This not-too-sweet dessert (or snack, brunch or breakfast dish) reminds me a little of the glorious apple strudels and tortes of east and central European heritage. That doesn’t sound much like true pizza, of course; still, it’s topped with cheese and baked open-face in a pizza pan, so pizza it is.
Select a firm, tart apple variety such as Northern Spy, Cortland, Braeburn, or Jonathan for this dish. Aged white cheddar gives it deep flavor and richness, but for a milder tasting (and more colorful) effect, use Organic Valley Colby cheese instead of the cheddar.
This was adapted from a recipe contributed by Margaret Zickert in Bountiful Wisconsin: 110 Favorite Recipes, by Terese Allen (Trails Books).
1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Working on a floured surface, roll out pie dough into a 13-inch round. Transfer it to a 12-inch pizza pan. Fold in and crimp the overlapping dough around the pan to create an edge for the crust. Chill the crust while you prepare the custard and apples.
2. Prepare custard: Whisk the cream, brown sugar, egg, cinnamon and cloves in a bowl until smooth. Set aside.
3. Peel the apples, cut them in half and, working around the core, cut three wedges off each half. Discard cores and cut each wedge into two thick slices. Arrange slices in two or three neat circles over the crust (or do a “pie wedge” pattern if you like). Gently pour custard mixture over and around the apples. Scatter raisins around the pan and press them lightly into the liquid. Bake until liquid is set and edges of pie are golden brown, 45-50 minutes.
4. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle cheese evenly over the pastry. Let it cool on a wire rack to warm or room temperature before serving.
*Prepare your own favorite recipe for pie dough, or use the one described in the first paragraph of the recipe for Flat Apple Pie. You’ll only need half the amount for apple cheese pizza; the other half may be flattened into a disk, wrapped tightly and refrigerated or frozen for future use.
Copyright by Terese Allen