Monday, January 24, 2011

Cheese Board Focaccia Pizza - Apple, Blue Cheese and Grilled Onions with a Crust Recipe

The inspiration for this came from a cheese board appetizer I had recently.  What is better than a little slice of blue cheese with a bit of granny smith apple?  Always my favorite part of a cheese tray.

Regular readers know that Mondays this year will be my pizza post.  At the end of the year, 52 different pizza recipes.  But pizzas are more than just crust, tomato sauce, pepperoni and mozzarella cheese.  And this one is a great example.  Maybe you will believe me that this is a pizza if I show you the whole pie...

See... Think outside the box.  It's not a far stretch from an apple pie to a pizza pie.

And sure enough, little bit Apple Pie, A little bit Cheese board appetizer; BUT, using my definition of a pizza (Crust, sauce and toppings)...

This is a pizza.

And speaking of crust, After 3 posts in my year of Pizza, it's about time I gave out a crust recipe.  I have made several different crusts.  This one is a good basic recipe.  Easily made in a food processor or in a kitchenaid mixer (or by hand).  the oil in the dough makes for a soft chewy center, while the little bit of whole wheat makes for a crunchy bottom.  Nothing soggy here.  With the aid of a pre-heated pizza stone (500 degrees... HOT like a stone fire pizza oven), this crust cooks up nicely.  Like a pizzeria crust.

Here's what I did...

3 1/2 cups all purpose Flour
1/4 cup whole wheat Flour
2 1/2 tsp Quick Rise Yeast
1 TBS Sugar
1 TBS Salt
1 1/4 cups warm (110 degrees... caution, too hot and the yeast dies, too cool and the yeast does not thrive)
2 tsp Olive Oil

  1. In a food processor (or kitchenaid, with the hook attachment), combine all the dry ingredients and mix well.
  2. With the motor running, add the water and oil.  Pulse until the dough comes together in a rough mass.  If it does not, add another tsp of oil.
  3. Let the dough mass rest for 5 minutes.  Then process again for 1 minute.  If you use a kitchenaid, continue to mix (it's doing the kneading) for about 5 minutes.
  4. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turn the ball to coat.
  5. Cover the bowl and allow the first rise for about 2 hours, until doubled in sixe.
  6. Punch down the dough, and divide.  You can put half in a sealed plastic bag in the freezer, or the fridge if you are going to use the second half within a week.
  7. The other half, do a quick knead for a couple of minutes, and cover for about 10 minutes to rest the glutens.
  8. And now, you have pizza dough.  You can roll it thin for a thin crust, a little thicker for a thick crust, or very thick (like this) for a focaccia crust.

As to the care and feeding (prep work) for your dough, before you add any toppings, drizzle a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil and use a brush to spread it around.  Taking great care to be sure and coat the outer edge as well as you can.  this coating will help the crust brown up nice for color, as well as crisp up nice for texture.

Now is also the time to Salt and Pepper the crust.  

Like I said, this is a great all purpose crust.  Thick (Sicilian style), thin (Neapolitan style) or this Focaccia style, all depends on how you roll it.

So, Here's the formula for the Cheese Board Focaccia Pizza

1 Granny Smith Apple, cut into very thin slices
1 Onion, Sliced into rings and grilled with a little oil and 
1TBS Brown Sugar
6 ounces of Stilton Blue Cheese (Divided), 3 ounces crumbled, 3 ounces sliced
2 TBS Heavy Cream

1 Basic Pizza Dough, rolled to 1 inch thick, with edges formed to hold the liquid into the pizza.

  1. Pre-heat oven and pizza stone to 500 degrees
  2. Start by caramelizing the onion in oil and brown sugar for about 15 minutes.  The onion will finish caramelizing as it cooks.
  3. Melt the slices of blue cheese in the cream to make a creamy cheeses sauce.
  4. As shown above, form the dough into a circle (can be made square if you like) with a 1/4 inch lip around edges.  Add 2 TBS EVOO , spread with a brush around the edges and even out around the pizza.
  5. Add the cheese sauce
  6. line up the apple slices.  I cut mine VERY thin, and form a complete layer.
  7. Add the onions over the apples
  8. Add the remaining Blue Cheese crumbles
  9. Bake at 500 degrees for @15 minutes, until the top is starting to get golden brown and delicious, the edges are nicely toasted and a few of the onions start to char.
Here's you a collage that shows the steps...

And here are a few more shots showing the finished product... Like a cheese board on a pizza!  I LOVED THIS PIZZA!  Would make a great appetizer, or even a dessert pizza.

This is a rich tasting pizza.  A little goes a long way.  I like to cut this into strips to serve.  As good as it tastes, just two or three pieces are enough.  All things in moderation.



  1. This is a great one to have in the hopper for game day. It looks delicious. I hope all is well. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  2. I feel (irrationally so) that everything in my life would be right if I could just have a slice of this pizza. Apples and blue cheese? Nuff said.

  3. Great combo of flavors in this one. I was wondering what you were going to do with the cream, and now I know. Yum a nice cheesy sauce, wonderful idea. This is a perfect pizza!

  4. Love this, Dave! Great idea. It looks really delicious.
    You should host a Pizza Monday for all bloggers to get in touch with their creative side and make an out of this world pizza! :)

  5. Okay, I am all over this, sans the onions! :D