You win some, you lose some. Isn’t that the way the saying goes? Well this term makes a whole lot of sense in the realm of sports and competition, I also found myself saying it a few weeks ago in the kitchen.
Pizza stones are heavy, large, and not the easiest to store, especially in a kitchen that is tight on store space to begin with. But they have several purposes beyond that of pizza and it seems like every great chef has one. I was delighted when I found out there was one in my future. The directions displayed beautiful pictures of cookies, artisan breads, and apple tarts but I was really just looking forward to making some pizza. They guided me to “season” the stone prior to cooking but failed to mention exactly what seasoning meant.
One cooking failure later which resulted in a pizza-type pile of toppings and what should have been crust – had it not been cemented to the pizza stone – I decided to a give it a rest and build my confidence with other cooking endeavors.
But it wasn’t long before I returned, ready to drag out the stone and try again. After all, we had worked out our differences in the forty-five minutes of gentle coaxing it took to remove the crust off the stone. This is probably the best place to mention that soap is not recommended for use anywhere near a pizza stone.
I clicked through page after page of internet information about seasoning the coveted pizza stone only to slip further into confusion about the seasoning process. I was faced with dilemmas such as “to season or not to season?” which nearly had me giving up on the whole debacle. I decided to marry two ideas I had stumbled upon, vegetable oil and corn meal. My favorite suggestion was to bake something like cookies or crescent rolls on the stone first and allow the natural oils to seem into the stone – natural seasoning they called it. However, I was in the mood for pizza and just didn’t have the time to make both recipes.
I am happy to report pizza stone success! I got to try out my pizza cutter and I didn’t stress out the spatula as the crust nearly floated atop the surface this time rather than hanging on for dear life.
Although there is no sauce and no pepperoni on this pizza, the contrast of sharp provolone, gorgonzola, walnuts, and bartlett pears is sure to awaken your taste buds.
Pear & Gorgonzola Pizza
1 pre-made fresh pizza dough from your local market (from scratch works too)
1/4 cup crumbled gorgonzola
2 TBSP chopped walnuts
2 medium bartlett pears
provolone cheese (enough slices to cover the surface – about 1/4 lb)
vegetable oil (for seasoning the stone)
Allow dough to sit at room temp and “rest” or about 5 minutes before placing on the pizza stone. If using an unseasoned pizza stone, lightly rub vegetable oil on with a paper towel being careful not to over saturate the surface. Dust surface with corn meal and place dough on top. Work the dough into an even layer forming a circle or rectangle. Brush lightly with olive oil. Layer provolone cheese and then pears, leaving an edge of dough for the crust – about one inch. Sprinkle gorgonzola and walnuts on top . Place pizza in a cold oven and set oven to 425 F. Once oven has preheated, set timer and allow the pizza to cook for about 15-20 minutes.
Side note: I found a few sources that recommended placing the pizza stone in a cold oven to avoid cracking so this is what I did as well.