A few days ago I started enough dough for two small pizza crusts, then set off for Costco to shop for, among other things, ingredients to top a dessert pizza.
I wondered what I might use for cheese instead of my usual mascarpone or goat cheese, and my eyes lit on a package of Cranberry Wensleydale. It’s a soft, crumbly young cheese that one of my sons loves, and I thought it might combine well with apples. It did, and now I see that in Yorkshire, where Wensleydale is traditionally made, “apple pie may be accompanied by white Wensleydale, giving rise to the saying ‘an apple pie without the cheese is like a kiss without the squeeze’. ”
In a bit of serendipity I had leftover cranberry sauce in the fridge. I make it very simply from the Ocean Spray recipe. Once the pizza was made, not only was it delicious but the crust was better than usual. I often make an entirely whole grain crust for the sake of healthiness without expecting it to be quite as good as one made partially with white flour. This time I was out of olive oil and the butter I used instead seemed to improve it, especially for a dessert pizza. Of course, make or buy whatever kind of pizza crust you like. If you prefer a half white flour crust my recipe is here.
Wensleydale doesn’t really melt so be careful in this pizza not to burn it. Don’t leave the pizza in any longer than 11 minutes. The cheese was beginning to brown when I took it out. I’ve halved my dough recipe for you here, originally I used 1 3/4 cup of each kind of flour and make enough dough for two small pizzas.
I can’t leave the subject of Wensleydale without mentioning the spunky stop-motion adventurers Wallace and Gromit. Our family loved watching their comic noir when the boys were growing up. Wallace loves cheese, and his character introduced our family and many others to Wensleydale. In fact, it looks like Wallace’s endorsement of it may have saved the Yorkshire creamery.
Wensleydale made in Yorkshire from sheep grazed in the Yorkshire Dales has protected origin status, and you can buy it in the US at Whole Foods and some other places. Costco’s Cranberry Wensleydale uses milk from the Dales but is made in Dorset.
and Wallace and Gromit building a robot to go to the Moon (to find cheese) in A Grand Day Out:
- ⅔ cup lukewarm water, between 105 and 115 F (will feel slightly warm to the touch)
- 1 tsp. active dry yeast
- 1.5 Tbsp. butter
- slightly generous ¾ cup white whole wheat flour (0.9 cup)
- slightly generous ¾ cup regular whole wheat flour (0.9 cup)
- ¾ tsp. salt
- A little oil for oiling the bowls
- course cornmeal for pizza peel or cutting board
- 4½ oz. Cranberry Wensleydale
- 10 oz. apples (2 small apples, I used Honeycrisp)
- ¼ cup. cranberry sauce (leftover homemade, from whole cranberries and sugar)
- Oil two bowls for the dough to rise in.
- Using a food processor fitted with the regular metal chopping knife, combine water, dry yeast, and butter in food processor.
- Process for a few seconds until smooth.
- Add flours and salt.
- Process again until the dough comes together in a ball (about 30 seconds) then let the ball continue to process for about another 10 seconds to knead.
- Place dough ball in large oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap.
- Let dough rise. The time will vary based on the temperature of the dough and of the room, but about an hour is average. The important thing is how much the dough has risen, not how much time has passed.
- When the dough has almost doubled in bulk, divide it into two halves and shape into round balls again.
- Place pizza stone in oven and begin heating the oven to 500 F.
- Place each half of the dough in a clean, oiled bowl, cover, and let rise again. The second rise will be faster, about half an hour.
- Coat a large cutting board or pizza peel with a generous amount of coarse cornmeal.
- Place dough ball onto the cutting board and flatten with your hands, then roll out to the desired size (a 12 inch diameter works well).
- Cut apples into thin slices.
- Sprinkle corn meal on a large cutting board or pizza peel.
- Lay parchment paper on the cutting board or peel.
- Roll out crust on top of the parchment paper.
- Spread cranberry sauce on the pizza in a thin layer.
- Top with sliced apples.
- Crumble Cranberry Wensleydale on top of the apples.
- Slide pizza onto preheated pizza stone in oven.
- Bake for 11 minutes.
- Pull (by parchment paper) pizza off pizza stone onto a serving platter.
- Cut with a pizza wheel (or sharp knife) and serve.