If you look back to last summer, I did a bacon and basil wrapped grilled peach appetizer that was so delicious. At the market yesterday, I smelled the fresh peaches as soon as I walked in the door so I headed straight for the produce section. Low and behold, it wasn’t the peaches that caught my eye, but the smooth-skinned nectarines the color of a tropical sunrise. I knew immediately I had to have them, and today’s Bacon and Nectarine Pizza is the glorious result!
I have to admit, my husband and my male houseguest both turned up their noses a bit when they asked what I was making. However, when it came out of the oven and I set it on the table, they were asking if I “only made one?” I can’t even describe to you how amazing the smoked bacon was alongside the nectarine slices on a perfect, homemade crust.
SCCCRRREEEEECCCHHHHH! I just felt a resounding halt in a majority of my readers when I said a homemade pizza crust. Normally, that would be where I would stop also, but I promise this crust is so easy you are going to consider including me in your will. (Maybe you can consider leaving your cast iron skillet collection to me….) Just trust me on this one. It’s going to be your go-to pizza crust. I couldn’t be more serious. And what’s even better, is this recipe makes 4 individual crusts, and you can freeze what you don’t use! So right now, I have 3 spare crusts ready in the freezer to thaw, roll out and cover with my favorite toppings! Woohoo!
Although the crust recipe makes 4 individual crusts, the toppings are for one pizza that serves 1-2. Adjust accordingly if you are going to make more than one pizza.
If you hadn’t noticed, I occasionally use parchment paper with my recipes. If you don’t have a roll, please go get one and keep it in the pantry. It doesn’t expire, and it’s a godsend for many recipes, including this one. Besides, parchment paper makes clean up a breeze, so it’s worth it just for that. It’s just as important as keeping foil and plastic wrap on hand, and it is conveniently next to the foil at the market.
You will need:
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 TBSP Active-dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
1 TBSP granulated sugar
1-2/3 cup of very warm water
2 teaspoons EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
2-3 slices of smoked bacon, cooked crispy and crumbled or cut into small pieces
5-6 fresh large basil leaves, thinly sliced into threads.
1 cup grated white cheese of your choice (I used champagne cheese, but any white cheese like Havarti, Gruyere or Monterey jack will do.)
1/4 cup feta cheese or freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 ripe nectarine, cut into thin slices (do not peel)
1. In a large bowl or stand up mixer, put the very warm water, sugar and yeast. Stir until dissolved. Allow to stand for 10 minutes to proof. This means it will get foamy on top as the yeast grows and bubbles. If your water is too hot or too cold, the yeast will either die or won’t grow and you have to start over.
2. Stir in the salt and oil.
3. Add the flour a little at a time, using a dough hook if you are using a stand-up mixer. If doing it by hand, use a large spoon and mix until combined.
4. Knead for 10 minutes on low speed, or by hand until it is smooth and elastic.
5. Put a bit of olive oil in a large bowl and smear around to coat the inside. Place your ball of kneaded dough in the bowl, then turn the dough over so that it is coated in oil. Cover the bowl with a cloth or loose plastic wrap and place in a warm place until double. (About an hour.)
Prior to shaping your crust, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
6. Punch down the dough and form in to a ball shape. Cut horizontally through the middle, and then vertically to make 4 pieces that are roughly the same size.
7. One piece makes one pizza that serves 1-2 people. Wrap the extra pieces in plastic wrap and then place in a ziplock style bag with as much air removed as possible and place in freezer. These will keep for several months, and only require thawing on the counter before you roll and top with desired toppings!
8. Using your fingers and hands, press the pizza into as much of a circle or rectangle shape as you can. (if your fingers stick, dip them in flour.) If the dough is elastic and keeps shrinking back, allow it to rest for 10 minutes and then go back to it. Once you have the desired shape, use a rolling pin to get the dough thin. Don’t worry if you make a hole, you can smoosh the dough back together with your fingers and no one will know. Don’t go for a perfect shape; your pizza is going to look “rustic.”
9. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment, and place the dough on the parchment. Repair any holes or tears by pressing the dough together.
10. Sprinkle the grated cheese evenly, all over the crust.
11. Evenly place all of the nectarine slices over the grated cheese.
12. Sprinkle the bacon crumbles over the entire pizza.
13. Sprinkle with the feta or parmesan.
Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the crust is medium brown around the edges and slightly browned underneath.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the fresh sliced basil leaves, and drizzle with the balsamic glaze.
Slice and serve.
It’s seriously a party in your mouth. No kidding. Don’t forget to mention me in your will.
Have a great week! ~ April