Cranberry, Walnut and Goat Cheese Whole Wheat Thin Crust Pizza

Cranberry and Goat Cheese Pizza Recipe

“Whole wheat thin crust pizzas are complete rockstars in the structure and taste department.  If you like thin, crisp crusts that give a little snap with each bite and make a slightly nutty foundation for an endless world of ingredients, you want in on this simple, whole wheat thin crust recipe.”

I walk in the House and Angie and Sam are on the couch, watching Mad Men and puffing on electronic cigarettes.  Both staring intently at the television, my entrance completely unnoticed.   I’m “shushed” milliseconds into my first, confused syllable.  As it is when I’m completely lost, I wander into the kitchen to make something.  I guess I’m glad they’re not real cigarettes.  I guess I’m glad that they’re not sharing a fifth of whiskey and that Angie’s not having an office affair.  There’s no office at the bakery and the man population consists of Josh, our son, and Raphael, who, fetching as he is, works the early shift.  As concerns over the influence of television on our youth (provided we can all agree that youth now extends to fully grown women and their fully grown daughters) swirl in the back of my mind, like the sweet vapor of melon scented mini-hookas, I long for something I can understand.  Pizza I understand.  Women and TV…not so much.

Whole wheat thin crust pizzas are complete rockstars in the structure and taste department.  If you like thin, crisp crusts that give a little snap with each bite and make a slightly nutty foundation for an endless world of ingredients, you want in on this simple, whole wheat thin crust recipe.  The slightly sweet, slightly tart cranberries paired with the creamy tang of goat cheese are downright addictive.  The arugula adds a very slight hint of anise.  It’s pretty much pizza poetry.

Soundtrack:  When no one’s in the kitchen to touch the dial, especially when its night time and I need to unwind, I usually go for the offbeat, slightly dark stuff.  Tonight, it was a band that goes way back for me:  Throwing Muses.  I’m a sucker for a smart woman with a great voice….always have been.

Makes 2, 12″-ish thin crust, whole wheat pizzas.  Serves 3-5 people.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees (f)/ 220 degrees (c).  Position a rack in the center of the oven and place a pizza stone on the rack.  If you don’t have a pizza stone, place your pizzas on a baking sheet instead.

Ingredients:
Crust:
3/4 Cup luke warm water
1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
2 Cups organic, whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp Kosher salt

Toppings:
1/2 Cup prepared cranberries. (see directions below)
4-6 Tbsp marinara sauce per pizza.  Click here for our homemade classic, marinara sauce.
3/4 Cup Goat cheese, crumbled
1 1/2 Cups fresh arugula
Olive oil for crust (optional)

Directions:

Pizza Crust:
By Hand:  Sprinkle the yeast into the luke warm water (just above body temperature), stir briefly with a fork until the yeast has dissolved.  Set aside for 5 minutes.  It does not need to foam but it’s ok if it does.  It should look like miso soup when it’s ready.   Place the flour in a medium bowl or on a flat, clean surface and whisk with the salt to combine.  Form the dry flour/salt mixture into a mound, then use your fist to create a hole in the center.  Pour the water and yeast mixture into the hole and stir with a fork, slowly pulling the flour into the water.  Continue to stir until all of the water is absorbed into the flour, then form into a single ball.

With a Food Processor: I really prefer the food processor for pizza dough. It’s fast, its easy and it takes a few minutes out of the kneading by hand time you’ll need (no pun intended).  Simply place the dry ingredients in your processor fitted with the metal blade, put the cover on and process for 20 seconds to combine the salt and flour. With the processor still running, remove the liquid fill-hole cap and slowly (count to five) pour in water/yeast mixture.  Let the processor run until the dough forms into a ball and most of the ingredients have gathered to it.  In our kitchen, once the water is introduced, it takes about 30 seconds before we have a formed ball and there are just a few bits of dough rattling around free. Remove the ball of dough carefully (those blades are wicked sharp) and gather any large bits of extra dough you can and work them into the ball.

Cranberry and Goat Cheese Pizza Ingredients

Whether you mixed by hand or use a food processor, knead the dough until it’s silky and smooth.  It might be a little sticky.  If it starts to stick to your hands after a few minutes of kneading (it wil always stick a little when you first start kneading it, but it will improve in most cases after a few minutes), add a little flour to your hands and continue to knead.  Cut the ball in half with a pastry scraper or knife.  Dust a slightly larger than 12″ x 12″ piece of parchment paper with a little bit of flour, form each ball into a 1/4″ thick disk.  Place your palm in the center of the disk and gently pull the edge up and out, rotating the disk after each pull.  You can also roll out the dough with a lightly floured rolling pin.  Save the parchment paper for baking.

Cranberries:
To prepare the cranberries: Place 1/2 Cup of organic, granulated sugar into 1 Cup of water, bring to a simmer over medium-low heat and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the cranberries and continue to simmer until the cranberries have all popped. Do not stick your head too close to the pot to watch the cranberries. Yes, it’s fascinating, but the water is hot and you’ll burn your face when the cranberries pop.  Remove from heat and allow them to cool completely.  Once cooled, drain the water and set the cranberries aside to top your pizza.

Assembly:
Add 1/2 of the sauce to the top of each pizza with a ladle, using the back of the ladle to spread it thinly towards the edges.  Be careful to stay around 1/2″ from the edge all the way around.  You can brush the sauce-free edge with olive oil and add garlic salt or leave plain.  Olive oil alone will slightly moisten the outer crust and help it brown.

Making Great Pizza at Home

Bake for 5 minutes with only the sauce on the pizzas , remove,  then bake for an additional 7 minutes with the goat cheese and cranberries added evenly to each pizza.  Do not add the arugula until after the pizza is out of the oven and before serving.  Your crust should be firm and crisp. Your pizza should taste awesome. Enjoy.

Cranberry and Goat Cheese Pizza Directions

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