Ever since I discovered the fantastic pre-made pizza dough at Surfas, I’ve been making pizzas at least once a fortnight. In that time, I’ve burned through two pizza stones and set off the fire alarm no fewer than 8 times.
You see, to make a pizza with a crisp crust, you need the hottest oven you can get. I’ve been pushing the upper limits of our Viking on the “convection broil” setting, which gets things to a piping 550 degrees, plus a fan to circulate the air around so it bakes evenly on the top and bottom.
But I’ve been thinking…
Wouldn’t an 800 degree pizza oven be nice? The fireplace in our kitchen never gets used, except as Teddy’s occasional resting spot. Surely I’d get much more enjoyment out of a pizza oven than she would out of her afternoon nap.
From the look on Teddy’s face, she’s having none of it. This hearth is mine, she stares. We’ll see about that.
In the meantime, this recipe gets you pretty close to a pizza-oven-style pie while just barely riding the edge of burning down your house.
A couple tips:
- Make sure you have a pizza stone that can handle high temperatures. My Emile Henry baking stone goes up to 750 degrees, so I’m covered. It’s also super easy to clean and maintain – you can even put it in the dishwasher (unlike the off-white porous pizza stones that are quite finicky to care for).
- Try not to spill ingredients on the floor of the oven. That’s where the pesky fire alarm part kicks in. I find it helpful to parbake the crust first, which makes it extra crisp but also prevents you from accidentally dumping a doughy mess of toppings onto your oven floor (no one said I was graceful in the kitchen).
- It’s all about the crust. It’s true, the crust is one of the biggest things separating a good pizza from a great pizza. If you want to be all puritanical about it, yes, homemade dough is probably better. But who has the time to do that? Get a high-quality pre-made pizza dough and just tell everyone you made it yourself. Resourcefulness is a virtue.
The only question remains… what kind of pizza do you want to make? I operate under the philosophy “it’s not worth having if it doesn’t have truffles.” And truffles don’t mix well with pizza sauce, so this is a white pizza. I made a bazillion pseudo-Pizza Biancas until I realized I needed to try something new – this caramelized onion and thyme version is a nice twist.
So let’s get started, shall we?
Truffle & Caramelized Onion Pizza
- 1 lb Pizza Dough: Nancy Silverton has a great recipe, or you can buy pre-made dough to save a little time – I’m hooked on the Surfas brand
- Flour, for dusting
- Cornmeal, for dusting
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp. garlic olive oil
- 8 oz Sottocenere, or other truffle cheese, grated
- 2 oz Parmesan Reggiano, finely grated
- 1 tbsp. fresh thyme
- Sea salt, to taste
- White truffle oil, to taste
Caramelized Onions: Thinly slice onions, preferable on a mandoline so the slices are super thin & even. This allows them to cook more quickly and evenly, plus mandolines are fun (use protection).
Melt butter in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat (don’t use non-stick… it won’t caramelize as well). Add onions and saute, stirring occasionally until browned. This will take at least 20 minutes and your big pile of onions will shrivel into a tiny delicious heap.
Remove from the heat and spread on paper towels to blot dry.
Pizza: 1 hour before baking, place your pizza stone on the top rack in a cold oven and heat oven to 500 degrees F. If using the Convection Broil setting, place stone on the middle rack (otherwise the top would burn).
With lightly flour-dusted hands, stretch pizza dough into desired size. Don’t overwork it or the bread will get tough and weird (I overworked the one in this picture and it never quite recovered – remember, less is more). Scatter a little cornmeal on your big pizza spatula and lay pizza dough on top. Brush the entire pizza surface with garlic oil. Transfer pizza dough onto the pizza stone in the oven.
Bake for approx 2 min on Convection Broil or about 5-7 min in a 500 degree oven, until the crust is lightly browned on top. Either remove the parbaked crust from the oven to add toppings, or just pull out the oven rack (be careful, it’s really hot).
Scatter truffle cheese all over the pizza, leaving a naked 1 inch crust. Scatter parmesan on top. Add caramelized onions and sprinkle with thyme. Brush the crust with garlic oil. Return pizza to the oven and cook for another 2 min on Convection Broil or another 5-7 min in a 500 degree oven. The top should be bubbly and lightly browned and the bottom side of the pizza should be crisp and lightly browned. Go a few minutes longer if you like a particularly crisp pizza, just be careful not to let the top burn.
Remove pizza from oven and sprinkle with sea salt. Extra credit if you drizzle a little white truffle oil on top. Slice and serve!Pin It