Pizza and Hard Cider – Part III

I warned you that we really liked sourdough pizza and hard cider. In my last pizza post, I mention some expanded crust varieties that I was planning to try. Well, we tried them. How do crusts like chocolate or basil sound? These all four pizzas in this post have augmented crusts. They also made us push our creativity. The results, however, were all exceptionally delicious. I would encourage you to replicate them and see if you agree but, don’t forget the hard cider. It’s the best drink you can pair with pizza.

Also, pizza and hard cider are great for sharing, even in these socially distanced times. We have a good friend that we have adopted into our small COVID circle. I work with him and since he lives by himself, we all feel comfortable spending time together. We still maintain excellent hygiene and spacing but it’s good to share and we all need to make sure people have a good circle they can lean on in these trying times.

I included my standard sourdough crust recipe again in case you need it for quick reference. For the chocolate crust, I replace 1/4 cup of the flour with 1/4 cup of organic cocoa powder. For the basil, I added a homemade basil extract with some dried basil and oregano. For the pepper crust, I included some jalapeño extract, caraway extract, dried oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, and ground red pepper in the crust. As I mentioned before, the flavors are endless.

Sourdough Pizza Dough

Servings: 10 Inch Pizza


  • 210-230 Grams Sourdough Starter
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil 
  • 1  Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Organic All-Purpose Flour
  • Water as Required


  • Mix starter, oil, salt, and flour in a large mixing bowl by hand.  
  • Knead the dough for 5 minutes.  If too dry, add teaspoon of water.  This dough should be relatively dry.  
  • Cover and let set for 1 hour.  
  • Use or freeze.  If freezing, set the dough in the refrigerator the day before you plan to use it and on the counter 1-2 hours before you use it.  

Here is a list of the last 4 pizzas that we have made as well as the hard ciders we paired with them.

Chicken Mole

  • Cocoa Sourdough
  • Mole Sauce
  • Chicken Mole
  • Pepper Jack Cheese
  • Candied Jalapeños
  • Dried Cilantro
  • Chicken Mole Pizza
  • Cranperry Sour: Pears, Cranberry, and Funk

Yes, I made a chocolate pizza dough! No, I am not crazy! Well, maybe a little crazy, but there is a method to my madness. I substituted a 1/4 cup of flour for organic ground cocoa powder. I didn’t add any sweetener though you could include a little honey. My goal wasn’t a sweet dough as I thought I would add sweetness in the toppings if I used this for a dessert pizza. However, I really wanted us to use this for a savory pizza. As we pondered this, the idea of chicken mole rose to the top of the list. Given the spicy nature of this pizza, I opted for a hard cider that would go well with it. I paired it with my Cranperry Sour, which has a slight sour note and good levels of tannins from the cranberries. It provides a very nice balance to the chocolate and spicy chicken mole pizza. Look for a sour hard cider, which are becoming more popular. I listed several in my previous post about vegetarian nachos.

Basil Fig

  • Basil Sourdough
  • Fig Jam (Sauce)
  • Salami, Diced
  • Jalapeños, Fresh
  • Amoré, Cheese
  • Basil, Fresh
  • Basil Fig Pizza
  • Cider Lite Hard Cider Label

If you think a chocolate Mexican Pizza was a fusion of crazy flavors, we had trouble coming up with name for this creation. I made a basil infused crust that used dried basil, basil extract, and dried oregano. My wife also had a new organic Greek cheese, Amoré, to try. That got us heading down a Greek themed pizza with figs. Since we couldn’t find fresh figs, we went with an organic fig jam as a base. However, we quickly took a couple unexpected side trips by going with an organic salami and our favorite go-to condiment, candied jalapeños. We did circle back to the original theme by topping it all with fresh basil. The cheese was wonderful if you can find it. If not, some organic feta could replace it. This was a sweet and herbaceous pizza that was balanced by the saltiness of the cheese and the spiciness of the jalapeños. The salami provide the fat and texture you would normally get from mozzarella on a standard pizza. It all worked really well, even though the name isn’t that original.

For this pizza, I wanted a hard cider with a good amount of acid. That would balance both the sweetness of the fig and the fat from the salami. I went with my Cider Lite hard cider, which has a nice acid base but some phenolic and earthy aromas from the Galena hops and pomegranate juice. It’s was a great option for this pizza and many hopped ciders would pair well with it.

Pepper & Cheese

  • Pepper Sourdough
  • Chipotle Adobo Sauce
  • Sweet Red, Yellow, & Orange Peppers, Roasted
  • Poblano & Anaheim Peppers, Roasted
  • Mozzarella, Sliced
  • Smoke Mozzarella
  • Parmesan
  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • Pepper & Cheese Pizza
  • Magic Pippin Hard Cider

Cheese pizza is often about blending several different cheeses together. However, this cheese pizza started out as a pepper pizza and we wanted to have multiple levels of peppers. We wanted sweet, spicy, smoked, and dried peppers. As we considered how to finish this off, it just clicked that all we needed to add was cheese. We could stick closer to traditional pizza cheeses with mozzarella and Parmesan but could add a little depth by using some smoked mozzarella. The chipotle adobo sauce combined with the pepper crust and roasted sweet and spicy peppers provided both heat and sweet to the unctuous flavors of the cheeses. We thought our quattro fomaggi pizza was exceptional, but we both agreed this one topped even that.

What hard cider goes with an awesome cheese pizza, even a pepper cheese pizza? For me, it needed to be a hard cider that leans toward the phenolic ciders of England or France. I could have used one of the West Country ciders I brought back from England. However, I paired it with my Magic Pippin, which has the tannin profile I wanted but also more carbonation.

Peach Delight

  • Lavender Peppy Seed Sourdough
  • Honey Balsamic Reduction
  • Honey Baked Ham, Sliced
  • White Peach, Sliced
  • Ricotta Cheese
  • Fresh Mozzarella Balls, Pieces
  • Parmesan Cheese, Grated
  • Fresh Basil
  • Peach Delight Pizza
  • Sunrise Cider

To keep with my theme of unique crusts, I made a lavender poppy seed variant for this pizza. I simply added some dried lavender and poppy seeds to my standard crust. My intention for this pizza was something with delicate flavors. This led us to use white peaches. We were thinking prosciutto but finding an organic version is about impossible. Instead, we went with a thinly sliced organic uncured honey baked ham. The cheeses were fresh and mild with just a sprinkling of Parmesan. The honey balsamic reduction was originally going to be a drizzle but we elected to use it as the base. This became the boldest flavor. If you want it to be less forward, consider using it as a drizzle and using a little olive oil for the base. This pizza had a lot of subtle flavors. We cut the peaches medium in thickness to maintain some firmness after cooking and that worked well.

I paired this pizza with my Sunrise Cider, which is a an adjunct hard cider made with apricots. I pitted and juiced the apricots, which I added to a hard cider I made from Earligold apples. Like the pizza, Sunrise Cider has a light apricot aroma to it and I thought it went nicely with my Peach Delight pizza. If you had a peach hard cider, that would also be a great choice. You can find my Sunrise Cider recipe in the recipe section.

You might remember that I cook my my pizzas at 500F (260C) On a pizza steel. This allows me to get a nice crunch and chew combination. It also means the pizzas cook rather quickly. You don’t need a steel or stone but if you have a sourdough starter, they make a great additional to the kitchen for all your bread baking needs. If you haven’t tried hard cider, I strongly encourage you to pair it with your next pizza. You might enjoy it enough to try making it. My book explores my cider journey and while it is focused on how to make hard cider, it also covers apples, cider history, and food. However, check out the recipe “My First Cider” located in my recipes section if you want to take a first step along your own cider journey.

I hope this post inspires you to make your own pizza pairing. If you enjoy reading about cider and how to make and enjoy it, follow me.

If you are wondering, I’m not going to sell your information or bombard you with requests to buy things. It’s simply a way for me to get you copies of my blogs on weekly basis and respond if you have questions you want to ask me. As always, stay safe and drink cider!

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