This bacon and pear pizza captures the essence of fall with smoky, sweet, and earthy flavors.
If you really think about it, fall is by far the most olefactory season. Though spring has that freshly-tilled-earth smell with neon green pea shoots and asparagus spears; summer has its smoky cookouts and mint lemonades and berry pies; and winter has its rich, braised meats and gingerbread cookies and citrus fruits; it's the aromas of fall that dig deep into our souls. Dried leaves and hay bales, roasted butternut squash, rosemary and thyme, pumpkin beer, apple or pear or sweet potato pie, hot spiced (and/or spiked) apple cider, maple glazed pork roasts, whole birds wafting herbaceous, savory scents from the oven. . . . these are the triggers that shift our focus and bring us indoors again as the year gets ready to come to a close.
This bacon and pear pizza is the first fall recipe I posted on Thursday Night Pizza. To add some saltiness and a little bite, I threw in some locally made creamy blue cheese called Birchrun Blue. A drizzle of high-quality, local honey accentuated the pears' sweetness and kept everything in balance, and the end result created the perfect potpourri of roast pork, baked fruit, evergreen, and autumn leaves.
Bacon and Pear Pizza with Blue Cheese
- Large skillet
- Wooden spoon
- Large rimmed baking sheet or baking stone/steel
- Pizza peel (optional)
- 4 strips thick-cut smoked bacon chopped
- 1 (14- to 16-ounce) ball pizza dough
- 1½ teaspoons honey
- Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing and drizzling
- 2 firm Bosc pears cored and very thinly sliced
- ⅔ cup crumbled blue cheese preferably Gorgonzola
- Leaves from 2 sprigs fresh rosemary finely chopped
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 500°F (if using a baking sheet) or as high as it will go (if using a baking stone/steel; place the stone/steel in the oven before you start preheating).
- Heat a skillet over medium heat and cook the bacon for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until it is crispy and all the fat has been rendered. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the bacon to a paper towel–lined plate to drain.
- If you're using a baking stone/steel, turn the oven to Broil on high.
- Stretch or roll out your dough to a 12-inch circle, then transfer it to an oiled baking sheet or a lightly floured pizza peel (if using a baking stone/steel).
- To top the pizza: Measure the honey into a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave it for 30 seconds or until it has liquefied. Using a pastry brush, coat the dough lightly with olive oil, making sure to get all the way to the edges. Arrange the pear slices in concentric circles on the dough; try your best to get them in a single layer. Drizzle the liquefied honey over the pears, scatter the bacon and blue cheese on top, and then sprinkle on the rosemary. Give the pizza a quick, final drizzle of olive oil and a grind or two of black pepper.
- Transfer the pizza to the oven and bake until the crust is golden and the cheese has melted—8 to 10 minutes on the baking sheet, 6 to 8 minutes on the baking stone/steel.
- Remove the pizza from the oven. Slice and serve.