Pizza Bianca with Fresh Figs and Prosciutto Crudo
I found a comment the other day on my bread page asking if I had any tips for making a good pizza bianca, I didn’t, but I figured that I needed to at least try making it myself again. We’ve become lazy lately finding that Publix makes a great pizza dough, also good crusty bread, so I retired from bread making and pizza making for about a year. I recently started making bread again, trying to save a little on groceries, and remembered how easy it was and how good the bread is. I figured since my reader asked me about pizza bianca, it was time to try the no-knead pizza dough again as well.
My first attempt was a delicious mess, I was using a pizza stone, which bakes pizzas beautifully, but made it difficult to transfer the dough. Since we lost our pizza stone in the move I used a cookie sheet to make the pizza bianca, this made the process so much easier because I could stretch the dough across the sheet and didn’t have to bother transferring it to a hot stone.
I am happy to report that my pizza bianca came out really well, it did taste a little bready, this makes sense since it is essentially the same recipe as the no-knead bread, but considering the fact that this recipe is so easy with no-kneading involved, I will be making more pizza bianca in the future.
I found some nice little figs at the farmers market the other day and to celebrate this beautiful pizza I decided to make a pizza that you could find in early September in Rome with fresh figs and prosciutto. This is such a delicious treat, especially because figs are so hard to find here and though the figs were delicious they were about a quarter of the size of the figs in Italy and very difficult to peel.
We made dinner out of this, but it would make a great antipasto for a dinner party.
No-Knead Pizza Dough adapted from Jim Lahey, Co.
- 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
- ¼ teaspoon instant yeast
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 1½ cups water
In a large bowl, mix the flour with the yeast and salt. Add the water and stir until blended (the dough will be very sticky). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for 12 to 24 hours in a warm spot, about 70°.
Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and lightly sprinkle the top with flour. Fold the dough over on itself once or twice, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes.
Divide the dough into 4 pieces and shape each piece into a ball (I made one sheet of pizza and did not divide). Generously sprinkle a clean cotton towel with cornmeal and cover the dough balls with it. Let the dough rise for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 500° for about half an hour. If you are using a pizza stone, preheat the oven with the stone in it.
Stretch or toss the dough into the desired shape, cover with toppings and bake on top of a cookie sheet or a very hot pizza stone. Bake for about 10 minutes, checking frequently, when the pizza is golden in color and starting to bubble it is ready. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a rack.
If your pizza rose in the oven and is about 1 inch thick, slice it in two to create a sandwich. Peel figs and smear them in the pizza, top with prosciutto slices and if you like some chevre, the chevre adds a whole other element. Cut the pizza into smaller pieces with kitchen scissors and serve, the scissors make it easier to cut the prosciutto without making a mess.