UPDATE: Here are photos from last night’s demo, including a shot from Christie, an attendee, who went home and baked some flatbreads for her husband with ingredients from Whole Foods!
Tonight at 7:00 p.m. at Whole Foods Market (see calendar in sidebar for details!) Michael will demo a festive starter for holiday gatherings, Herbed Flatbread with Goat Cheese, Caramelized Onions, Cranberries, and Arugula. This flatbread won’t be around long after it comes out of the oven. Layers of fresh arugula, bright and juicy cranberries, and threads of caramelized onions nestle on top of creamy goat cheese and a tender, crunchy crust just begging for the pizza cutter.
Herbed Flatbread with Goat Cheese, Caramelized Onions, Cranberries, and Arugula
Makes 4 flatbreads
1 cup of cranberries
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 medium white onions, thinly sliced into half moon discs
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2, 8 ounce balls of pizza dough from Whole Foods Market prepared foods section, each cut in half to make 4 identical pieces (or homemade, with Michael’s Pizza Dough, recipe below)
1 tablespoon thyme, leaves removed from stems and chopped
1 sprig of rosemary, leaves removed from the stem and chopped
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1 cup fresh, soft goat cheese at room temperature
4 cups arugula
Prepare your oven by placing a pizza stone on the center rack and pre-heating to 450 degrees. This will ensure the flatbread bakes evenly and has a crisp crust.
In a large sauce pan over high heat, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add the cranberries, blanching them for 30 seconds. Scoop the berries out with a strainer and place on a large plate (or small baking sheet with rim) to cool. The berries shouldn’t be mushy, but should have just popped.
In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add the oil, (reserving 1 tablespoon for brushing the flatbread dough,) onions, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper to pan, caramelizing until golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the onions to a medium bowl to cool.
Create a topping station with the bowls of onions and cranberries, along with the goat cheese and arugula, so you’re ready to assemble the flatbreads once they are fired.
To prepare the flatbread, dip a ball of dough into a little flour, shake off the excess, and put the dough on a clean, lightly floured surface. Press down in the center and then stretch the dough with your hands length-wise to begin making an oval. Continue spreading the dough into a 12 inch elongated oval, like a plank, either with your hands or a rolling pin. Leave the dough slightly thick. Repeat 3 more times with the other dough balls.
Dust a pizza paddle with flour and slide it under the panels of dough, two at a time; lightly brush the dough with the remaining oil to create a sheen. An important tip: Take care not to get ANY oil on the pizza paddle, or else when you try to slide the dough off, it will stick. Sprinkle with thyme, rosemary, parsley, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Slide the prepared flatbreads onto the hot baking stone and bake until the pizza crust is nicely browned and crisp, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the flatbreads to a cutting board.
Dollop ¼ cup of the goat cheese onto the center of each flatbread and shmear to coat. Evenly distribute the onions and then the cranberries on each flatbread. Shower each with arugula. Cut into slices with a pizza cutter. Serve immediately.
First off, don’t be scared to make pizza dough at home. The little bit of whole wheat flour adds an earthiness to the dough, making it really versatile. The touch of honey adds a background sweetness that rounds it out without you being able to really put your finger on it.
Makes 4 (10-inch) pizzas (about 24 ounces of dough)
1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon honey
1 cup warm water
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Combine the yeast, honey, and 1/4 cup of warm water in a small bowl; stir gently to dissolve. Let the mixture stand until the yeast comes alive and starts to foam, about 5 to 10 minutes.
In a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour and the salt. With the mixer running on slow speed, add the oil, the yeast mixture, and the remaining 3/4 cup of water and mix until the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl.
Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead by hand for an additional 1 to 2 minutes. The dough should be a little sticky. Gather the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl, turn it over to coat. Cover the dough with a clean, damp towel and let it rise in a warm spot for about 30 minutes.
When ready, knead the dough gently on an unfloured surface and divide into 4 equal balls, they should be about 6 ounces each and the size of large tangerines. Work each ball by pulling down the sides and tucking under the bottom of the ball. Roll the ball under the palm of your hand until the top of the dough is smooth and firm. Cover the dough with a damp towel and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes. The balls can now be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 days.