Pizza is our ABSOLUTE favourite food for entertaining guests – you simply can’t be uptight with pizza on the menu! We usually prepare a number of different toppings and everyone takes their turn creating their own unique pizza for the group to share (and vote for of course, we’re a competitive bunch)! Over the years we have found some amazing combinations (and some terrible ones, I’ll admit), and have recently started experimenting with unusual pizza ingredients like peaches and plums. And why not? Living in the Okanagan gives us unlimited access to fresh fruit!
You don’t have to make your own pizza dough, but I highly recommend it! There are some good store-made options out there if you aren’t up to the task of course. Note, the pizza dough makes enough for 8-10 pizzas, so you can multiply the toppings if you are making a ton of them, use the dough for other types of pizza, freeze it, or simply cut the recipe in half!
I bought some fabulous local gouda cheese from Grass Roots Dairy (I had a chance to visit their farm) along with fresh thyme, local honey and fresh plums from Nature’s Fare Markets in Kelowna. Talk about spoiled! Everything was locally sourced and as fresh as you can get. When you have a meal with only a few ingredients they need to be the best you can get your hands on.
A couple of tips: try to resist the temptation to pile too many toppings on, as a thin crust pizza really does best with a light hand, and make sure that your pizza stone is as hot as you can get it!
This pizza makes a terrific appetizer with a glass of white wine or an interesting dessert for those that don’t have a big sweet tooth. If you are feeling really ambitious the morning after your pizza party and have leftover dough (rarely the case for either scenario in our house, but it has happened), you can make a breakfast pizza! Simply layer on some ham (optional) and/or thinly sliced tomatoes, top with gouda cheese, and bake on your pizza stone until done. Top with a fried egg and some avocado slices along with a handful of arugula if desired and voila!
Pizza Crust: (makes 8-10 small pizzettas)
- 750 g white flour (use Tipo ’00 flour if you can or a strong bread flour)
- 200 g semolina flour
- 2 ½ cups lukewarm water
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 1 Tbsp. (or 1 x 8 oz packages) yeast
- 2 tsp. sea salt
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- Place your flour(s) and sea salt in a large bowl and whisk together. Create a well in the center.
- In a large measuring cup, mix together your lukewarm water and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Sprinkle in the yeast and let it sit for approximately 5 minutes, until the yeast starts to ferment.
- Pour the water/sugar/yeast mixture into the well along with the olive oil and stir together with a fork or large spoon until it is well mixed. Once it becomes too difficult to mix together with your fork or spoon, sprinkle extra flour on the dough and your hands and mix with your hands until the dough comes together in a ball.
- Place the dough on a well-floured flat surface and knead, pushing the dough using the palms of your hands, for approximately 10 minutes, until the dough looks smooth and stretchy. You may need to add extra flour as you go, being careful not to add too much to keep the dough from being too stiff.
- Place the ball of dough in a large bowl coated with olive oil, dust the top of the dough with flour, and cover with a clean dish towel and place in a warm draft-free area for about an hour, until the dough has doubled in size. Punch the dough down. At this point you can either refrigerate the dough overnight (or up to 2 days, covered with plastic wrap and occasionally punched down) or divide the dough into 4-6 portions (depending on how big you want your pizzas). I highly recommend making your dough in advance and letting it sit in the fridge as the longer ‘proof’ really makes a difference. Ensure that your pizza dough comes to room temperature before cooking (bring it out of the refrigerator 1-2 hours before you are ready to cook).
- Once ready to cook, heat your oven to the highest heat setting (500F for most ovens) and place your pizza stone in the oven for at least 20 minutes.
- Portion the dough into 8-10 balls and place on a well-floured surface. Using your hands, with your knuckles, (dusted with flour, along with the counter to prevent the dough from sticking) form your pizza crust 15-20 minutes before cooking your pizza on a flat surface dusted with semolina flour until it is nice and thin. Keep stretching it with your hands to make a flat pizza base (it doesn’t have to be round or perfect!).
- Remove the pizza stone from the oven, lay your rolled dough on the stone, add about 10 slices of plums, the leaves from 1 sprig of thyme, and top with ½ c. shredded gouda cheese. Bake until the pizza is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Garnish with extra thyme sprigs and drizzle with 1 Tbsp. honey. Cut and serve!
Plum, Thyme & Gouda Pizza (makes 2 pizzas)
- 1 c. thinly sliced plums, nectarines or peaches
- 1 c. shredded gouda cheese
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme (plus extra for garnish if desired)
- 2 Tbsp. honey
Place ½ of the plums evenly over a pizza crust leaving a 1/2” margin along the edge. Remove the leaves from one sprig of thyme and spread it evenly over the pizza; sprinkle ½ c. of the gouda over the pizza and bake for approximately 10 minutes or until golden brown. Drizzle with the honey and garnish with the extra sprigs of thyme.