On Saturday we found the first figs of the season in our local co-op and on Sunday we picked our own ripe figs (far superior in flavor and texture to the store-bought). A month ago we wrote about the wonder of being able to grow figs in Vermont, and now we’re finally able to eat them. We celebrated the beginning of fig season by making an almond, honey and caramelized fig ice cream, inspired by a small gelateria in Bologna just around the corner from my apartment that served the best ricotta-and-fig gelato.
For dinner we made a delicious fig and prosciutto pizza, which we’re adding to our collection of recipes.
Fresh Fig, Prosciutto and Ricotta Pizza
RECIPE for One Large or Two Small Pizzas
3 cups Unbleached White Flour
1 TB Dry yeast
2 TB Olive oil
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 cup Warm water (on the hot side of warm)
1. At least two hours (the more the better) before serving, mix yeast, water and one cup of the flour together in a large bowl.
2. Add the olive oil and salt and mix well.
3. Add flour, cup by cup (or half-cup by half-cup) until you can no longer mix it with a wooden spoon and it begins to form a sticky mass. At this point start kneading it with your hands right in the bowl, adding a bit more flour until it loses stickiness.
4. Turn it out onto a floured board or surface (I have a marble surface) and knead for 10-15 minutes, adding more flour if needed, until it becomes truly smooth and elastic.
5. Oil the mixing bowl, place the dough ball in it, roll it around to cover it with the oil, and cover the top of the bowl with a tight film of plastic wrap. Leave it in a warm spot for as many hours as you can. If you leave it a long time, it will lose its ball shape and swell up into the bowl in an almost-bubbly look.
6. At least an hour before cooking, slide a baking stone (if you have it) onto the middle rack of the oven and preheat the oven at 450 degrees.
7. Twenty minutes before popping into the oven, place a sheet of parchment paper a little bigger than the size of the pizza onto a pizza peel or cutting board. Stretch and shape the pizza dough with your fingers (not a rolling pin) until it is the size and shape and thickness you like.
For the Topping:
6-7 ripe figs, thinly sliced
A mix of Italian cheeses such as fontina, provolone, pecorino, parmigiano-reggiano, grated
1 cup fresh, high quality ricotta
A few slices of prosciutto crudo, cut into small squares
Zest of 1 lemon
An assortment of fresh herbs such as basil, oregano, marjoram, thyme, roughly chopped
Sprinkle the cheeses on top of the pizza dough. Arrange the slices of figs and prosciutto, sprinkle with the lemon zest and add the ricotta in small dollops. Garnish with the fresh herbs and place in the 450° oven for 15-20 minutes, checking frequently.