Pizza and Hard Cider – Part VI

We continue to create and pair unique pizzas and hard ciders. Pizza is one of my favorite foods to pair with hard cider and like cider, pizza offers a wide array of flavor combinations. Usually, my pizzas are driven by a unique crust flavor that think up. But, a couple pizzas I matched the crust to topping ingredients. For example, my wife made gravy for our small Thanksgiving dinner because she wanted to make a Thanksgiving pizza and she planned to use it as the sauce. Fir reference, all my crusts are based on my standard recipe, which I include for reference. I simply augment this recipe by adding various adjuncts or replacing the flour with another variety.

For this group of pizzas, I added cornmeal to my crumpet style crust for the BBQ rib pizza. The Thanksgiving pizza was my standard style crust with poultry herbs. The apple butter ham pizza used my standard crust with cinnamon, nutmeg, and a touch of honey. The final crust was a cracker style with Parmesan cheese that formed the base for our lobster pizza. I provide more details on the three crust styles below. However, for spices, I usually add around 1/2 teaspoon (1-2 grams) while honey I usually do a tablespoon (11-13 grams). Remember, you can always add a little water or a little flour to adjust your dough consistency depending on the adjuncts you add.

Sourdough Pizza Dough

Servings: 10-12 Inch Pizza

Ingredients:

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

Steps:

  • 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 are my three standard crusts depending on thickness and crunch.

  • Crumpet Crust: Add 1 teaspoon each of baking powder and baking soda to the standard crust along with 2 ounces of water. This creates a bulkier crust that has pretzel flavors. It’s great for heartier pizzas. Add additional flour to maintain the consistency.
  • Cracker Crust: Replace the regular flour with semolina flour, which creates a thinner and cracker-like crust.
  • Standard Crust: Make as outlined above for a medium thickness with some crunch and some chew.

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 most of the ingredients as well as use organic but I don’t specifically call this out. If you want a recipe fir one of the ingredients, drop me a comment or contact me.


BBQ Rib Pizza & Black Magic Cider

  • Corn Crumpet Sourdough
  • Kansas BBQ Sauce
  • Pork BBQ Ribs, Shredded
  • Mozzarella, Shredded
  • Parmesan, Shredded
  • Basil, Fresh Chopped
  • BBQ Rib Pizza With Crumpet Corn Crust
  • Black Magic Cider Color

I wanted a robust crust for this pizza because I knew the BBQ would need it as a base. However, I wanted to include some other elements of a BBQ. That’s when corn popped into my head so I added corn meal to my crumpet style crust. The result was a crust with chew, texture, and unique flavors. These blended well and stood up to the robust flavors of the ribs. The standard pizza cheeses and a little chopped basil finished this pizza perfectly. The homemade Kansas City BBQ has a little heat and a little sweet. The pork ribs are juicy and well balanced by the fatty and salty cheeses. I chose to pair this with my single variety Arkansas Black cider I call Black Magic. The magic comes from the peels I include in the fermentation process. The cider is a dry, slightly acidic cider with a slight bitter note and decent astringency. This pairing just screams summer BBQ, even if you make it in the winter! Pizza and cider are the perfect pairing, especially when it’s BBQ rib pizza and Black Magic cider.


Thanksgiving Pizza & Bitter Red

  • Herbed Sourdough
  • Turkey Gravy
  • Thanksgiving Turkey, Chopped
  • Stuffing/Dressing, Cubed
  • Smoked Gouda Cheese, Sliced
  • Apple-Cranberry Sauce
  • Thyme, Dried
  • Thanksgiving Pizza: Turkey, Gravy, Dressing, and Cranberry
  • Bitter Red Hard Cider By Prickly Apple Cider
  • Bitter Red Cider Bottle by Prickly Apple Cider

Thanksgiving pizza… I know what you are thinking but really, it works. Actually, it more than works. It’s just plain awesome. I used a standard sourdough crust with some poultry seasoning, thyme and rosemary, added. Turkey gravy is used for the sauce with Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing cubbed up on top. This is covered by a layer of delicious smoked gouda. Small dollops of cranberry sauce, my wife usually uses oranges and apples in her sauce, are added. These give the impression of little dabs of tomato sauce but they are really little dollops of flavor. Those flavors run deep on this pizza. It’s like Thanksgiving dinner all over. I paired this with my Bitter Red Cider for a dry, tart, astringent and slightly citrus cider. It is a perfect match for Thanksgiving dinner so it has to work for a Thanksgiving pizza. Trust me, it does.


Apple Butter Ham Pizza & Blue Oak Cider

  • Spiced Sourdough
  • Apple Butter
  • Ham, Chopped
  • Mozzarella, Sliced
  • Parmesan, Shredded
  • Arugula, Chopped
  • Pepper, Ground
  • Ham Apple Butter Pizza
  • Blue Oak Cider: A blueberry cider aged with oak.

Besides making excessive amounts of apple sauce, my wife also made a wonderful batch of apple butter. Why not an apple butter pizza? What goes well with apples and apple butter, ham. Apple Butter Ham Pizza was born. We topped it with some chopped arugula to give it some slightly bitter notes that balance the sweetness. This pizza called for one of my new ciders, Blue Oak. The recipe will get added at some point but it’s basically a dry cider that had a secondary ferment using a pint of crushed blueberries. This secondary also included some heavy toasted oak cubes. The result is a cider that has a slight perception of sweetness and vanilla from the oak and a nice level of astringency and bitterness from the blueberries. The color is also a wonderfully deep amber that leans purple. It’s a great combination of sweetness, tartness, bitters, and astringency. The perfect pizza for a perfect cider.


Lobster & Blackberry Sangria Cider

  • Parmesan Cracker Sourdough
  • Olive Oil and Garlic Cloves, Diced
  • Lemon Garlic Butter Sautéed Lobster, Chopped
  • Mozzarella, Sliced
  • Parmesan, Shredded
  • Thyme, Chopped
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Lobster Pizza
  • Blackberry Sangria Cider

For lobster pizza, I wanted a crispy crust. I had to do a sourdough cracker crust using semolina flour but I added some salty Parmesan cheese to it. This crispy crust was topped with olive oil and diced garlic. The lobster was sautéed in lemon, butter, and garlic before being chopped and added as a topping. We used mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses along with some chopped thyme and red pepper flakes to complete this seafood extravaganza. I decided to try pairing it with Blackberry Sangria Cider from Common Cider Company. We had tried a few other of their ciders and enjoyed them so I had high hopes. I wasn’t disappointed. It’s a dry fruity cider with a medium level of acid and a touch of bitters. It has a decent mouthfeel. I the cider also had some lime in it, which melded with the lemon in the lobster. I like fruit and heat together. The garlic and red pepper went well with the blackberry. Lobster is rich and decadent and this cider being dry with a slightly acidic backbone did a nice job cleansing the pallet and enabling all those rich flavors. You could try my Misty Mountain Cider but I must admit that hint of lime in this sangria cider version was a very nice addition for this pairing.


You might remember that I cook 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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