Intro: Bacon Brie Pear Pizzettes
Hopefully the word bacon drew you in, but for me, Brie always gets my attention. I just love when it's melted and gooey, with a nutty flavor that goes well fruits and nuts. I was inspired to make this recipe when I saw a picture of a pear and Brie crostata that I thought would make a mighty fine mini pizza, and why not add bacon, because bacon. My last ingredients are caramelized shallots that I cooked in the rendered bacon grease, though I realized the thinly sliced shallots can also go on the pizzette raw, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze to bring a bright tart finish to the salty sweet pizzettes. I think a sprinkle of chopped nuts would also be welcome.
The fun thing about pizzettes is they don't have to look perfect. This makes a great activity to do at a family gathering, kids birthday party, or for a game day, or afternoon, appetizer or snack. Having a scale truly comes in handy because you can portion out pizza dough into equal sizes so the pizzettes will still bake for about the same amount of time, even if the shapes vary. Keep the dough cold until it's time to shape and let everyone be creative.
If these toppings aren't your favorite, make a toppings bar full of all kinds of meats, veggies, cheeses, and fruits. They can be sweet, or savory, or a mix of both like mine. Since these are small and bake fast, you may need to parcook some toppings, as I did with the shallots and bacon. If a topping takes longer than six minutes to cook, I'd probably parcook it.
When the weather warms up I plan on making these on the grill. As I'm lucky enough to own a Baking Steel which gets wicked hot, in the oven, or on my grill, I look forward to eating some pizzettes with a salad on hot summer days.
I hope you enjoy these bacon, Brie, pear, or your own, pizzettes soon!
Made 3 small pizzettes, serving 3, as an appetizer, or snack.
Step 1: Gather Ingredients
For the pizzettes: each dough ball weighed about 125 grams. I used 1/3 of J. Kenji Lopez-Alt's recipe from Serious Eats for NY-Style Pizza Dough which made 3 mini pizzettes. You can make them in any amount, size, and shape you desire. You can buy pre-made pizza dough, if you have a favorite kind.
All purpose flour, for rolling out/shaping. and on the pizza peel (cornmeal or semolina can be used on the peel)
Toppings, enough for 3 pizzettes:
4 oz. Brie (helps if you freeze it about half an hour before cutting, especially if you remove the rind like I do, I then cut/separated into approximate 1/2-inch pieces and froze them on a piece of wax paper while I prepared the rest of the ingredients)
4 slices thick-cut bacon
1 medium shallot, halved and sliced thin
1 pear, ripe, but still firm, peeled and thinly sliced
Balsamic glaze, for drizzling, optional (Trader Joe's sells this, I've seen it available in other stores)
Step 2: Prepare Ingredients
Place your Baking Steel or pizza stone on a rack near the top of the oven and preheat on 500 F for one hour.
Slice the bacon into 1/4-inch pieces and fry in a medium skillet over medium heat until the fat has rendered, but the bacon is still soft, pliable, and not completely cooked. The bacon will crisp on the pizza so you don't want to cook it until crispy, or it will burn. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate.
I then caramelized the shallots in the bacon grease for a few minutes until softened, I wanted the bacon flavor to really come through in these pizzettes, but I learned that if I put the shallots on top of the other toppings, the small pieces will burn, if they are the first layer on the pizza, they will be covered by the Brie and still remain soft. You could skip cooking them and put raw shallots on the pizza, above other toppings, and let them brown in the oven where they'll be more crispy.
I sliced the pears last so they had less of a chance to oxidize.
Step 3: Shape, Top, Bake, and Enjoy Pizzettes
Stretch the dough using your hands into a 1/4-inch thick round or oval, leaving the edge higher than the rest. (My pizzettes were about 6-inches round, or oval, shaped.) If the dough keeps snapping back, allow it to rest about 5 minutes to let the gluten relax and stretch again, you can use a rolling pin, but your hands can probably do just as good of a job. I built my pizzettes on my (lightly floured) pizza peel, I was worried the toppings would weigh down the dough and make it harder to transfer from the counter, but you could probably build them on lightly floured parchment and slide them on the peel.
Sprinkle the shallots over the pizzettes (if using raw shallots they don't need to be on the bottom), then top with dollops of Brie, keeping the pieces more towards the center as Brie spreads quickly when it melts. Add a layer of pears, then sprinkle the pizzettes with the parcooked bacon, you can vary the order of toppings as you see fit.
Transfer the pizzettes to the oven; depending on the size of your pizza peel, Baking Steel, or pizza stone, you may only be able to bake two or three at a time, but they bake quickly enough people won't be waiting around too long. As I have a Baking Steel that gets extremely hot, my pizzettes were done in 6-8 minutes. You want the Brie to be melted and gooey, the bacon crisp, and the pears softened and lightly browned. If the crust is cooked, but the toppings not ready, you can broil a minute or two until everything is golden brown.
Remove from the oven to a cutting board or serving platter, cut into several pieces, drizzle with balsamic glaze, if desired, and enjoy!
These pizzettes are small and you probably won't have leftovers, but if you do, I'd refrigerate them in a covered container and reheat in a toaster oven.