From the simple dough-sauce-cheese combo to toppings galore, what’s not to like about pizza? Pizza offers incredible flexibility and can accommodate everyone from the most adventurous eaters on down the foodie totem pole to the blasphemous cheese-haters picky eaters.
Pizza is also really easy to make at home if you buy fresh dough from your local pizzeria or Whole Foods, and then you won’t be limited as to toppings or sauces. Big fan of a standard Margherita pizza but want to use heirloom tomatoes? Now’s your chance! Want to transform left over barbecued chicken from the weekend into a different-but-delicious dish that won’t leave your family groaning about eating left overs? Make barbecued chicken pizza – or any type of pizza with chicken on it, for that matter.
So here I am, pontificating the merits of pizza as though you weren’t already pizza’s biggest fan. But let me tell you, as delicious as six slices a slice can be straight out of the oven, or after a night of embracing your inner lush, or for breakfast even after it sat on the counter all night (I know – unsafe practice; but I don’t know anyone who has ever gotten sick from it), pizza has never been quite so irresistible as it is in the rolled-up and sliced form of a pizza swirl.
The pizza swirl- and this prosciutto and fig combination, in particular – offers everything that comes with a regular slice of pizza. But it also comes with something more delicious: a to-die-for caramelization on the pan side of the roll, where the dough, cheese, sauce and toppings meld together and create a salty-sweet crust that transcends even the greatest of mere slices.
I recommend eating them straight out of the oven, preferably at a dinner party so you don’t eat them all by yourself and so you have the excuse to create delightful hors d’œuvres by piercing each pizza roll with lollipop or popsicle sticks and arranging them like flowers in a glass. Or if you conveniently “forget” to reload the dinner party plate and leave some extra swirls in the kitchen, throw them in baggies for a post-dinner party, midnight snack lunch the next day.
Notes on ingredients, substitutions and storage: I went with more sophisticated toppings, but a more standard pepperoni-marinara-mozzarella combo would be equally delicious and fun. Feel free to turn old pizza favorites into new pizza pastries, or experiment with new flavors. But make sure to chop any chunky toppings into smaller pieces and sprinkle the cheese on top of the toppings – the cheese acts as the glue that keeps these little treasure chests together. Individual rolls can also be frozen and baked within a couple weeks.
1 package fresh pre-made dough from Whole Foods (or your favorite pizzeria)
1/4 c. cornmeal
4 oz. crème fraîche
1/4 c. fig jam, room temperature
1/2 c. fresh figs, diced (may use dried figs, but rehydrate in 2 Tbsp. of water after dicing)
3 to 4 slices prosciutto, chopped into small pieces
1/2 c. Gruyère, finely grated
1/2 c. Manchego, finely grated
Preheat oven to 550°F, and lightly sprinkle baking sheet with cornmeal.
(If possible, let the dough rise for a few hours at room temperature, then return it to the fridge.) Remove dough from fridge about 30 minutes before baking so that the dough returns to room temperature.
Crank oven up to 550 degrees. Lightly sprinkle a large baking sheet with cornmeal. Shape the dough by either rolling it out (will need a little flour) or lifting the dough up and stretching/rotating it until it fits the pan.
Spread crème fraîche and fig jam over pizza dough, then evenly sprinkle figs, prosciutto, Gruyère, and Manchego on top of dough. Roll pizza into a log. Slice log into 1/2 inch pieces with serrated knife or kitchen shears, and place each pizza roll an inch apart on baking sheet.
Bake pizza rolls for 12-18 minutes until cheese has melted and caramelized slightly. Let cool for 2 minutes, then enjoy!