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Fig, Almond, and Monterey Jack Pizza

Photograph by Sara Remington

We adore pizza. When The Pizza Bible came across our desk, we were ecstatic to take 11-time world Champion Tony Gemignani's Master Class in all things pizza. Not only are we experts now, we're making it in nine different regional styles. From Chicago deep-dish to cracker-thin, the book's spectrum is wide and wonderful, with something to suit every mood and occasion. If you've ever wanted to make pizzeria-style pizza at home and succeed at it— you absolutely must check it out.

Mission figs, almonds, and Monterey Jack are three of California’s proudest food products. No wonder they taste so good together. I like adding ripe figs to pizzas during the last few minutes of baking. They don’t really cook; they just get warm enough to bring out their sweet caramel flavor. The nutty taste of the einkorn wheat in the dough is just right with this combo of fruit, nuts, and cheese.

RECIPE: Fig, Almond, and Monterey Jack Pizza

Yields 1 13-inch pizza; 6 slices

Ingredients

  • 1 (13-ounce/370-gram) ball Einkorn Dough (see accompanying recipe)
  • Flour, for dusting
  • 8 ounces (225 grams) watercress (2 to 3 bunches)
  • Olive oil, for sautéing
  • Fine sea salt
  • 6 ounces (170 grams) Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (1-1/2 cups)
  • 2 large figs, preferably Mission figs, cut into slices 1/4 inch thick
  • 1-1/2 ounces (45 grams) fresh goat cheese, preferably Laura Chenel
  • 12 salted roasted almonds, slivered
  • 1 orange

Directions

  1. Remove the dough ball from the refrigerator and leave wrapped at room temperature until the dough warms to 55°F to 57°F. Meanwhile, set up the oven with two baking steels or pizza stones and preheat to 500°F for 1 hour .
  2. Meanwhile, pull the leaves from the watercress and discard the stems.
  3. You should have about 3 cups (90 grams) lightly packed leaves.
  4. Heat a film of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the watercress leaves and a sprinkle of salt and stir constantly for about 45 seconds, until the leaves have wilted. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  5. When you are ready to open the dough, turn on the broiler. (If your oven has multiple broiler settings, set it on the highest setting the first time you try this pizza. If you find that the top of your pizza is getting too dark before the crust is fully baked, switch to the medium setting.)
  6. Sprinkle a wooden peel with flour, then move the dough to the peel and dust the top. Open the dough on the peel to a 13-inch round with a slightly raised edge. As you work, shake the peel forward and backward to ensure the dough isn’t sticking. As noted in its recipe, this dough is less elastic than other doughs in the book and pushes out easily, so you may want to push it out, rather than stretch it, to avoid tearing.
  7. Mound the Monterey Jack in the center of the dough and use your fingertips to spread it out evenly over the surface, leaving a 3/4-inch border.
  8. Because broilers have different strengths, keep a watchful eye on the pizza, as it can burn quickly. Slide the pizza onto the top steel. Broil for 1 to 11/2 minutes. Lift the pizza onto the peel, rotate it 180 degrees, and return it to the top steel to continue broiling for another 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the edges of the dough are a rich golden brown with some black speckles.
  9. Remove the pizza from the oven and arrange the figs evenly over the top.
  10. Transfer the pizza to the bottom steel. Leaving the oven on broil, bake 1 minute, rotate it 180 degrees, and bake for another minute, until the bottom is a rich brown.
  11. Transfer the pizza to a cutting board and cut into 6 wedges. Arrange small bits of the goat cheese around the pizza and sprinkle with the almonds. Using a Microplane grater, grate the zest of half of the orange over the top. Scatter the watercress over the pizza and finish with a sprinkling with salt.

Einkorn Dough

Makes about 26 ounces (740 grams ) dough

Einkorn dates back to the Stone Age and is believed to be the first form of wheat cultivated by man. Its name means “one grain” in German, which describes how it grows: single, small grains on each side of the shaft, unlike modern wheat, which has larger grains clustered in a spiral around the shaft. Because it’s small and low yield, einkorn has been largely overlooked by wheat growers but now it’s making a serious comeback, partly because, like Khorasan, it’s believed by many people with gluten issues to be more digestible. This dough is less elastic than the other doughs in this book, so be careful not to tear it as you work with it. You can push it out quite easily, so you may want to skip the step of stretching it in your hands.

Ingredients

  • 2.3 grams (3/4 teaspoon) active dry yeast
  • 70 grams (1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon) warm water (80°F to 85°F)
  • 453 grams (33/4 cups) einkorn flour, preferably Jovial
  • 202 grams (3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon)
  • ice water
  • 14 grams (1 tablespoon) fine sea salt

Directions

  1. Put the yeast in a small bowl, add the warm water, and whisk vigorously for 30 seconds. The yeast should dissolve in the water and the mixture should foam. If it doesn’t and the yeast granules float, the yeast is “dead” and should be discarded. Begin again with a fresh amount of yeast and water.
  2. Put the flour in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. With the mixer running on the lowest speed, pour in most of the ice water, reserving about 2 tablespoons, followed by the yeast-water mixture. Pour the reserved water into the yeast bowl, swirl it around to dislodge any bits of yeast stuck to the bowl, and add to the mixer.
  3. Continue to mix the dough at the lowest speed for about 11/2 minutes, until most of the dough comes together around the hook. Stop the mixer. Use your fingers to pull away any dough clinging to the hook, and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a bowl scraper or rubber spatula.
  4. Add the salt and mix on the lowest speed for 1 minute to combine. Check the bottom of the bowl for any unincorporated flour. Turn the dough over and press it into the bottom of the bowl to pick up any stray pieces.
  5. Stop the mixer, pull the dough off the dough hook, and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix for another minute.
  6. Use the bowl scraper to transfer the dough to an unfloured work surface. The dough will be sticky, so dust with only enough flour to allow you to knead it, then knead it for 2 to 3 minutes, until. Cover the dough with a damp dish towel and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
  7. Dust your hands with some of the flour. Use a dough cutter to loosen the dough and to cut the dough in half. Weigh each piece, adjusting the quantity of dough as necessary to give you two 13-ounce (370-gram) balls. You may have a little extra dough.
  8. Form the dough into balls. Set the balls on a half sheet pan, spacing them about 3 inches apart. Or, if you will be baking the balls on different days, place each ball on a quarter sheet pan. Wrap the pan(s) airtight with a double layer of plastic wrap, sealing the wrap well under the pan(s). Put the pan in a level spot in the refrigerator and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Reprinted with permission from The Pizza Bible by Tony Gemignani, copyright (c) 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc. Photography (c) 2014 by Sara Remington.

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