It’s pizza and cider time! If you didn’t know that I like pizza and hard cider, or you need some more inspiration for some wonderful pizzas, you should also check out my other three posts: Part I, Part II, and Part III. For Part IV, the unique crust flavors continue and are becoming a major driver for the topping choices. If chocolate or pepper crusts weren’t enough, I created a crumpet crust, a couple cracker-like crusts, and a cornmeal chipotle crust. As you will see, this inspired us to create some amazing topping combinations and pairings for hard cider. The end result was some exceptionally delicious pizzas that were great pairings for some hard cider. I did warn you that we really liked sourdough pizza and hard cider.
As is my usual, here is my standard sourdough crust recipe in case you need it for quick reference. For the cornmeal crust, I added 1/4 cup of the cornmeal soaked in 1/4 cup of hot water. For the cracker-style crusts, I actually replaced all the flour with semolina flour. That is the type of flour from which pasta is often made. I find it creates a very thin and crispy crust, like a cracker. The last crust was a sourdough crumpet crust. Yes, you read that correctly. I adapted the recipe to include baking powder and soda that are in my sourdough crumpet recipes. The flavors and styles for crust 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. For reference, we homemake almost all the ingredients as well as use organic so I don’t specifically call this out.
Can’t Beet Me Down & Garden Cider
- Semolina Sourdough
- Roasted Beets (Garlic & Olive Oil), Chopped
- Goat Cheese, Crumbles
- Parmesan, Shredded
- Tarragon, Fresh Chopped
- Pepper, Fresh Ground
This was my first time using semolina to make a pizza crust. I had hoped that it would be thin and crispy, but you never know until you try it. It turned out so well that I quickly made another version with more cracker ingredients. The pizza was thin and crispy while the toppings offered a salty and unctuousness goodness. The thing that set it over the top was the slight licorice note from the tarragon. The roasted beets also provided a good texture when combined with the crispy crust. I paired it with my Garden Cider, which is a plum and ginger adjunct hard cider. The plum adds a nice fruity note followed by a kick of ginger that keeps your palate clean. It’s a great vegetarian pizza option with a gluten free drink. What more could you want for a nice light meal with friends! This pizza makes me think of the ELO song “Don’t Bring me Down” but some slightly augmented lyrics… “Can’t Beet Me Down… Groos”
Figalious & ‘En Chêne Cider
- Cornmeal Sourdough
- Calimyrna, Mission, & Turkish Fig Jam (Sauce)
- Bacon, Chopped
- Calimyrna and Mission Figs, Fresh Sliced
- Parmesan, Shredded
- Goat Cheese, Crumbled
- Pepper, Fresh Ground
When you take a cornmeal sourdough pizza crust, add a homemade fig jam from three figs as the sauce, toss on some bacon and a mixture of cheeses and fresh fig slices, you get Figalious. The cornmeal added a slight sweetness but also nice texture for this fruity pizza. The bacon and cheese balance the sweetness with some salt and protein. As is common, I simply heated 1/4 cup of water and added that to 1/4 cup of cornmeal. This went into my normal sourdough recipe and I adjusted my flour to accommodate the addition. I went with one of my oak aged ciders, ‘En Chêne, that has a robust vanilla finish from the heavy toasted French oak in which it’s aged. It is sparkling and is reminiscent of a nice sparkling white wine. It elevated Figalious and screams “craft” with every bite and every sip.
It’s A Cheeseburger & Pippin Magic Cider
- Crumpet Sourdough
- Tomato Pizza Sauce
- BBQ Ground Turkey (BBQ Sauce and Garlic)
- Bacon, Chopped
- Mild Cheddar, Shredded
- Sweet & Sour Pickles, Sliced
- Sesame Seeds
- BBQ Sauce Drizzle
Hearty… Most of the pizza crust I make are thinner. That tends to be a style we enjoy – slightly crunchy and slightly chewy. However, I had the idea of making a crumpet pizza crust. I have often used my sourdough to make crumpets and what Americans call English muffins. I thought why not take this concept and adapt it to a pizza crust. Basically, that meant adding 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1 teaspoon baking soda along with 1/4 cup of water and some additional flour to my standard dough. Did I mention hearty? I wanted this to be like a deep dish crust or better a bun!
The surprise was that it had a pretzel-like nature. The bottom baked crisp and dark brown that separated into a bubbly soft inner crust and the flavor had that slightly sour and acid taste that you find in a German bretzel. Using our homemade tomato sauce and topped with a ground BBQ turkey, we topped it with the classic cheeseburger accoutrements: bacon, cheddar cheese, homemade pickles, and a drizzle of BBQ sauce. Of course, to finish this off right, we added some sesame seeds! Can you say awesome?
What hard cider goes with an awesome hearty cheeseburger pizza? It needed to be more phenolic and bitter versus tart and fruity. You could pair it with many traditional English ciders or other hard cider made with bittersweet or bittersharp cider apples. That would be my Black Magic or Pippin Magic, which are fermented on Arkansas Black peels to give it extra color and tannins.
Pickled Pizza & Strawberry Blush Cider
- Chipotle Sesame Semolina Sourdough
- Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
- Mozzarella, Slices or Shredded
- Goat Cheese, Crumbles
- Feta, Dollops
- Sweet & Sour Pickles, Chopped
- Candied Jalapeños, Sliced
- Dill Garnish
After the initial success of my first semolina crust, I got a little more creative. I wanted this crust to even be more like a cracker so I added both white and black sesame seeds and some ground chipotle for a little smoke and a little heat. The idea for this pizza was to make it like an appetizer. My wife came up with a plan for a pickled pizza to mimic hors d’oeuvres, She created a buttermilk ranch dressing that could also be used as a dipping sauce. We layered cheeses on top. We also added her homemade sweet & sour pickles along with her pickled candied jalapeños. This added some sweet, some heat, and a note of sour. Since the dressing and the pickles had dill, we brought that all together by adding a sprinkling of dill on top as a garnish. This gave us this crispy cracker-like crust with gooey cheese garnished with delectable pickles.
I paired this pizza with my Strawberry Blush hard cider. I make this just like my Rockin’ Raspberry but use fresh strawberries instead of raspberries. It is one of my wife’s favorites. It has a nice strawberry nose and finish with good acid and bubbles. It’s a light dry hard cider with fruity notes that paired extremely well with this appetizer styled pizza. It is sure to not disappoint!
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.
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