There is something about a crispy thin-crust pizza that I can’t resist. I’m not sure whether the allure is the crispy-yet-chewy texture of the crust, the gooey melted cheese, or the savory toppings. (It’s probably a combination of all three!) But homemade pizzas have become a staple at our house.
It is so easy to whip up a batch of homemade dough. All you need is a food processor, a few basic ingredients (flour, cornmeal, yeast, water, and olive oil), and you are ready to go.
If you are short on time (the dough is a cinch to make but does need a couple of hours to rise), you can always pick up some dough from the grocery store or your neighborhood pizzeria.
I like to get creative with my toppings. This one with caramelized onions and apples is high on my list. Another favorite topping combination is ricotta cheese, cooked broccoli rabe, pinenuts, and red pepper flakes.
The fun of making homemade pizzas is that you can make your own signature creations. Meatlovers might like a Salami & Olive Pizza topped with tomato sauce, smoked mozzarella, thinly sliced Genoa salami, and kalamata olives. Vegetarians might like one with tomato sauce, baby spinach, shredded mozzarella, roasted red peppers, and marinated artichokes.
Get creative with your sauces and cheeses. Substitute pesto or alfredo sauce for the classic tomato sauce or throw some goat or feta cheeses in with the mozzarella.
Pizzas are also a great way to get the whole family involved with the meal preparation. My kids love to help stretch out the dough and layer on the toppings.
Chicken, Caramelized Onion, and Apple Thin-Crust Pizza
For the pizza dough:
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornmeal
1 envelopes (1/4-ounce) rapid-rise yeast
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup cold water
For the pizza:
1 tablespoon olive oil plus extra to brush on the pizza crust
1 cup thinly sliced yellow onions (about 1 onion)
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup shredded cooked chicken
2 Granny Smith apples, cored and thinly sliced
1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Prepare the pizza dough:
In a food processor, pulse together the flour, cornmeal, yeast, and salt. With the processor running, add the oil and then water in a steady stream; process until the dough just forms a ball.
Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, 4 to 5 times. Place the dough in a resealable plastic bag and let it rise at room temperature until it is doubled in size, about 2 hours.
Divide the dough into two equal portions, roll it into balls, and cover them with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Let the dough rest for 15 to 20 minutes before shaping, topping, and cooking.
Prepare the pizza:
Pre-heat the oven to 500°F.
While the dough is finishing, warm 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until a few droplets of water sizzle in the pot. Add the onion and thyme and cook, stirring often, until softened and caramel colored, stirring often, about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the onions from the heat.
Place each dough ball on a baking sheet; using your hands, gently flatten, and pull into ovals. Brush each crust with olive oil. Season the dough with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the cheese evenly across both crusts. Then evenly spread the chicken and apples across the pizzas. Bake until crust is golden brown and toppings are hot, 10 to 12 minutes.
Make two 10-inch pizzas.
Cooking Tip: I prefer to use rapid-rise yeast in this recipe. Active dry yeast has to be activated with hot water before it can be used.