I’ve been waiting for months to make this pizza.
There’s a restaurant around the corner from our house that serves a pizza topped with brussels sprouts, pancetta, and brie. I excitedly gave it a try over the summer but was pretty disappointed. It just wasn’t right – the flavors were too flowery, the crust was too delicate, and the brussels sprouts were too small. Plus, who eats brussels sprouts in August anyway?
I promised myself that as soon as the weather was a little more appropriate, I’d make my own version of the pizza at home. It was hard to wait, but I didn’t want to start eating all of my favorite all foods too early because I was afraid that I’d get burned out on them before the cool weather even started to set in. Finally, I decided that it was sufficiently Fall enough. This version is everything that I had hoped the restaurant’s would be: the dough is thick, chewy and charred; the meat is smokey; and the brussels sprouts are slightly caramelized and abundant.
I had originally planned to leave the pizza sauceless, but at the last second I grabbed a jar of apple butter. It was the right move. The subtle sweetness and warm spices of the apple butter were the perfect compliment to the more bitter sprouts. A pinch of crushed red pepper tied it all together.
I also tried a new technique that I had read about where the pizza starts to cook on the stovetop. It cuts down on the cooking time of a deep dish pizza, but also results in a super crispy bottom crust that I loved. A cast iron pan will give you the best char, but any oven safe pan will do. I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to a standard pizza stone or baking sheet again.
Enjoy with your favorite pumpkin or Octoberfest beer. Welcome, fall!
- 4 slices Bacon
- 1 (16 ounce) refrigerated Pizza Dough, at room temperature
- 2 Tablespoons Apple Butter
- ½ cup shredded Fontina
- ½ cup shredded Part-Skim Mozzarella
- 1 cup quartered Brussels Sprouts (about 10)
- 1 teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- Heat oven to 500ºF
- In a 10-inch cast-iron skillet set over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and crumble it. Set aside.
- Remove pan from heat and our out all but 1 teaspoon of bacon grease. Press dough into the skillet, spreading it to the edge. Spray with cooking oil, then spread with a thin layer of apple butter, leaving a 1-inch border. Top with cheeses. Toss brussels sprouts with vinegar; scatter over the cheeses. Top with bacon and season with red pepper flakes.
- Cook over medium heat until the bottom of the crust if crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the oven and bake until the edges of the brussels sprouts begin to char and the dough is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven and cut into 6 pieces.