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Learn Dessert Cookery South West England

Two-Apple Pizza with Walnuts

There is no reason why a pizza cannot be sweet. The principles are the same as for a savoury one: very high heat and a light topping that allows the base to cook through and become crisp. I have combined two kinds of apple – fluffy cooking apples and dense-fleshed dessert apples.
Serves 8

cooking apples 2, weighing about 450g in total
lemon finely grated zest of ½
ground cinnamon ¼ tsp
sugar to taste
butter a knob
dessert apples 4–5 small, weighing about 400g in total
lemon juice
walnut oil or rapeseed oil brushing
shelled 'wet' walnuts 25g, halved

for the dough:
unbleached strong plain flour 225g
salt 1 tsp
easy-blend dried yeast 1 tsp (½ sachet)
rapeseed oil 1 tbsp
tepid water 125–150ml

1) First make the dough: sift the flour and salt into a warmed bowl and add the yeast. Make a well in the centre and stir in the oil and water. Keep stirring, gradually drawing in the flour from around the edge. Once you have a soft cohesive dough, knead for at least 10 minutes until it feels silky and springy. Place in an oiled bowl, turning once so the surface is coated. Cover with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 1–2 hours until doubled in size.

2) Preheat the oven to 240°C/gas 9. Quarter, core and peel the cooking apples. Roughly chop and put in a small saucepan with the lemon zest and a splash of water. Cover and simmer over low heat for 7 minutes, shaking the pan to prevent sticking, until the apples have disintegrated to a purée. Stir in the cinnamon, sugar and butter, and whisk until smooth.

3) Quarter, core and peel the dessert apples, then slice each piece lengthways into very thin segments, sprinkling with lemon juice as you prepare them.

4) Roll out the dough to a 30cm circle and place on a perforated pizza pan. Pinch up the edges to make a raised rim and lightly brush with walnut oil. Spread the apple purée thinly over the base. Arrange the segments on top in concentric circles. Brush lightly with oil and sprinkle with sugar.

5) Bake for 15 minutes until the apple segments begin to blacken at the edges. Scatter the walnuts over the top and bake for 2 minutes more. Sprinkle with a little more sugar and serve right away.

Cook's notes
Instead of the ubiquitous Bramley, look for other varieties of cooking apple such as Howgate Wonder or Arthur Turner. For dessert apples try the richly perfumed Claygate Pearmain or Ingrid Marie (see my blog Mellow Fruitfulness).
A perforated pan allows heat to get to the pizza base and make it crisper. If you don't have one, use a baking sheet instead and cook for a few minutes longer.

 

Recipe © Christine McFadden from The Farm Shop Cookbook published by
Absolute Press/Bloomsbury

    Photography: Cristian Barnett    
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