This pizza is a study in balance, with creamy, tangy blue cheese; sweet, chewy figs; salty, crispy bacon; and zippy, fresh-tasting chives.
It's super annoying when someone finds out you don't like a certain food and then immediately rebuts: "That's just because you haven't tried it [insert cooking/serving method here]." However, I do maintain that this fig and bacon pizza is THE gateway nosh for people who think they hate blue cheese. In fact, I might even venture to say that it's one of the most perfect pizzas I've made since I started Thursday Night Pizza.
Here's why: When you take a bite, you get all five tastes in perfect harmony. There's saltiness and umami from the bacon, bitterness from the chives, sourness from the blue cheese, and sweetness from the figs. Plus, the contested sixth taste, fat, is present in cream and cheese and bacon grease.
There are a few extra steps to achieving fig and bacon pizza nirvana, but they're totally worth it.
- Reconstitute your dried figs in boiling water for 10 minutes before slicing. The beauty of dried figs is that you can find them year round, but they are rather tense and way too chewy as is for pizza. A quick soak in hot water plumps them up just the perfect amount, giving them a tender, jammy texture.
- Cook your bacon ahead of time. Slice or chop the bacon slices into bite-size pieces, then cook them in a skillet over medium heat until they're cooked through and just beginning to brown at the edges. (Remember: the bacon will cook more when it's on the pizza in the oven.) And save a few tablespoons of bacon grease before you wipe out the skillet; a light brushing of this liquid gold on the dough makes all the difference.
- Practice your drizzling skills with the cream. Pour the cream into a measuring cup or other spouted container, and slowly drizzle it in an even stream over the pizza before and after baking. This part takes practice (you might end up with a puddle or two the first time you try it), but it's easy once you get the hang of it.
Fig and Bacon Pizza with Blue Cheese, Cream, and Chives
- pastry brush
- Rolling pin (optional)
- Large rimmed baking sheet or baking stone/steel
- Pizza peel (optional)
- 10 dried figs
- 5 to 6 slices bacon, chopped
- 1 (14- to 16-ounce) ball pizza dough
- 4 ounces creamy blue cheese, crumbled
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
- salt and 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 bottom third of the oven before you start preheating). Let the oven preheat for at least 30 minutes. Then, if you’re using a baking stone or steel, switch the oven to Broil on high.
- Place the figs in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Let the figs steep for 10 minutes, then drain well, pat the figs dry, and cut them into thin slices.
- Cook the chopped bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat until it just begins to crisp up at the edges, about 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the bacon to a paper towel–lined plate to drain. Reserve a few tablespoons of bacon grease in the skillet for brushing on the dough.
- Stretch or roll out your dough to a 12- to 14-inch circle, then transfer it to a baking sheet / pizza pan or a lightly floured pizza peel (if using a baking stone/steel).
- Pour the cream into a measuring cup or other container with a spout. Using a pastry brush, coat the dough lightly with a tablespoon or so of bacon grease. Scatter on the bacon and fig slices, sprinkle the crumbled blue cheese on top, and drizzle with half of the cream.
- Transfer the pizza to the oven and bake until the crust is golden and the cheese has browned in spots—8 to 10 minutes on the baking sheet, 6 to 8 minutes on the baking stone/steel.
- Remove the pizza from the oven, then immediately drizzle the remaining cream over top. Sprinkle the chives on the pizza and season with a pinch of salt and a grind or two of pepper. Let rest for a few minutes; slice and serve.