Pizza with Ricotta, Bacon and Wild Blueberry Jam
I was watching the cooking channel's episode of Unique Eats - Italian; featuring a pizzeria called Pulino's in New York. Chef Nate Appleman created.....among other 'drool worthy" pizza combinations; a Ricotta, Bacon and Wild Blueberry Jam pizza. I have seen sweet and savory pizza combinations before; fig and cheese, pineapple and ham, but this particular pizza combo appealed to me big time. It didn't hurt that whoever filmed this episode, shot porn style.....I mean... food porn style. The hot bubbling pizza just out of the brick oven, the up close "money shot", the chef slapping the blueberry jam over the oozing Ricotta, guest foodies in ecstasy, detailing the texture and taste. Yeah,..... I was all over this!
I went out and bought the best ingredients I could find and secretly hoped that the cashier would ask me why I was buying.....bacon or jam.....because in my sick, manic mind, cashiers are curious people and really care about why you're buying groceries in a grocery store. They don't worry about the line of people behind you, it's all about you. I was a bit excited, I think I even had "crazy eyes" going on.
You would have thought I came up with this idea.
Anyway, the results were what I thought they would be. We all loved it. The blueberry jam had just the right amount of sweetness, the bacon was maple saltiness and the ricotta was a mild enough cheese to make it all work. I did put a bit of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese in the ricotta, just to add a little punch of flavor. Please don't judge the pizza by any of the photo's or by the mess I made with the actual pizza. I can never take good pictures when I have company OR when I have a slice of pizza in one hand. You have to be pretty focused when your dealing with a three year old point and shoot camera and my mind was definitely someplace else.
Store bought pizza stone or DIY pizza stone
Pizza Peel or sideless cookie sheet
First the dough: Of course, there is perfectly good pizza dough at the supermarket, so please feel free to use it and save time.
I did find Nate Appleman's pizza dough recipe, but it called for a 3 day fermentation in the refrigerator. I am all for letting dough ferment. I think it really draws out the flavor of the dough, but I really wanted the pizza right away and at this point I was craving it. I had been experimenting with pizza dough a bit and I liked Giada's recipe, but even this recipe called for a 1 day fermentation time. I was ahead of the game, I made the dough the week before and froze it. It makes enough dough for 3 pizzas, so making it ahead and freezing it is well worth it.
Making pizza the week before, I found that my crust did not brown sufficiently. I then made the second pizza by pre-baking my pizza crust and it turned out golden brown on the edges and it was perfect.
When I made the Ricotta Pizza, I used the same method, but found that the edges browned too quickly and I also used the broiler to burn the top of the pizza a bit, but I ended up burning the dough. The second pizza I made, which was a cheese pizza came out perfectly without prebaking, so I am still experimenting with oven temperature, baking, prebaking and broiling the top. I will say that the either way, the dough was delicious, thin and crisp.
Bacon: I used a Vermont all natural Maple Bacon figuring it would compliment the Blueberry Jam. Feel free to use any bacon of your choosing. Cook ahead of time.
Ricotta: I used Calabro, but use whatever good Ricotta you have available.
Wild Blueberry Jam: I honestly think making my own jam would have been easy enough and much cheaper. I buy Stonewall Wild Maine Blueberry for convenience and quality.
Oven temperature and Pizza Stone: I preheat my oven for 1 hour at 500 degrees being careful to add the pizza stone to the oven before the heat is turned on. You can purchase your own pizza stone at any Home Depot for a few dollars. You will want to purchase an unglazed quarry stone, about an 1/2 - 2 inches thick. Just like a store bought pizza stone, you place it in the oven, then turn on the heat. There are other websites dedicated to making your own DIY pizza stone.
I do recommend a pizza peel or a side less cookie sheet so that you can slide your finished pizza onto the stone.
Pizza Dough (store bought or homemade)
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano
1lb Ricotta (good quality)
10oz Bacon (I used Vermont Maple)
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp Crushed Pepper
To Assemble: Fry Bacon ahead of time and drain on paper towel.
Add 1/2 cup Parmigiano- Reggiano, salt and pepper to Ricotta, set aside. Use a few tablespoons of cornmeal over the surface of your pizza peel so that the pizza slides right off the peel. Spread your 12 inch diameter dough over the surface of the pizza peel. Spread Ricotta mixture over dough, place bacon slices over Ricotta, then shake the pizza peel back and forth gently to make sure pizza does not stick to peel before transferring the pizza to the oven.
Before you slide your pizza onto the stone, I suggest putting a few tablespoons of cornmeal on the pizza stone and using the back of the spoon to distribute it evenly. If you put the cornmeal in too soon, it burns and I am not for burnt cornmeal.
Slide pizza on to the pre-heated pizza stone and cook for 10 minutes or longer or until surface of pizza is bubbly and crust is brown.