If you think all pizzas are already invented, you haven’t talked to Chris Scheuer.
By Chris Scheuer
A Christmas Pizza……. I have to be honest and say that although this delicious pizza is an original creation, it certainly didn’t start with such lofty aspirations. In fact, the humble origins of this amazing, flavorful, delicious pizza came about in a moment of desperation.
My Strawberry Balsamic Pizza came into being one day last summer when I had spent a bit too much time enjoying the day. Consequently, when dinnertime rolled around, I hadn’t given the evening meal even a thought… nor had I been to the market in days! When I checked out the fridge it was a quite barren and pitiful sight to behold: one lonely grilled chicken breast, a bit of leftover bacon, a few strawberries and an assortment of condiments, that was it! – other than a little cheese.
I was beginning to feel like the quintessential Mother Hubbard when – behold!! – among the condiments I spotted a lovely jar of Strawberry Jam. Gazing upon the ruby-red sweet preserves got my imagination going and the rest of the story is
history this pizza!! You have to try this!! I know it sounds quite unique, well …….. maybe even a little odd, but this pizza is truly fantastic, thank you Mother Hubbard!!! :)
I never dreamed that hot summer day what an overwhelming sensation this pizza would be with my readers on The Cafe Sucré Farine and all over the internet. People have been pinning it and re-pinning it feverishly on Pinterest along with other sites and it quickly became the most popular recipe on my blog.
Oh, and by the way; although I usually don’t even entertain the thought of purchasing strawberries out-of-season, the grocery store variety is just fine for this pizza. There are so many other incredible, flavorful ingredients, that the strawberries serve more as a taste of freshness and a beautiful, scarlet, visual appeal along with the lovely emerald cilantro, making this the perfect, festive pizza to serve at this time of the year. Enjoy!
Balsamic Strawberry Pizza with Chicken, Sweet Onion and Applewood Smoked Bacon
½ cup strawberry jam or preserves, I used my Strawberry-Pineapple Freezer Jam, use your favorite
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Sriracha Chili Sauce
1 ball pizza dough, your favorite or this recipe or a purchased ball of dough*
1 cup diced or shredded chicken breast
½ cup applewood smoked bacon, cut in 1 inch pieces, cooked and drained
½ cup thin sliced sweet onion
12 ounces shredded Italian blend cheese, I used Sargento, but whatever you like best is fine
¼ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh strawberries, diced small
1. Place pizza stone or sheet pan on middle rack of oven. Preheat oven to 450?F.
2. Place balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 4 to 5 minutes or until reduced to half of the original volume and mixture is thick and syrupy. Add strawberry preserves and Sriracha and mix well. Set aside to cool.
3. Pat or roll out pizza dough on a lightly floured surface to approximately a 14 inch circle. Shape does not have to be perfect as this is a rustic pizza. Place a piece of parchment paper, slightly larger than your dough on a pizza peel or an upside down sheet pan. (The parchment paper will make your transfer of the pizza to the oven infinitely easier!) Sprinkle parchment paper lightly with cornmeal. Fold dough in quarters and place on parchment paper, then unfold.
4. Combine chicken with 2 tablespoons of the balsamic-strawberry mixture and mix to coat all chicken with sauce. Pour rest of sauce onto pizza dough and spread to cover. Leave a 1 inch border all around the edge. Scatter chicken evenly over the sauce.
5. Place about 3/4 of the cheese on top of dough and spread to cover sauce evenly. Scatter bacon and sweet onion over cheese to distribute evenly. Scatter remaining cheese over this layer.
6. Slide parchment paper with pizza on top onto stone or cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 8-10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and crust is golden brown. Watch carefully, at this temperature it is easy to burn the pizza!
7. Remove from oven and let cool slightly, 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and fresh diced strawberries. Serve and enjoy!
*You can purchase pizza dough from Whole Foods, Trader Jo’s and many other grocery stores. Often pizzerias will sell a ball of their own dough for a very reasonable price.
Crescentia "Chris" Scheuer is the creator of The Café Sucré Farine food blog, which has been hugely successful since its inception in March 2011. Her recipes are seen on Foodgawker, TasteSpotting, Gourmet Live, Bon Appétit Bloggers, Foodista and other international food sites. Her inspiration for creating new, innovative cuisine comes from an insatiable curiosity, a love of travel and family connections in the UK. She has taught cooking classes in Raleigh, NC, USA.