There are some things that I see on menus or at events where I go ummm, I think I’m just gonna skip this one or pass over. This recipe was one of them initially, but … since I was at a strawberry event, I did feel the need to at the very least try a piece of the goat cheese pizza they served, especially since I sort of have a major love affair with goat cheese.
I’m really really glad that I did. It was so good. So so good. It’s possible that I ate slightly more than my share of the pizza. I was most definitely going to repeat this one at home. The question was when… Fortunately I had a potluck to attend the next week after the strawberry event and was supposed to bring an appetizer.
Guess what I made!
I altered the recipe to some degree – of course – because I can’t not do that. The original recipe made a lot of appetizers. I don’t generally need that much. The way I cook and host, I tend to have a lot of variety of foods and don’t need quite so much as it was going to make. I also made extra of the balsamic reduction because I do so love balsamic. That and … even Mister Man liked the reduction, shocking!
The version posted below is my adaptation. The original recipe can be found in Strawberry Recipes for Everyday published by California Strawberries. And I actually have a copy of this cookbook to give away as soon as I put up the post on that. Annnnd post is up. Go enter the cookbook giveaway.
When I put this out at the potluck, it got a few “ummm what is this?” looks at the start. Once someone dug in and took a bite though? Let’s just say it disappeared. I had more requests for this recipe than I have in a long time. My husband overheard a compliment from someone else that was over the top awesome. This is definitely one I’ll make again, and not only because it’s so unique.
Strawberry Goat Cheese Pizza
1/3 c hot water (not steaming, but 110 or so degrees)
1 T yeast
1/2 t sugar
1 c flour
1/2 t salt
1 T olive oil (divided)
1 T white balsamic vinegar
1/4 c “regular” balsamic vinegar
4 oz goat cheese, divided (set out 2 or slightly more to soften, keep the rest cold)
1 c strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/2 c arugula
In your bowl, add the water and sprinkle the yeast atop it. Add the sugar and 2 t of oil over it. Stir briefly, then add half the flour and stir until combined. Add the salt and mix again until it’s incorporated. Add the remaining half cup of flour slowly, stopping when you have reached a good consistency (depending on humidity, you may need more or less flour – you want it not sticky but not dry). Keep mixing on low with your dough hook for five minutes until it feels soft (or knead by hand for 10 or so minutes). Let it rest, covered, for 20 to 30 minutes while you prep the remaining ingredients.
Set out 2 ounces or a little more of the goat cheese on the counter to begin softening. In a nonreactive saucepan, place the white balsamic and heat simmering until it’s reduced by half. Whisk in the remaining 1 t of olive oil into the balsamic. Pour this over the hulled and quartered strawberries. Stir to ensure they’re all coated, then let them sit. Reduce the balsamic the same way, simmering until it’s reduced into a nice thick syrup, a little over halfway reduced (not so much that it’s solid and umm burned like I may have the first time I did it because I wasn’t paying attention).
Remove your dough from the bowl and roll it into the shape you desire – I like a long rectangle for this appetizer – on a lightly floured surface. The dough shouldn’t be too thin, but you want the rectangle to stretch about 8×14 inches or so – rough measurements on my part. Bake in a 400 degree oven for ten or so minutes. You want the crust to just start browning.
Once removed from the oven, immediately spread the softened goat cheese on the crust to within a half inch of the edge. Do this while it’s still hot, and the goat cheese will spread much more easily.
Arrange the strawberries on the goat cheese crust, not perfectly, but no clumps either. I found putting them cut side down helped in cutting the pizza later – and it looked nice, too. Bake this again for another seven or so minutes.
While the pizza is baking a second time, get your arugula ready (yes, this is really sad looking arugula. It was all I had on hand, and I was desperate. Good news, you want it to wilt a little on the hot pizza, so it was fine). I like this chiffonaded, as it makes the arugula easier to eat. To do this, simply gather your arugula together in a pile…
Then you roll it into itself so that it makes a nice log. Once you have it like this, use one hand to hold it and the other to slice it like you would a roast. This makes great ribbons and can be used for any leafy thing you want to cut quickly and prettily.
Once the pizza comes out of the oven, sprinkle it with the remaining goat cheese that you’ve kept cold. Just crumble it with your fingers over the pizza. If you need more, go for it! Goat cheese is yummy. Add a little black pepper atop this, then distribute the arugula.
This works to serve immediately, although it can also be held a couple hours and served room temperature or cold from the fridge. Trust me on this one. It disappeared quickly.
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