprinkle your work surface with the grits or polenta. Place the dough in the middle of the surface. You can either roll out the dough with a rolling pin, stretch it out with your hands, or press it out from the center against the work surface. Ideally, you want a 12-inch by 6-inch, organically shaped piece of dough – a rectangle – 1⁄8 to 1⁄4 inch thick (error on the thinner side for thin-crust pizza and on the thicker side for thick-crust pizza). Drizzle or brush both sides generously with oil. Our recipes call for 2 tablespoons, but we tend to use more oil when making our own pizzas, which results in a thinner and crispier crust.

Pick up the dough by the two corners closest to you. In one motion, lay it down flat – over the side without briquettes – on the cooking grate from back to front (as you would set a tablecloth down on a table). Close the lid and grill for 3 minutes (no peeking!), then rotate the crust 180 degrees and continue grilling until the bottom is well marked and evenly browned, another 2 to 3 minutes.

Use tongs to transfer the crust from the grill to a peel or rimless baking sheet. Close the lid of the grill. Flip the crust to reveal the grilled side. Follow the specific recipe directions for adding any sauce, toppings, and/or cheese.

Set the pizza back on the grate over the side without briquettes and grill, with the lid down, for 4 to 5 minutes. Rotate the pizza 180 degrees and continue to grill with the lid down until the bottom is well browned and cheese is melted, another 4 to 5 minutes.

Remove from the grill, garnish, and season as directed. Slice and serve immediately.

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