True innovation is exemplified in this unusual pizza recipe that revises a Tuscan classic, Grape focaccia (flat peasant bread). Two kinds of cheese are used not to mention a dash of sweet wine.
If when you hear grapes and Italy, images of Lucille Ball in a vat of grapes fighting with an Italian peasant woman come it mind, it only means you enjoy vintage television. Lucy may not be here anymore, but her spirit of discovery does live somewhere in the essence of this truly timeless Italian recipe.
This pizza recipe is detailed and somewhat complex, but totally worth it as you will see as soon as you taste one bite!
A pizza stone
1 (1/4-oz) package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup warm water (105-115°F)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup red sweet wine
1 tablespoon sugar (or splenda)
1 1/2 cups red seedless grapes (9 oz), halved lengthwise
5 ounces Italian Fontina, rind discarded and cheese cut into 1/4-inch dice (1 cup)
2 ounces Gorgonzola dolce (sweet), crumbled
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
To make dough
1. Mix yeast, 1 tablespoon flour, and 1/4 cup warm water in a cup and let stand about 5 minutes or until mixture appears creamy on surface. (If mixture isn’t creamy, something’s wrong and you need to start over with new yeast.)
2. Whisk salt into 1 1/4 cups flour in a large bowl, then add yeast mixture, oil, and remaining 1/2 cup warm water and stir until smooth. Mix in enough flour (1/4 to 1/2 cup) for dough to begin to pull away from side of bowl. (This dough will be a little wetter than conventional pizza doughs.)
3. Knead dough on a floured work surface with floured hands, for about 8 minutes; reflouring when dough becomes too sticky, but using as little flour as possible, until dough is smooth, soft, and elastic.
4. Form dough into a ball and dust generously with flour. Place in a medium bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
5. Let the dough rise in a warm and draft-free place until doubled in bulk, which should take about 11/4 hours.
Shape dough and make topping
1. Place pizza stone on oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 500°F at least 45 minutes before baking pizza.
2. Gently dredge dough in a bowl of flour to coat, then transfer to a parchment-lined pizza peel or flat baking sheet.
3.Lightly flour parchment (around dough). Pat out dough evenly with your fingers and stretch into a 13-inch round. (Do not handle dough more than necessary. If dough is sticky, dust it lightly with flour.)
4. Boil wine with splenda in a small heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring until splenda is dissolved; then boil, uncovered for about 5 minutes, until reduced to about 1 tablespoon.
5. Add grapes to saucepan and stir gently to coat with syrup; then transfer to a bowl. Add cheeses and pepper to bowl, then stir to combine.
1. Arrange topping on dough leaving a 1-inch border.
2. Slide pizza on parchment onto pizza stone. Bake pizza for 14-16 minutes, or until dough is crisp and browned and cheese is golden and bubbling in spots.
3. Transfer pizza to a cutting board. Cool 5 minutes and remove parchment before slicing.
Tip: Make sure the dough is at room temperature before shaping.