Pickled Seckel Pears & Dates

April 3, 2014

 

 

Brie, dates, pickled Seckel pears (pickled with cinnamon sticks & cloves), toasted pecans, arugula

 

April Fools’ Day surprise: M&Ms stuffed crust

April Fools' Day is a great time to prank your dinner guests. But if you're like us, you still want your food prank to be delicious—because otherwise, what a waste. Our solution: a surprise stuffed crust. You can of course stuff it with cheese or something more traditional, but we decided to go with the extra surprising and colorful ingredient of M&Ms. If you think of anything weirder (and still tasty), let us know!

Recipe

 

Ingredients:
1 ball of pizza dough
olive oil
salt & pepper
flour for dusting
handful of M&M’s (for the stuffed crust, optional)
about 6 pitted dates, sliced into thirds
¼ cup toasted pecans
handful of arugula
hunk of brie, thinly sliced


For the pickled pears:*
1 ½ pounds Seckel pears, halved lengthwise & seeded
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pickling salt
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
6 cloves

 

*This will make 2 mason jars worth of pickled pears, which might be a good idea for first time picklers, in case one batch doesn’t turn out (it probably will though, this is very easy) or in case you want to experiment and let one marinate a little longer. Otherwise, feel free to cut the ingredients in half.

 

Directions:
You will need to make your pickled pears at least 48 hours in advance, in order to let them sit and become fully infused with the pickle flavor. If you have a waterbath canner and canning rack, awesome. You probably already know how to do this. If not, you can use a couple of large saucepans and some clamps or tongs to handle the hot jars, and you’ll be fine.

 

To prepare your jars (2 regular mouth pint jars), I recommend using the Ball Getting Started Guide. Start on page 3, and when you’ve completed the steps on that page, combine the cider vinegar, sugar & pickling salt with 1 cup of water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil.

 

Divide the cinnamon stick halves and cloves between the two jars and carefully pack the pears on top of them, cut side down. Now pour the hot liquid over top of them, leaving ½ inch between the brine and the rim.

 

Next, slide a small rubber spatula along the inside edge of the jar to remove the air bubbles. You might end up tearing the skin of the pears in the process, but that’s okay—it’s more important to push all the air bubbles out.

 

Now follow steps 2d through 3c of the canning guide, boiling for 15 minutes in your water bath canner or large saucepan. When you’re finished, if at least one of your jars is sealed, you can store it in a cool, dark place for up to a year. The other one will obviously be used for your pizza. Unsealed jars should be refrigerated.

 

After the 48 hours is up, you’re ready to start on your pizza. It’s very simple from this point forward. Preheat your oven to 550° F, or as hot as it will go.

 

While it’s heating, prepare your dough using the instructions on the right. When you’re ready to fold your crust over, break out your M&M’s. These were part of an April Fool’s Day surprise for our friends, so they are obviously optional, but they actually ended up being a delicious (and colorful!) addition. So if you make the wise decision to use them, just line them along the edge of your pizza and fold the crust over them, making sure to pinch down so that it doesn’t open up and ruin the surprise in the oven.

 

When your oven is hot and you’ve pre-baked your M&M-filled dough for a minute, take it out and brush it lightly with olive oil. Next, lay out your brie slices evenly across the pizza, followed by the pears, dates & pecans.

 

Now pop your pizza in the oven and let it bake until the cheese is nice and gooey and the crust is golden brown. Take it out, toss some fresh arugula on top, and enjoy!

 

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HOW TO PREPARE DOUGH

#1 

Start stretching it from the center, then move it around in a circle so that gravity stretches it and creates a natural crust. It helps to put some olive oil on your hands first.

 

#2

Place the dough on your floured surface & push it out with your fingertips until it's the size of your pizza stone. You can fold over the edges to create an extra fluffy crust.

 

#3

When the oven is hot (preheat it with the stone inside), sprinkle some semolina flour on the pizza stone and place your dough on it.

#4

Bake it for about a minute, or until it starts to bubble, then take it out. This last step isn't 100% necessary, but I feel like it adds a little extra crispiness to the crust.

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