Monday, November 22, 2010

Winter Squash, Onion and Pine Nut Pizza

I got this recipe from the NYT Thanksgiving coverage this week -- really simple and really tasty!

Winter Squash, Onion and Pine Nut Pizza (Adapted from “Pizza: Grill It, Bake It, Love It!”)

This flavorful autumnal pie uses winter squash purée as the pizza topping; the purée is spread like a sauce on the crust. You can find puréed winter squash (sometimes labeled as “puréed acorn squash” or “puréed butternut squash”) in the freezer section of most markets — thaw according to the package instructions before using.

Yellow cornmeal to dust the pizza stone (or nonstick spray to grease the baking sheet)
1 pound fresh dough (from a pizza shop) or a frozen dough, thawed; or prebaked pizza crust
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, halved through the stem, then thinly sliced
3/4 cup frozen winter squash purée, thawed
2 teaspoons minced sage leaves or 1 teaspoon rubbed sage (I was out and so used other spices instead)
1/4 teaspoon grated or ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (I also added in more pepper, garlic salt, cumin, and red pepper flakes...the sauce should really just be seasoned to your taste!)

1 1/2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano or pecorino or other hard cheese, finely grated
1-2 Tbsp pine nuts

1. Preheat pizza stone or oven. If using a pizza stone, preheat it in the oven at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 45 minutes; if using a pizza tray or a large baking sheet, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

2. Prepare the crust. If you’re using fresh dough on a pizza stone, dust a pizza peel lightly with cornmeal. Add the dough and form it into a large circle by dimpling it with your fingertips. Pick it up and shape it by slowly turning it by its edge, stretching that edge all the while, until the circle is about 14 inches in diameter. Set it cornmeal side down on the peel.

To use fresh dough on a pizza tray or a large baking sheet, grease the tray or baking sheet lightly with nonstick spray. Lay the dough on the baking sheet and dimple it with your fingertips — then pull and press it until it forms a circle about 14 inches in diameter on the pizza tray or a 12-by-7-inch, somewhat irregular rectangle on the baking sheet. If you’re using a prebaked crust, place it on a cornmeal-dusted pizza peel or on a greased pizza tray or a large baking sheet.

3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, then swirl in the oil. Add the onion slices, reduce the heat to very low, and cook, stirring often, until soft, golden and very sweet, 20 to 25 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, stir the squash purée, sage, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl until uniform. Spread this mixture evenly over the prepared crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border at its edge.

5. Top with the caramelized onions, then sprinkle the finely grated cheese and pine nuts over the pie. Slide the pizza from the peel to the very hot stone, or place the pie on its tray or baking sheet with the pie either in the oven or on the section of the grill grate that’s not right over the heat source.

6. Bake or grill with the lid closed until the crust is golden and somewhat firm to the touch, perhaps even a little darkened on its bottom, 16 to 18 minutes. Check fresh dough occasionally to prick any air bubbles that may arise so you’ll have an even crust on the pie. Slip the peel back under the pie to get it off the stone, or set the pie on its tray or baking sheet with its pie on a wire rack. Cool for 5 minutes before slicing. If you want to make sure the crust stays crunchy, consider transferring the pie directly to the wire rack after a minute or so.

Salted Caramel Pumpkin Pie with Walnut Topping

This is an adaptation/combination of a couple recipes, with the bulk of it from Baking Bites. It's a little gooey-er than a normal pumpkin pie, but it is delicious!

Salted Caramel Pumpkin Pie
dough for 9-inch pie crust, recipe below
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (1 15-oz. can)
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
8-oz salted caramel sauce*
1/4 cup milk

Walnut topping:

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, chilled
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 425F.
Roll out pie dough until it is slightly larger than a 9-inch pie plate. Transfer crust to plate and gently press into place. Trim excess dough off of the edges and crimp crust, if desired. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk eggs until smooth. Whisk in pumpkin puree and all remaining ingredients until mixture is very smooth. Pour into prepared pie crust.

While the pie is baking, prepare the streusel topping: In a small bowl,

combine the flour, brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Blend in the cold butter with a fork or pastry blender until the mixture is crumbly. Mix in the chopped nuts.

Bake for 15 minutes at 425F, then sprinkle with walnut topping. Lower oven temperature to 350F and bake for an additional 35-40 minutes, until pie is set and a sharp knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool completely before serving.

Pie can be refrigerated or served at room temperature.
Garnish with whipped cream and additional caramel sauce.

Serves 8-10.

Note: If you cannot find salted caramel sauce, use regular caramel sauce (homemade or store bought) and add in a very generous pinch of salt

Single Crust All-Butter Pie Dough
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, chilled and cut into chunks
6-8 tbsp cold water

Whisk together flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Rub in butte

r with your fingertips until mixture is very coarse, but no pieces bigger than a large pea remain. Using a fork, gradually stir in cold water until dough almost comes together into a ball (you might not need to use all the water, so add it in as you go). This process may be done in the food processor, as well.Gather the dough together, press into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30-60 minutes before using.