Okay, I realize Tuesday isn’t traditionally a pizza night. Friday? Yes. Saturday? Duh! But Tuesday? Nope, not really, but hey, for some reason it’s ok to have tacos on Tuesday. Well, I’ve had it with these arbitrary food rules. Tuesdays are pizza-worthy days because they are so uninspired, so, well, crappy. Some people consider pizza to be a perfect food. And Tuesday is often considered to be the second least perfect day (first will always belong to Monday). So, if you combine the Tuesday and the pizza they cancel each other out. You’ll have a mediocre Tuesday and a mediocre pizza. Nah! You can’t have a mediocre pizza. Even the worst pizza in the world is good, not mediocre. And today’s Mushroom Fig Pizza is neither. It’s excellent, not unlike a Saturday but on a Tuesday.
Do you have strong opinions about fruit on pizza? I do. And because this is my blog I’m going to tell you all about them. I do enjoy fruit on my pizza. I am willing to give pretty much any fruit a chance on a pizza and I will only think it inappropriate if I don’t like it. It’s not a very democratic process. I, for one, like pineapple pizza. A view I very clearly expressed in my Hot Hawaiian article…just to be clear, it’s an article about pizza. Just trying to manage expectations here.
I know there was a whole debacle about pineapple and pizza and lines were drawn, some awful things were said and feelings were hurt. Well, my feelings were hurt because I take things too personally. But anyway, the point is I am pro-pizza-fruit as long as the fruit is matched with the appropriate amount of umami. Is this Mushroom Fig Pizza starting to make a whole lot of sense to you? Honestly, the flavor combination is straight magical. Even if you aren’t a fan of figs you will be a fan of this pizza. And how do I know that? Well, I myself have a complicated relationship with figs.
Figs weren’t a part of my childhood. Aside from the occasional Fig Newton, I had little interaction with the fruit. Honestly, if you showed my six-year-old-self a photo of a fig, I’m not entirely sure what my response would’ve been. I lump figs in with the pomegranates, passion fruits and guavas of the world. As far as my (very) narrow experience is concerned, these fruits did not exist until the early 2000s.
It wasn’t until I started reading food blogs at the tender age of 20, that I ever felt the urge to seek a fig out. You see, I was starting to fall hard for food photography and figs were my original muse. They are just so damn photogenic that I fixated on them. And this fixation led me to overhype the fruit. So, with all this ridiculous build-up, I acquired my first flat of figs. My first time eating a fig was not what I would call “enjoyable”. The texture was, well, kind of mushy and oddly grainy. And the flavor was floral and overly sweet. It was strange, it wasn’t what I was expecting and I wasn’t sure I liked them. But they sure were pretty though.
You know what’s not pretty? A box of unloved figs you bought over a week ago. Yes, my first fig encounter led to a lot of figs wasted. I was too chicken shit to try more than the one. But that was then and this is today. And today I haven’t only made peace with the fig, I’ve made pizza. But I will say, that even with the triumph that is today’s Mushroom Fig Pizza, this is as far as I’m willing to go fig-wise. I can’t think of a scenario where I’d be happy to sit down and eat a bowl of them by themselves. I need to have them with something, that’s why this pizza has so many toppings. It’s kind of disappointing, I suppose. But to be honest, this is exactly where I stand with black olives, eggplant, and raw celery (weird, I know).
But enough about my fig odyssey, let’s talk about this pizza and all those toppings I mentioned. So, this Mushroom Fig Pizza is a white pizza, which means it has no tomato sauce. I thought the sauce would be distracting in this context. So, instead of the tomato sauce, I did a simple olive oil and garlic treatment and added a layer of thinly-sliced mozzarella. On top of that, I threw on some sauteed mushrooms and fig wedges and popped the pizza in the oven.
After a brief interlude in the oven, I did what you all freaked out about on Instagram last weekend. I brushed the hot crust with honey and added a sprinkling of za’atar and it was the best thing ever. I’m doing it for the rest of time. And if you don’t have za’atar, you could add everything bagel spice, or sesame seeds, or chili flakes, or fennel seeds, or really anything. The world is your spice rack!
So, after the crust of my Mushroom Fig Pizza was all glossy and bespiced, I added pools of crème fraîche because I could. And then, to really hammer home the fall of it all, I threw in a sprinkling of chopped walnuts and fresh rosemary. The basil leaves were a compulsion. I am physically incapable of making a pizza without fresh basil. This is not a rule I hold you to, this is a rule I inexplicably hold myself to.
So, that’s everything you need to know about this Mushroom Fig Pizza. Sure, it may still be 38°C with the humidex here in Toronto, but it’s fall on my pizza.
Mushroom Fig Pizza with Crème Fraîche & Chopped Walnuts
Easy Pizza Dough
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 packet 2 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast
- 1 1/4 water room temperature
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3-4 cups all purpose or 00 flour
Mushroom Fig Pizza
- 1 batch Easy Pizza Dough see above
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 340g, 12oz ball of mozzarella, sliced thin
- 4-5 fresh figs cut into wedges
- 454 g 16oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon za'atar
- 1/2 cup crème fraîche
- 1/4 cup walnuts chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves tightly packed
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary needles
For the Dough
- Pour the warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and give it a light stir with a spoon. Let sit for 5 minutes or until foamy.
- Add the remaining water, olive oil, salt and 1 cup of the flour to the yeast mixture. Set the mixer to low and continue adding the remaining flour in 1/4 cup increments.
- Once the dough starts cleaning the sides of the bowl and begins climbing the dough hook, it has enough flour. This may only require 3 cups, it might require something closer to 4. The dough should be tacky but firm enough to handle.
- Transfer the dough to a well-floured surface and knead for 5-7 minutes until the dough is smooth and silky. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap. Leave the dough to rise in a warm spot for 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size.
- Once the dough has risen, you're ready to make pizza.
For the Pizza
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- Punch the dough down and divide into four. Take each piece and begin stretching the dough to form a rustic pizza shape. Place the stretched dough on a pizza sheet dusted with semolina or cornmeal. Build up the edges to form a crust.
- Once all four pizza crusts are formed, brush them all over with the olive oil, then place them in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. You may have to do this 1 or 2 at a time depending on the size of your oven.
- While the pizza crusts are baking, heat a quarter-sized amount of olive oil in a large cast iron skillet until shimmering. Add the mushrooms and a healthy pinch of salt. Saute the mushrooms until caramelized, about 10 minutes. Set aside until ready to use.
- Remove the pizza crusts from the oven and sprinkle each with some garlic and little more olive oil.
- Divide the mozzarella slices amongst the four pizzas, creating an even layer on each. Next add the mushrooms and fig slices, then return the pizzas to the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until browned and bubbly.
- Remove the pizzas from the oven and immediately brush the crusts with the honey. Sprinkle the crusts with za'atar. Spoon the crème fraîche evenly over the surface of each pizza and sprinkle with chopped walnuts and fresh rosemary.
- Finally, add the basil leaves and serve immediately with a round of beers or cider.