Friday, June 15, 2012

Strawberry Balsamic Bacon Pizza

Strawberry Balsamic Bacon Pizza.  A gorgeous homemade pizza crust is topped with roasted chicken, bacon, cheese, a spicy-sweet strawberry sauce, and...yep...strawberries.  Sounds weird, right?  But this is hands down my new favorite pizza recipe.

Paul was very excited when he heard I was making pizza for dinner, but his enthusiasm quickly turned into apprehension when I told him we were having a strawberry pizza.

"So...we're like having strawberry version of one of those dessert pizzas on the Pizza Hut buffet?" he asked, without even trying to hide his disappointment.

"Not at all - it has a bacon and chicken on it too!"

That made him perk up a little.  Everything is better with bacon.

We really did not know what to expect with this pizza.  But the combination sounded interesting enough that I definitely wanted to give it a try.  Instead of your normal tomato-based sauce, the sauce for this pizza is composed of balsamic reduction, strawberry jam, and Siracha sauce.  Once everything is mixed together, the taste is reminiscent of a barbecue and Teriyaki sauce hybrid.  Very unique!

This makes a beautiful looking pizza.  And the taste?  Unbelievable.  Sweet, tangy, salty, and just a little bit of residual heat from the Siracha sauce made this one nice party for the taste buds.  The chopped strawberries and cilantro on top add just a touch of freshness.  I really consider this the perfect gourmet pizza.

And Paul and Matthew loved it as well!!  Give this a try for a unique twist on pizza night!

Strawberry Balsamic Bacon Pizza
adapted slightly from Annie's Eats

For the dough:
1/2 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
4 cups (22 ounces) bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 cups water, at room temperature
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

For the sauce:
1/2 cup good-quality strawberry jam
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1-2 teaspoons Siracha sauce

For the toppings:
1 cup shredded or diced cooked chicken
4-5 slices bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
4 oz. shredded mozzarella or provolone cheese
2 oz. shredded Parmesan cheese
2-3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
1/2 cup strawberries, hulled and diced

To make the dough, place the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and mix briefly to combine.  Mix the warm water and yeast in a small bowl until the yeast swells.  Add the oil and room-temperature water to the bowl with the yeast.  With the mixer set to low, slowly and steadily stream in the yeast mixture.  Once the dough comes together, turn off the mixer and switch to the dough hook.  Continue to knead the dough on medium speed for about 5 minutes or until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky.  Knead for about 30 seconds on a lightly floured countertop and form into a ball.  Place in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to coat.  Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and set aside for the dough to double in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

While the dough is rising, make the sauce.  Place the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan and simmer over medium-high heat until reduced to about 2 tablespoons.  Alternatively, if you already have a bottle of balsamic reduction on hand, you can skip this step and just use 2 tablespoons of that in the sauce recipe.  Whisk together the reduced balsamic vinegar, the strawberry jam, and the Siracha sauce.  Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Once the dough has doubled, gently deflate and turn out onto a lightly floured countertop.  Divide the dough in half.  Let the dough rest at least 10 minutes but no more than 30.  (If you are planning on only making one pizza, wrap the dough ball you do not plan on using with plastic wrap and then place in a ziploc bag.  You can freeze the dough for up to 1-2 months).

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees with a pizza stone set on the middle rack for at least 20 minutes before baking.

Stretch/roll the dough into a 12-14 inch round pizza shape.  At this point, I usually like to place the pizza dough on a large sheet of parchment paper to help when transferring it to the pizza stone.  Spread the sauce over the entire surface, then sprinkle with the chicken, bacon, and sliced onion.  Cover with the cheeses.  Finish with the cilantro and chopped strawberries.

Using a large cutting board, transfer the pizza to the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are browned and the cheese is melted.  Remove from the oven and let stand about 5 minutes before slicing and serving.  Enjoy!


  1. Okay, Monica, I'm not sure if I'm that adventurous when it comes to pizza! ;) I'll keep it tucked in the back of my mind.

    I am going to try that pizza crust recipe though. Is that your go-to recipe for pizza crust? It seems pretty easy! I've had a pizza stone for awhile now and never really figured out how to use it, but I've gradually been enlighted that you shouldn't assemble a pizza on a cold pizza stone and put it in the oven expecting anything but a disaster. Now I just need to add a pizza peel to my kitchen wish-list (along with the blender and kitchen scale)...I don't know that I have a cutting board that's big enough to move a whole pizza!

  2. Hey Alicia! The crust recipe is the one I usually use for a regular pizza dough and it is a dream to put together (especially if you have a kitchen scale!). I also have a thin crust recipe that is probably my absolute favorite, but you can really only use it when you are not loading up on the toppings. Pizza stones are amazing! You need to preheat them with the oven for at least 20-30 minutes before baking or else they are absolutely worthless! They help cook the bottom of pizzas, breads, etc so you get a perfect crust and no soggy, under-cooked dough! I am actually shopping around for a new stone because mine broke in half about a month ago. I still use it, but it's getting really annoying so I need to just get a new one.

  3. Yeah, I can imagine working with a halved stone! That would get annoying! I got mine with some pizza making kit I bid on at a silent auction for my old volunteer program. At the time I didn't really know what to do with it. :)

    How long do you recommend thawing the dough before working with it if you pull it out of the freezer? I'm thinking that I could make a two batches of it on a weekend, freeze it, and have pizza dough for a whole month! I like quick fast meal prep with this whole working full-time gig.

  4. If you put the frozen dough in the refrigerator the morning before, it should be all thawed and ready to go. Just let it sit on the counter, covered with a kitchen towel or a piece of plastic wrap, to warm up a bit while you prep the other ingredients. Should be just fine!

  5. Hey Monica! I've been making this pizza for months, it is probably my favorite pizza out there! recipe i use has you putting strawberries and cilantro on after baking but i've made that mistake before and just put them on before baking. here at the farmer's market they have some hot strawberry jam that tastes great with it!

  6. Hey Bridgette! I'll try adding the strawberries/cilantro on after removing the pizza from the oven next time. The blog I got the recipe from did not do that for hers, but I tracked back to her original source and saw that the original recipe does call for scattering the strawberries/cilantro on after baking. I loved how it tasted before, but we'll see if that makes a bit of a difference. ANd the hot strawberry jam would be FANTASTIC. Hope you're doing well!!