Pizza and Hard Cider – Part VII

After six articles on pairing pizza and hard cider, you would think I’d run out of recipes and options. That’s what makes pizza and hard cider so wonderful, there seem to be infinite possibilities. For this group of four pizza recipes and hard cider pairings, we pushed the crust even further when we did a Chicago style double crusted pizza on one and used rye flour to make a crispy and flavorful base for our vegetarian option in this group. I feel like we have been doing more vegetarian recipes but given the meat load on the other three, we probably need to add some additional veggie options in the future repertoire of recipes.

I did learn that another interesting option for thinner cracker style crusts is to use rye flour. The density of the rye creates a thin and crispy crust option and it has a wonderful umami flavor. 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 I make but there are a couple pizzas where I match the crust to our ingredient list. All my crusts are based on my standard recipe, which I include for easy reference, I simply augment this recipe by adding various adjuncts or replacing the flour with another variety.

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 this 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. I have also found the replacing the all-purpose flour with rye flour will create a thinner crispy style 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 so I don’t specifically call this out. You can find many of these ingredients at your local grocery or specialty shop as well.


Prime Rib Pizza & Bubbles Cider

  • Thyme & Horseradish Sourdough
  • Horseradish Cream Sauce
  • Prime Rib, Shredded
  • Muenster Cheese, Sliced
  • Parmesan Cheese, Shredded
  • Parsley, Fresh Chopped
  • Fresh Pepper, Ground
  • Prime Rib Pizza
  • Bubbles Hard Cider

For this pizza, I used my standard crust recipe augmented with thyme and horseradish. Two of the seasoning I use in my crust for the prime rib. The goal was to tie the crust to the prime rib, which we shredded into smaller bite-sized pieces. We tend to make all our pizza ingredients bite-sized as we personally hate having to cut things with our teeth. I hate when I take a bite of pizza and the cheese and Ingredients slide off the entire piece because you couldn’t bite through one of the toppings. We used a horseradish cream as our sauce base, again, using that horseradish as a link between all the ingredients. Instead of mozzarella, we used muenster cheese to add some nuttiness but still have great melting characteristics. The parmesan cheese adds a touch of saltiness while the herbs and pepper add some color and nice finishing flavors. It was like a wonderful warm prime rib sandwich. The kind you have a day or two after you stuffed yourself with a wonderful prime rib meal. I paired this with my Bubbles Cider, which as I noted in my post on experiments in sweetness is a dry champagne style cider that is bottle aged on fine lees. You could find a French brut cider from Normandy or Brittany that would be a good replacement.


Deep Dish Pizza & Black & Gold Cider

  • Amaranth Sourdough (Requires Two Doughs)
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Organic Salami (or Pepperoni)
  • Roasted Red Peppers, Sliced
  • Smoked Muenster Cheese, Sliced
  • Mozzarella Cheese, Sliced
  • Parmesan Cheese, Grated
  • Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza
  • Black & Gold Cider

This is our first experiment is alternative pizza styles. This uses a double crust and is cooked in a spring-form pan, chicken fryer (what we used), or similar deep walled pan that can go into a 500F oven. I used my standard crust but added some whole grain amaranth to it for some texture. The first crust goes into the pan and up the walls so you could have this one slightly larger. We added a layer of sauce, meat, peppers, and cheese followed by two more layers (3 in total). This was followed by a little more sauce and then the second dough. On top of that dough, we added more sauce and a final layer of cheese. We used a knife to poke several holes through the top crust and layers to aid in venting. This one take a longer time to cook. It was 20-30 minutes at our normal pizza oven temperature. It was paired with my Black & Gold Cider, a wonderfully fruit and medium-bodied cider made from Arkansas Black and GoldRush apples. I fermented on the skins of both apples providing a wonderful orange hue to this cider a d lots of fruity aromas. We had a friend over for our first post-vaccination party. It was awesome. The pizza was spicy, smoking, cheesy goodness and the cider provided this slightly fizzy fruity libation that made for a wonderful pair. The cider has enough tannins and astringency to ground it while having these robust fruity notes that cut through the deep flavors of the pizza. It was the quintessential pizza and cider combo.


White Clam Pizza & Prickly Apple Cider

  • Mango Sourdough
  • Garlic Cream Sauce
  • Littleneck Clams, Chopped
  • Provolone, Shredded
  • Parmesan, Shredded
  • Arugula, Chopped
  • Pepper, Fresh Cracked
  • Clam Pizza on a Mango Sourdough Crust
  • Prickly Apple Cider By Prickly Apple Cider

White Clam Pizza is all about the clams though, the crust was inspired by the dried fruit my wife had recently purchased. I thought, why not dice up some dried mango and add that to my standard crust. I told my wife her challenge, which was to develop a pizza for that crust. She responded by making a clam pizza with it. Yummy is all I’m saying. She made a garlic cream sauce for the base and added an abundant amount of chopped clams. She covered that with provolone cheese and a little shredded parmesan before adding chopped arugula and fresh ground pepper. The crust with some sweetness from the dried manage on the bottom and the spice of the arugula and pepper were a perfect balance for the clams, which came through in every bite. I paired this with my signature Prickly Apple Cider that is made with local apples and prickly pear cactus fruit. This cider has a tartness that is unique to the prickly pear fruit and it is an awesome combination for this White Clam Pizza.


Potato-Fennel-Rye & Bitter Orange Cider

  • Rye Sourdough
  • Olive Oil and Garlic Cloves, Diced
  • Lemon Roasted Potatoes, Sliced
  • Cider Sautéed Fennel, Sliced
  • Mozzarella, Sliced
  • Parmesan, Shredded
  • Fennel Fronds, Diced
  • Potato Fennel Pizza on a Rye Sourdough Crust
  • Bitter Orange Hard Cider Recipe

Rye flour is becoming one of my new favorites. It gave this pizza a crispy cracker-like crunch but added an umami flavor you won’t find with the semolina cracker version. The lime and fennel notes came through wonderfully and the potatoes added some great texture. It’s was a wonderful vegetarian option. Light, crispy, and packed with flavor. I can’t recommend it enough. My Bitter Orange Cider was a wonderful pairing as you get the notes of citrus and goes with the lemon and fennel as well as the slight bitterness from the peel oils. With a little carbonation to elevate the mouthfeel and slightly acidic, it was a wonderful combination. You just want to keep eating and drinking. Simple and elegant might be a good way to describe this pizza though it does take some prep work given you need to roast the potatoes and sauté the fennel. I recommend using the cider you plan to drink with it for your sauté.


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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