Greetings! This recipe is based on one I’ve made a few times over the last two decades. It’s originally from a book called Vegetarian Pizza, by James McNair. The only difference is I used a different recipe for the dough. Every time I made this in the past though, I’ve always used dried figs; I never made it with fresh mission figs, until now! And I realized what I’ve been missing! I mean, it’s still good if you use dried figs, but you’ll definitely miss the soft, luscious sweetness of the fresh mission figs.
The other ingredients really complement the flavor and texture of the fresh figs, whereas when you use dried figs, you get sweetness and a little bit of a chew. It’s still good, it just doesn’t go as well as when you have fresh figs.
If you can’t find fresh figs, or they are not in season, you’ll find dried figs in the grocery stores usually in the same place you find raisins. I should warn you, though, that they really shrink when dried. And they are not soft and juicy, obvs. But they’ll do in a pinch. You’ll still get enough of a contrast between sweet and salty and tangy, you’ll just get chewy instead of soft and juicy. But chewy works with the crispy, so it’ll be fine.
The combination of sweetness and softness from the honey and figs with the salty tang of the blue cheese and the crunch and slight crispness of the walnuts and pizza crust, is what really works. This is my favorite recipe so far this year.
fig gorgonzola walnut honey pizza
5 fluid ounces lukewarm water
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
3 teaspoons granulated sugar, plus a pinch for the yeast
2 cups plus 1/4 cup bread flour
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil, plus more for greasing
2 Tablespoons cornmeal
Toppings: gorgonzola, honey, walnuts, figs
cornmeal for dusting peel
In a small bowl, add the water, yeast, and a pinch of sugar. Stir to dissolve sugar and get yeast wet, then leave undisturbed for about 5 minutes until bubbly.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add the flour, salt, and olive oil. Turn the mixer on low and while on low, slowly drizzle the yeast water down over the flour occasionally stopping the mixer to use a spatula to scrape the bottom and sides to moisten the dry ingredients.
After adding all the liquid, stop the mixer and use a spatula again to try to get the moisture to any more of the dry areas. If it really seems too dry, add a tablespoon of warm water carefully in areas that need moisture. Start mixer again and slowly add another tablespoon of water if needed. Let dough sit for about 5 minutes for dough to catch up to absorb some of the water. Try not to end up adding too much liquid and having to then add more flour.
Turn mixer back on, this time on medium high and let the mixer go for about 2 minutes. Dough should form that is sticky enough to clean the sides and bottom of the bowl. Stop the mixer and remove dough.
Form dough into a ball and place dough into a bowl greased with olive oil and roll around dough in bowl to grease dough ball on all sides. Cover bowl tightly and keep in a warm place in your kitchen for an hour or two to let dough rise until doubled. If you don’t want to use dough right away, punch it down after 1-2 hours to remove air bubbles and form back into a ball, then return the cover of the bowl and transfer the bowl into a refrigerator for several hours or up to 3-4 days.
When ready to bake pizzas, heat oven to 500 degrees F. and place a pizza stone in the oven. Leave the pizza stone in the oven at least 30 minutes at 500 degrees before you intend to bake.
Punch down dough and divide into 6 equal pieces. You may use a scale to ensure that they are all the same size. You may also make less pizzas if you’d like each of them to be larger, but this size, about 6 inches in diameter, is perfect for each pizza to hold 4-5 medium fig slices as pictured.
Work each pizza separately. You can either use your hands to press it into a 6” diameter disc, starting from the center, or use a rolling pin.
After flattening out one piece of dough to a disc, transfer it to a peel that has been dusted generously with cornmeal or semolina flour. You can also just use a flat plate or a cutting board if you don’t have a pizza peel.
Lightly rub the top surface of the disc of dough with olive oil. Crumble some gorgonzola cheese on top, then place slices of fresh figs in a circle around the center, then chopped walnuts, and then drizzle honey over the toppings, to taste. I drizzled about a tablespoon per pizza.
Make sure there is enough cornmeal dusted on the peel to help keep pizzas from sticking to the peel, which makes it easy to slide it onto the pizza stone in the oven.
Open the oven door and quickly and steadily slide the pizza to transfer it to the stone and close oven door and bake for about 10 to 12 minutes, a little more if you’d like it browner on the edges.
When desired brownness is reached, use an offset spatula to transfer pizza to a wire rack or platter to cool slightly before serving. To reheat pizza, heat in a 350 degree oven for several minutes to thoroughly heat to centers.