If you have read my book and follow my blog, you might have noticed that beside making hard cider, I love making pizza. Of course you will also notice that I always pair these pizzas with hard cider. Just like my hard cider recipes, our pizzas are part art and part delicious. I start by making the dough from my sourdough starter discard. Next, my wife comes up with the topping and prepares them. Finally, we jointly create our masterpiece together, which is often done while sharing a hard cider. Sometimes, it’s one of my hard ciders, and sometimes it’s one we’ve found and want to try. It’s always a wonderful meal. Partly because we always do it together, and because we just make really good pizza. However, if you are expecting the normal red sauce with pepperoni or sausage and cheese, you should come over for another meal.
Here is a list of the last 4 pizzas that we have made as well as the hard ciders we paired with them.
Pear Goat Cheese Italian Sausage:
- Brown Multigrain Sourdough
- Olive Oil
- Roasted Garlic
- Goat Cheese
- Bartlett Pear
- Italian Sausage
- Mozzarella Slices
I’ve started expanding my dough repertoire to include multigrain. For this one, I included a tablespoon of organic molasses and 1/8 cup millet and 1/8 cup amaranth that I presoaked in 1/4 cup of hot water before draining. The dough gives this pizza an earthy flavor with great texture that balances the olive oil and roasted garlic spread on top. The pear softens slightly and the large slices of mozzarella bind it all together. My wife made her own italian sausage from turkey. The goat cheese and pear are a wonderful pairing and the basil gives it a nice herbal finish. With the pears on the pizza, I wanted to match this one with a great perry (hard cider made from pears). A bottle from Burrow Hill that we were able to bring back from our visit to Somerset was “pear-fect”! If you get to visit Somerset, you have to put Burrow Hill on your list. They don’t disappoint.
Roasted Red Pepper Adobo Chicken:
- Tomato Sauce
- Roasted Red Peppers
- Mozzarella Rounds
- Adobo Chicken
You can never go wrong with roasted red peppers on pizza, but when you combine that with adobo chicken and a red sauce, it’s like a little pizza of sunshine. It’s has nice texture from the sourdough crust with a little heat from the chicken. The roasted red peppers add a smokey sweetness that is benefited by the chewy cheese. The red sauce adds a slightly acidic base with nice herbal notes. For this one, we actually used organic mozzarella string cheese that we cut into small sliced rounds, which add to the chew of the cheese. I paired it with my Pippin Magic hard cider, which has nice astringency and a bitter finish along with a good level of palate cleansing acid. It’s a great hard cider for pizza.
Roasted Eggplant and Red Sauce
- Tomato Sauce
- Roasted Eggplant
- Mozzarella Shredded
- Parmesan Shredded
The eggplant is roasted with garlic and can be made ahead of time. We used my wife’s homemade pizza sauce as the base. I’m always amazed how the eggplant reminds me of meat or a portobello mushroom with its texture. We loaded it heavily with shredded mozzarella and a lighter dusting of Parmesan. We topped it with whole leaf basil. I paired it with my Garden Cider, which is a plum ginger hard cider. You get a little ginger burn at the end along with a good amount of tart and acid. I find ginger refreshing and it worked well with this veggie pizza that eats like a meat pizza. The pair make a guilt free pairing. It was one of my favorite combinations, but did I mention how much I love ginger hard ciders.
- Mozzarella, Sliced
- Roasted Garlic Zucchini & Corn
- Italian Seasoning
- Crushed Red Pepper
No sauce required for this scrumptious pizza. Lay the mozzarella directly on the crust and spread the ricotta in nice little dollops. Add the roasted garlic zucchini and corn mixture then sprinkle with some seasoning. It sounds simple, and it is. My wife roasted the zucchini and corn with some olive oil and garlic early in the day, and put it in the refrigerator so it was ready. It’s a great Friday dinner because it’s relaxing to make while you sample some hard cider. However, the taste is by no means simple. You have crunch, chew, salty, spicy, and even sweet. This is why I paired it with my Misty Mountain cider. Misty Mountain is made with an acidic dessert apple base before I add a little fresh organic blackberry juice. That acid and berry combination goes well with the cheese, zucchini, and corn. It cleans the palate while offering a touch of berry aroma.
Whether it is your first hard cider or you drink them regularly, if you are looking for a great dinner pairing for hard cider, pizza is a wonderful option. Crack open a bottle before you start rolling out the dough and make sure your dinner starts out on the right note. The sourdough bread with its inherent chew and crispy edges along with the melted cheese create a foundation that will work with almost any cider. Pair the other ingredients like pears, apples, and vegetables with hard ciders and perrys that use or match well with the nature of these core elements. An acidic and tart hard cider matched with cheese is always a good option. Tannin rich ciders pair great with meaty pizzas. If you put a homemade sourdough pizza and dry hard cider in front of me, you’ll make me a very happy person.
What pizza do you want to try or do you prefer with your hard cider? Do you have a hard cider that you love to have with pizza? What makes it work so well? I’d love to hear about them and I hope this post inspires you to make your own pairing. If you enjoy reading about cider and how to make and enjoy it, follow me.
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