The unusual pizza-cooking technique that I suggest—preheating the pizza stone under the broiler and then broiling the pizza for the first few minutes—is a procedure I developed to compensate for my home oven, which can’t be coaxed any hotter than 475°F. Preheating the stone under the broiler insures that the bottom of the pizza will get crisp, and the initial broiling of the pizza browns the top. I turn off the broiler element as soon as the exposed dough is nicely colored and just starting to blister and then complete the cooking at the hottest possible baking temperature. This method works like a dream for me, but every home oven is a little universe of its own. You may need to deviate from my suggested timings. Note that you need a pizza stone or pizza tiles. If you have enough pizza tiles to line an entire oven rack, you can make one large tarte flambée instead of two smaller ones.
Pizza Dough (see below)
- 1 cup fromage blanc
- ¼ cup crème fraîche
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 thick slices of applewood-smoked bacon, in ½ inch pieces
- ½ small onion, sliced paper thin
- Unbleached all-purpose flour and semolina flour for dusting
In a small bowl, whisk together the fromage blanc and crème fraîche. Season with salt and pepper.
Position a rack in the upper third of the oven. Set a pizza stone on the rack and preheat the oven to its highest setting for at least 45 minutes. About 20 minutes before baking, turn on the broiler to heat the top surface of the baking stone.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide it in half. Keep one half covered with plastic wrap while you work with the other.
Working on a floured surface with floured fingertips, flatten the pizza dough into a thin round, then stretch the round until it is as thin as possible. (A rolling pin forces too much air out, and the dough wants to stick to it.) For me, the easiest stretching method is to drape the flattened dough across the back of my floured knuckles, then rotate the dough, gradually moving my hands farther apart as the dough stretches. Don’t be concerned if the dough isn’t perfectly round.
Generously dust a pizza peel or rimless baking sheet with semolina.
Transfer the stretched dough to the prepared peel. Working quickly, top the dough with half of the fromage blanc mixture, spreading it all the way to the rim with a rubber spatula, then scatter half of the bacon and onion.
Slide the pizza onto the preheated stone. Broil until the rim is puffed and golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. (Every broiler is different so monitor carefully to prevent scorching.) Turn off the broiler and return the oven thermostat to the highest setting. Continue baking until the pizza bottom is fully cooked and lightly browned, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer the pizza to a cutting board and cut into wedges to serve. Repeat with the remaining dough and topping.
Serves 2 to 4
- 1-1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 3/4 cup warm water (105°F to 110°F)
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Approximately 1-3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in a large bowl. Let stand 2 minutes to soften, then whisk with a fork to blend. Let stand 10 minutes to proof; the yeast should begin to bloom on the surface. Whisk in the olive oil.
In a bowl, whisk together 1-1/2 cups flour and the salt. Add the flour to the water and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. It will be sticky. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface, dust the dough with flour, and knead until soft and smooth, about 5 minutes, adding only as much of the remaining ¼ cup flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface or your hands. Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a lightly oiled bowl. Turn to coat the surface of the dough with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise 2 hours.
Punch down the dough, then reshape it into a ball, recover the bowl and let rise again for 4 hours.
Punch down the dough, reshape it in a ball and recover the bowl. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 1 day.
Makes approximately 1 pound