When we first moved to the PNW in 2001, there was a local chain pastaria that we enjoyed quite a lot. They have since gone out of business, but they had pastas, of course, and a list of wonderful pizzas. The one pizza that I loved and regularly ordered was this 4-Cheese, Fig, and Prosciutto Pizza. The combination of the cheeses, figs, and prosciutto is truly magical!
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What kind of figs?
This recipe calls for dried figs rather than fresh. Fresh figs would dry out while baking the pizza and they wouldn't have as much flavor as dried ones. Dried figs carry a concentrated flavor on their own and then, when you warm them first in apple juice or brandy, you get such an amazing flavor. I was fresh out of apple juice, but had a locally distilled Bellewood Apple Brandy on hand.
We gotta talk crust.
This could be a big discussion because of celiac disease, wheat allergies, and wheat intolerances. I urge you to use the crust that works for you and your health. In our family, we have wheat sensitivities, but we have learned that we tolerate sourdough quite well.
- You can buy store-bought crusts. There are some stores that make crusts and put them in plastic bags to purchase. I used to buy some at Trader Joe's and my local grocery store, Central Market, has them. These days, you can even find gluten-free crusts or cauliflower crusts. I've not tried this recipe with either of those, but you might find you like them.
- You can make regular yeast crusts at home. Which might take an education in crusts so you can choose what recipe you prefer. You know, thin & crispy vs. thick & doughy. This recipe definitely leans toward thin & crispy.
- In a pinch, you can also use flatbread or naan. Store-bought or homemade. Or store-bought french bread. (A disclaimer: I really dislike American stores' renditions of "French bread" ... it just really isn't what it says it is. However, it might prove to be a good pizza base for you. And that's OK with me. You do YOU!)
- MY CHOICE OF CRUST: I make homemade sourdough pizza crusts using a recipe from Maurizio at theperfectloaf.com. It turns out thin and crispy ... exactly as I want it to be!
If ... and that's a big "IF"! ... this pizza could claim any Italian origins, I would suggest that it could have originated in the north of Italy. That is because Gruyere is made in the Swiss and French Alps, just over the border from the Italian Alps, where fontina and gorgonzola are made ... and mozzarella seems to be a universally Italian cheese so it could end up on every pizza anywhere! With all of that cheese, there's no sauce needed.
Those soaked figs are cut in half and placed on top of the cheeses.
Tips for successfully baking pizza at home
- I strongly recommend a pizza stone. I have one that I got about 25 years ago and it lives in my oven. As in, I never take it out. It's almost black after all these years! Keeping it in the oven all the time helps create a more even heat even when I'm not using it to bake on.
- If you don't have a pizza stone, use a baking sheet, but don't preheat it. And go buy a stone!
- Another option is cast iron. This is a beautiful option, too! Use a 12-inch skillet or a griddle. If you're lucky enough to have a cast-iron pizza pan, by all means, use it! I would recommend preheating it as you would a stone.
- Crank the heat up as hot as it will go! Most home ovens don't go above 500 degrees, but some, like mine will go to 550. If you want to get closer to that crispy crust like you'd get at a pizzeria, you have to get it as hot possible. And short of building a wood-burning pizza oven in your back yard, this is the only way to do it.
Bake your 4-Cheese, Fig, and Prosciutto Pizza in a 500-degree oven for about 10 minutes or until the crust is browned to your liking and the cheese is melted and somewhat browned.
When you pull that delicious, hot pizza out of the oven, lay some pieces of prosciutto on it. It will melt into the cheese and feel right at home. Then drizzle it with some aged, syrupy balsamic vinegar! If you don't have aged vinegar, reduce some balsamic vinegar in a small pot. (There are more instructions in the NOTES section of the recipe card.)
Other recipes you might like:
- Pork Chops with Marsala Fig Sauce
- Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus with Balsamic Drizzle
- Caprese Bites on Sticks
- Insalata Nostrana - Radicchio Caesar Salad
4-Cheese, Fig, & Prosciutto Pizza
- 1 8-10 inch pizza crust
- 8-10 dried figs
- apple juice or apple brandy enough to cover the figs in a small pot
- 2-3 ounces Gruyere cheese grated
- 2-3 ounces fontina cheese grated
- 2-3 ounces mozzarella cheese grated
- 2 Tablespoons aged, syrupy balsamic vinegar See notes
- 2-3 slices prosciutto torn into smaller pieces
- Place a pizza stone on the oven rack positioned in the middle of the oven. (See notes.) Preheat the oven to 500°F about a half hour before you plan to bake.
- Put the figs and apple juice or brandy in a small pot over medium heat. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Flatten out the pizza dough to the thickness of your choice. I usually do this on a piece of unbleached parchment paper.
- Arrange the cheeses on the dough.
- Cut the figs in half and arrange on top of the cheese.
- Bake at 500°F until the cheese melts and bubbles, and the crust is golden, 10-12 minutes.
- Remove the pizza from the oven, and arrange the prosciutto on top. Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar and serve immediately.