12 November 2014

Eats: brie, apple, bacon, and sausage flatbread

Well hello! Here I am on Wednesday, as promised! Thank you, dear readers, for being so understanding about me backing off the blog. Even though I’m clearly not in this game for huge readership numbers (see: lack of advertising, ancient layout, zero social media connections), I really do cherish those of you who come by daily. It helps to know I’m not letting you down!

That said, can I be honest for a second and admit that this doesn’t feel as weird as I thought it might be? It seems I was more ready for the three-day-a-week schedule than I realized. This can only be a good thing.

Anyway! Today I’m back with Eats, on a Wednesday, because if we’re mixing it up why not go all-out disorienting? Actually, it’s more because if I’m not posting as often, I gotta make sure to get seasonal stuff out when you still care about it. And that means I need to share this tasty fall recipe in time for you to try it out before Christmas descends upon us!

This recipe comes entirely from Mr. P who, when I was stuck on what to make for dinner one week, suggested some “apple... brie... bacon something?” Which sounded delicious, but I wasn’t sure how exactly to execute it. Whenever I have that problem, there’s two go-to solutions: turn it into pasta, or turn it into a flatbread-ish pizza. This time I did the latter, and fortunately, I wasn’t the first person in the world to try it. So I used these two recipes here and here as guides and gave it a go!

First up, you gotta make your crust. I feel like I’ve done this here on the blog a dozen times, but if you missed it before, the basic idea is you use this no-knead focaccia as a pizza crust. For this particular pizza, I used 3 cups of flour, a cup and a half of water, a teaspoon of yeast (since I started the crust in the morning), and a generous sprinkling of salt.

Stir it together and let it sit for six to eight hours to let the yeast do its magic.

Because of the long rise time, I made the dough in the morning and stretched it out later in the day to bake. Don’t forget – before you spread it out, spray the baking sheet with nonstick spray and generously sprinkle with cornstarch. I forgot the cornstarch this time and really missed it!

Let the crust rise on the pan a bit while you slice up your apples. I used two galas because... well, I like galas. Go ahead and slice ‘em thin. I suppose you could peel them or cut them into chunks, if you prefer, but I was happy with slices.

Whatever you do, try to make them evenly sized, too... though if you accidentally bungle a cut and make a piece that you should just pop in your mouth instead of saving for the pizza, OH WELL.

Next, mix up a few tablespoons of olive oil with some balsamic vinegar (I discovered too late that I was out, so I had to use garlic-infused red wine vinegar instead) and maple syrup. Yes, some. I didn’t measure any of those things. Whisk them together and use them to brush the crust.

Then pop it in the oven – it needs 17-20 minutes at 425 degrees before you top it with anything.

Then, take a few more tablespoons of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and toss in your apples to coat, with a sprinkling of sea salt.

Start cooking them over medium heat for a few minutes. Then stir in two tablespoons of brown sugar and a teaspoon each of salt and cinnamon, and continue to cook over medium heat for another five to ten minutes until tender.

In the meantime, cut the cheese! Literally. No potty jokes here. I used this brie because it was inexpensive and because it had the magic word “pasteurized” on it (i.e. safe for expecting ladies – though honestly, with the baking, it would likely be fairly safe anyway).

Peel or trim off the rind (because gross) and slice or tear it up as thinly as you can into small pieces.

Finally: the meat! I already had four cooked strips of bacon and a 1/3 pound of sausage on hand. I know, cheater.

About this time, your apples should be cooked:

And crust baked:

And daylight totally gone, if you hadn’t noticed, because Earth’s rotation is an awful, fickle beast that takes away our glorious life-giving sun for half the year.

Ugh, whatever. I guess that means it’s time to assemble this beast! Just to make sure everything could adhere to the crust, I put a super-thin layer of shredded mozzarella and parmesan along the bottom, followed by the apples and their associated goo:

Then the bacon and sausage, and finally the brie:

Pop it in the 425-degree oven for another ten minutes, and then you’ve got..

Goodness gracious would you look at that brie bubbling down there on the right. With sweet apples and spicy sausage mixed in? Heck yes!

That said, I was a little worried about whether this would be any good as dinner. I mean it sounded great in theory, but how’d it hold up in practice? Pretty great, actually! I have a cousin who is a caterer, and I told Mr. P this tasted like one of the fancy dishes she’d bring to Thanksgiving dinner. The only thing I wasn’t wild about was the plain crust. In the future, I’d add some rosemary – it would be delicious!

Although this made a tasty fall dinner, I think this would be a pretty impressive appetizer-type option if you happened to attend a potluck this time of year – even a Thanksgiving dinner potluck! Sure, it’s not the most traditional dish, but you can’t beat all those fall flavors piled on warm bread. Yum! Enjoy!