I love this time of year. As summer bleats out its last warm days, broken up by intermittent exclamations of the crisper climate to come, some of the best seasonal produce starts making its way to the Rochester Public Market. As I traipsed through the bustling crowd yesterday, I couldn’t help but feel the magic of fall and its bounty tickling my heels with every step.
In my opinion, one of the best parts of a late summer harvest is that you really get the best of both worlds when it comes to produce. Not only do you get the early fall goods like peppers, new carrots, apples, and new beets, but you also get the fruits of summer, like melon, tomatoes and peaches.
Peaches are incredibly versatile. They make a mean cobbler and work incredibly well in savory-sweet applications — especially when either cheese or acidity is involved to play off the sweetness. I got it in my head that a pizza with peaches would be killer –and I was happily correct.
There are a few key players in this recipe that make it so great. First, I see it as an ushering dish of sorts. We have the light, bright and playful flavors of summer incorporated directly into one of my favorite comfort foods. The dough, made from scratch and with a blend of whole wheat and bread flour from Small World Food, is flavorful and wonderfully textured.* While you can use whatever flour you have on hand and any pizza dough you see fit, I find that the homemade crust really adds to this dish. The peach’s sweetness and the aromatic herbaceous nature of the basil collide effortlessly with the tangy, rich First Light chevre and the sweet acidity of homemade balsamic glaze.
I’m going to stop waxing poetic now and get to the recipe. Enjoy and let me know what you think.
*A note on pizza dough: For pizza crust recipes, you can easily use my flat bread recipe and bake as you would pizza crust. But for this recipe, I used Carol Field’s recipe from The Italian Baker. It’s my favorite cookbook in my collection; it was a seemingly permanent borrow from my dad who lovingly used the shit out of it — flour-crusted pages and all. If you can’t get your hands on that anytime soon, you can try this blogger’s adaption of Fields’ recipe or use Bobby Flay’s pizza dough recipe. It’s my usual go-to as it’s quick, simple, and virtually fail-proof.
Late Summer Pizza with Peaches, Basil, Goat Cheese and Balsamic Glaze
- Pizza crust (see note above)
- One bunch basil, set a few leaves aside to julienne as garnish
- 2 peaches, cut into thin slices
- Goat cheese (this one’s really on you, so have fun with how much you put on there)
- Balsamic Glaze
- Olive oil for drizzling
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Heat oven to 500F. Prepare pizza crust on baking surface of choice by brushing with olive oil.
- Drizzle a small amount of balsamic glaze (see recipe below) on the crust. Layer with whole pieces of basil, and lumps of chevre.
- Evenly distribute peach slices on top of basil. The basil serves as a protective barrier of sorts to keep the pie from becoming soggy.
- Drizzle with more olive oil, season to taste, and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the crusts are golden brown.
- Drizzle balsamic over finished pie, and add julienned basil to add some freshness and color to your creation.
Making the Glaze
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup sweetener (I use maple syrup)
- One garlic clove, peeled.
Combine ingredients into medium sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Lower the temperature and keep simmering/reducing until the liquid is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Once cooled, it will thicken even more.