I don't mean to brag (well, maybe a little), but I've got the holiday season in the bag this year. The presents have been wrapped for about two weeks now; Jack met Santa for the first time—and didn't cry (!!!); we saw the light displays at City Hall and Macy's; and I even had enough brain power to create a pizza wreath that's as tasty as it is festive. I know all this means that chaos is coming—there's no way things can run this smoothly for long—so right now I'm reveling in the calmness and crossing my fingers that it lasts at least through Christmas.
Anyway, let's talk pizza wreaths! When I first had the idea, I scoured the web for inspiration and landed on this recipe on ITV.com. There are a lot of other methods out there, but I liked that this one didn't sacrifice flavor for artistry. I mean, who has the patience to carve a pretty bow out of red bell pepper, only to have it tossed to the side when it's time to dig in?
As you can see in the above photo, I ended up making two versions of the pizza wreath: one with marinara sauce, pepperoni, fresh mozzarella, and parsley, and another—the real showstopper—with fennel, goat cheese, nutmeg cream, arugula, and pomegranate seeds.
Here's how it's done: Roll out a ball of dough to your usual 12 to 14-inch circle, cut an asterisk into the center, and arrange the toppings on the outside ring. Then stretch the pointed ends of the asterisk over the toppings and press into the edges of dough to seal. Brush with olive oil and bake at 450°F for 15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly.
For a bit of flourish, skip the standard red bell pepper bow and make one with herbs instead. I used curly parsley, but you could use fennel fronds or rosemary sprigs instead. Happy holidays!
- 1 (14 to 16-ounce) ball Basic or Slow-Rise Pizza Dough (or pre-made pizza dough)
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ½ fennel bulb, very thinly sliced
- ½ cup crumbled goat cheese
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon chopped fennel fronds
- Handful of baby arugula
- ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Rub a pizza pan or rimmed baking sheet with olive oil.
- Roll out the dough to a 12 to 14-inch circle. Mark a circle in the center of the dough with an upside-down bowl. Using a sharp knife, cut an "X" into the circle, rotate, then cut another "X," making an asterisk (see photos above).[br]
- Brush the ring of dough with olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Arrange the fennel slices on top and crumble on the goat cheese. Mix together the cream and nutmeg and drizzle over the fennel and cheese. Sprinkle with the fennel fronds and scatter the arugula on top. Season with salt and pepper.[br]
- Stretch the center points of dough over the filling and press them into the dough edges to seal. Brush the dough with olive oil and sprinkle with a little more salt.[br]
- Bake for 15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the cream is bubbling. Remove from the oven and top with the pomegranate seeds. Slice and serve.