Pizza with Nectarines, Brie and Creme Fraiche
If you follow this blog you probably know that I make a lot of pizzas. I do have some favourites (Roasted Peppers with Goat Cheese is one) but I also have new surprises every week. I get my inspiration from what is in the market, in my fridge or on my kitchen counter. This week I had a bunch of beautiful nectarines hanging around wondering what’s to become of them. Some made it into a beautiful Late Summer Fruit Compote and others ended up on top of this lovely pizza. A few wedges of triple creme Brie and a drizzle of creme fraiche finished it off beautifully, along with a drizzle of Okanagan honey and a sprinkling of micro greens for garnish.
I made the pizza dough overnight this time. If you want to see how the pros do it check out Peter Reinhart’s book American Pie, or Chad Robertson’s Tartine Bread, or Jim Lahey’s My Pizza, all books that should be in every foddie’s library. I combined the flour, yeast, salt and oil in a bowl, mixed it with a spoon and let it sit until the next day when I was ready to proceed. It had time to develop flavour and texture and looked lovely just sitting there on the counter in a beautiful bowl, slight yeasty aroma permeating the kitchen, promising a pizza treat for later in the day. Once I made the pizzas, the portion of unused dough was rolled into individual pizza size balls and went into the fridge to rest for a day or two until I decide what to make with it later. I have some plans for it that do not include pizza. Stay tuned.
For the pizza dough:
3 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon dry yeast
11/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1/4 cup olive oil
Place flour, yeast and salt in a bowl and mix.
Add the water and blend it into the flour with a wooden spoon.
Add the oil and continue mixing to combine it with the flour.
Leave to rest overnight, covered with plastic wrap.
When ready to proceed turn the dough out of the bowl onto a floured counter or wooden board. Cut the dough into 4 pieces and briefly knead each piece, adding a little flour as necessary to keep it from sticking too much. Don’t add too much flour though, just the minimum necessary to make it workable.
Keep the portion you will be using immediately covered for 30 minutes, to allow the dough to relax. Wrap the remaining pieces in plastic and refrigerate for later use.
Roll or stretch the pizza dough to the size of pizza you are making. Don’t worry about making it evenly round. rustic irregular shapes are also lovely.
Once you have stretched it to the desired shape lay the dough over a piece of parchment paper about 1-2 inches larger than the pizza. I use the parchment because I find it hard to get the pizza into the oven otherwise. Yes, I know about the coarse cornmeal etc, still, I use parchment. You can remove the paper after a couple of minutes in the oven and let it finish cooking directly on the stone.
Drizzle a good olive oil over the dough and with a brush or clean hands rub the oil all over the dough, including the edges.
Proceed with the topping:
2 ripe nectarines, cut into thin wedges
Triple creme Brie, cut into thin wedges
1/3 cup creme fraiche (see below)
Micro greens or arugula or baby greens for garnish
Assembling the pizza:
Lay the nectarine wedges over the pizza in a concentric design, keeping them fairly close together.
Lay a few wedges of Brie over the nectarine slices as place one in the middle of the pizza as well.
Drizzle some of the creme fraiche over the nectarine wedges, not too much.
Baking the pizza:
Place a pizza stone in the oven on the center rack and preheat to it highest setting, hopefully 500℉ or higher. You should do it an hour in advance so the oven is really hot. Trust me on this, pizza dough need a very high temperature to become crisp and gorgeous.
When the oven is hot enough slide a pizza peel under the parchment that your pizza is sitting in and slide it onto the hot stone in the oven.
Let it cook until the crust is nice and puffy and slightly charred in places. The cheese will melt over the nectarines.
When the pizza is ready remove it from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool. If you still have the parchment under the pizza then pull it out and discard or reuse.
Serving the pizza:
When you remove the pizza from the oven dip a brush in olive oil and brush the edges with the oil. Immediately sprinkle coarse sea salt over the edges, the oil will help the salt stick.
Drizzle a little honey over the pizza, not too much, just a hint.
Cut into wedges and serve immediately.
If you have to reheat it later, reheat in a hot oven for a few minutes.