Squash Blossoms Garden Pizza with Beer Pickled Cherries and Beer Crust

Squash Blossoms Recipe: Garden Pizza with Beer Pickled Cherries and Beer Crust

I just hit send. Out into the ether to the inbox of my publisher. I just sent off the completed manuscript for my 3rd cookbook along with 96 photos.

I started a year, and what feels like a lifetime of experiences ago. When I wrote this to you last year, I was just starting off, just dipping my feet into the pool of the third installment of my cookbook trilogy.

This one, the one I just dispatched to the publishing house, is by far my favorite.

Leaving it behind, walking into a life that isn’t center around conceptualizing and creating recipes that I won’t get to share with you until next year, is bittersweet. I love this project, I love what I did and I can’t wait to see it materialize in my hands as a physical manifestation of a year’s worth of work.

Until then, I have some pizza for you. When I moved into this house a few months ago the garden gave me a volunteer squash plant. A small sprout that would grow nearly exponentially every day, a plant that I just discovered wasn’t the zucchini plant I’d imagine it to be (thank god, I hate zucchini), but a pumpkin vine that snakes around the yard.

Sure, It’ll give me harvestable pumpkins soon, but it’s already giving me squash blossoms, which are far superior. Even if that’s the only thing I harvest from it to indulge in as many squash blossom recipes as I can make, it’s well worth the effort to care for it.

I also planted peas, not just for the traditional reasons but because pea shoots are delicious. If you grow peas and just harvest, well, peas, then you’re missing easily half the reason to plant them in the first place. The vines and leaves are not only edible but have a gorgeous herbal, floral, mildly sweet but peppery flavor that’s perfect on everything from pizza to salad.

That reminds me, I should pesto those. Yes, I used “pesto” as a verb and you can’t stop me!

Squash Blossoms Garden Pizza with Beer Pickled Cherries and Beer Crust

Ingredients

    For the cherries:
  • ½ cup (3 oz) Bing cherries, pitted and cut into quarters
  • ½ cup (4 oz) white vinegar
  • ½ cup (4oz)pale ale
  • 1 tablespoon (15g) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (18g) salt
  • For the crust:
  • 2 ½ cups (300g) bread flour
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons (1 envelope) rapid rise yeast
  • ½ teaspoon (1.5g) garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup (6oz) wheat beer
  • ½ teaspoon (3g) kosher salt
  • ¼ cup (60g) olive oil
  • For the toppings:
  • ¼ cup pizza sauce
  • 4 oz buratta cheese (or mozzarella ball, sliced)
  • 6-8 squash blossoms, cut in half
  • 3-4 pea shoots (chopped if desired)
  • 3 leaves of basil, ribboned

Instructions

  1. Add the cherries to a storage container. Add the remaining cherry ingredients to a saucepan over medium high heat, stir to combine. Bring to a boil, remove from heat. Pour the pickling liquid over the cherries. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, add the flour, yeast, garlic powder and sugar.
  3. Mix until combined. Heat the beer until the temperature reaches between 120°F and 125°F (double check your yeast package to confirm this is the temperature your yeast needs. Default to the temperature listed on the package).
  4. Add the beer to the stand mixer and mix on medium speed. Once most of the flour has been moistened, slowly add the salt and oil while the mixer is still running. Turn speed to high and beat until dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl, tightly wrap with plastic wrap. Allow to sit in a warm room until doubled in size, about 45 to 60 minutes.
  5. Add a pizza stone to the grill, heat the grill to 500°F.
  6. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to about 10-inches in diameter, add to a pizza peel covered with semolina flour or corn meal. Cover with pizza sauce, cheese, squash blossoms and cherries. Carefully transfer to the pizza stone. Shut the lid and allow to cook until the top of the crust is bubbly and starting to brown, about 6-8 minutes.
  7. Remove from the grill, transfer to a serving platter, top with pea shoots and basil. Slice and serve.
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