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Balthazar Goat Cheese and Onion Pizzette (Little Pizza-Tarts) Recipe

Goat cheese and onion pizzetteFrom Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day, by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François.....

These pizzettes were inspired by a savory tart that my cousin, chef Riad Nasr, serves at Balthazar in New York City. It is a mix of quintessentially French bistro flavors: caramelized onions, goat cheese, and thyme. They go well with many of our crusts but my two favorites are the Cornmeal Olive Oil and the Savory Brioche dough. - Zoë

Makes six 4-inch pizzettes

Ingredients:
1 pound of (grapefruit-size) lean or gluten-free dough or Savory Brioche dough
2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, peeled, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
1 bay leaf
2 tspn fresh thyme (or 1 tspn dried)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 oz. soft chévre (goat cheese), at room temperature
4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 egg yolk

Preparation:
  1. In a skillet over medium-low heat, add the olive oil, onions, bay leaf, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until the onion are golden. This may take 20 to 30 minutes. If the pan gets too dry, add some water to the onions, 2 tbsp at a time.
  2. In a small bowl mix together the cheeses and the egg yolk until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit, with the racks in the center and top third of the oven. Grease two baking sheets. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1-pound (grapefruit-size) piece. Dust with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. Divide the dough into 6 equal portions and form into balls.
  4. Stretch the pizzette crusts: Flatten each piece of dough with your hands and/or a rolling pin on a work surface (or shape the disk by hand) to produce a 1/8-inch-thick round. Dust with flour to keep the dough from adhering to the surface. Use a dough scraper to unstick the dough as needed, and transfer to the prepared baking sheets.
  5. Add the toppings: Distribute the goat cheese mixture equally among the 6 dough rounds, spreading evenly, then add the onions.
  6. Place the baking sheets in the preheated oven. Check for doneness in 10 minutes; at this time, turn the baking sheets around in the oven if one side of the pizzettes is browning faster than the other and switch the pans from the top and the bottom rack. It may take up to 5 minutes more in the oven.
  7. Allow to cool, preferably on a wire cooling rack. Serve warm, not hot.
VARIATION: Caramelized Onions, Sautéed Potatoes, and Fresh Pecorino
Add 2 tbsp of wine to the onion mixture while caramelizing. Once the onions are cooked, remove them from the pan and set aside. Add 1 tbsp olive oil to the same pan and sauté 1 thinly sliced potato for about 3 minutes, just to soften. Replace the cheese mixture with 3 ounces of grated pecorino cheese (or any other hard grating cheese). Roll out the pizzettes and distribute the toppings evenly over them, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake as above.

Recipe courtesy of Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François

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