Pizza with Goat Cheese, Caramelized Onions, Leeks, and Fresh Herbs

Remember when I posted a recipe last summer for a Leek-Goat Cheese Tart? My new favorite pizza is a take on it. I went a step further and caramelized the onions and leeks. OH MY. We’ve eaten this quite a few times over the last few weeks. I simply cannot get enough. We also grated a bit of Pecorino Romano on top for good measure.

The only thing missing was a little bacon. But really, I want it with prosciutto–but only if it’s the good stuff.

On another note….let’s talk about pizza/baking stones.

We’ve been making pizza several times a month lately. I’m getting better and better at the crust with all this practice. My one complaint has been that it doesn’t crisp up enough for me.

Typically I use a large, rectangular metal baking sheet that I’ve lightly sprinkled with cornmeal. One recipe of dough is enough for two of these full-size baking sheets.

My old pizza stone was inadvertently left behind in my apartment in NY. (I hope the new tenant is enjoying it.) I recently acquired a new pizza stone and have decided to start using it. I know that this is the only answer to a perfectly baked crust.

My first attempt at using the baking stone worked perfectly. The crust was crisp and chewy. Just like we like it. The crust keeps getting better as I use the stone more.

A lot of people own baking/pizza stones. But how many actually use them? Do you have one? Do you use it? Hate it or love it?

I admit that I didn’t use my old one very often. Mostly I just kept it in my oven to keep the temperature even. (FYI–they work great for that.)

Basic research about baking stones led me to believe that the only way to familiarize myself with how to use a baking stone is to just start using it.

Here are some tips for those of you, who like me, are just getting started or are trying to get up the courage–

*Buy a good quality stone. A good one will run between $25 and $50. The stone from King Arthur Flour received the top rating from Cooks’ Illustrated. (There are also cheaper alternatives out there, like going to the hardware store and buying large tiles. Do the research first, I’m not sure I can offer expert advice on which to buy.)

*Preheat the stone before you put the pizza on it. (Trust me on this. Seriously.)

Note: If you are baking a frozen pizza, don’t preheat the stone or it might crack.

*Use a pizza peel. I think is the ideal thing to transfer the pizza to the preheated stone.

*Cornmeal is your best friend. Dust both the peel and the baking stone with cornmeal. It helps you slide the dough easily off the peel onto the baking stone and it helps you get it back off the stone.

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What can you use it for besides pizza?

*Naan–I made naan on mine and it was AWESOME. (You know, because I don’t have a tandoor.)

*Pita bread (watch for a recipe to come soon)

*Artisan bread

*Cookies (I haven’t done it, but some people swear by it.)

*Croissants, biscuits, rolls, scones, etc.

*Chicken nuggets, fish sticks, etc. (haven’t tried it, we never buy these items)

*I even read that some people use it cook meat on. Thoughts?

Anything I’m missing? Tell me what you think about baking stones. Yay or don’t bother?

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20 Comments

  1. I have a pampered chef baking stone that I use for pizza. I’ve never used anything else.

    Also I have stone loaf pans….love them.

  2. Have one, but I almost never use it. Most likely because I only have one and w/ four kids one pizza is never enough.

    Thought about tossing it, but I’m hanging on to it. One of these days I’m going to try Tarte Flambe (which was, next to Raclette, my favorite meal in France).

  3. That is one delicious looking pizza. I don’t have a baking stone but have been admiring a pampered chef one. I just may have to get me one of those.

  4. You are the best, I have still not mastered this although we love to make pizza, grill pizza. Yes and that goat cheese pizza I told my husband it would be heaven for him, he has a thing for goat cheese

  5. I actually have two pizza stones in the same oven. When I make pizza I make it for alot of people and it helps to be able to transfer the pizza from the top stone to the bottom stone. (the top one cooks the toppings; the bottom one will crisp the crust) I love a pesto and tomato pizza but a close second is what we call maui zowie. It has sweet n sour sauce, ham,bacon,onions, peppers,pineapple, cheese and red pepper flakes if you want it a bit of heat.

    I would never make pizza without a stone, now that I have one.

  6. We are making homemade pizza on our stone tomorrow night and NOW i want to try it with caramelized onions and leeks! Last time, I had fresh mozzarella and basil and it was heaven!

    The kids bought our stone for their Dad as a Christmas present because this is something they love to do together. I didn’t pay more than $20 for it on Amazon. Now I’m thinking I need a better one. So far this one is working great.

    Thanks for the list of other items that can be made. on the stone.

  7. Hey… I originally got my stone for making artisan bread, and it just happens that pizza is also a good fit. You can’t really make artisan bread unless you have a stone (or a woodfired oven, which is next on my dream list). As for stretching a pizza crust, why not mix up a huge batch of dough and divide it into individual loaves for rising, and just try stretching a half-dozen loaves until you get it right. Use the heels of your hands on the outside edges of the crust– don’t touch the center. Most of all, have fun!

  8. Your pizza looks gorgeous! I love leeks on anything and I will have to try them on pizza. I do have a stone and while I haven’t mastered the whole getting-the-pizza-in-and-out-of-the-oven thing (even with a peel), I do love the crust. There is no substitute.

  9. Your pizza sounds and looks wonderful. That’s my kind of pizza. I love making my own pizza and use my stone all the time for bread, etc all the time. I keep it on the oven floor and never take it out.

  10. I found your blog through Make & Takes, and I just love your recipes. So, that’s who I am…and now to my comment…

    I love love love making homemade pizza. Thursdays, for whatever reason, have become my our pizza night, and I so look forward to it!

    I think my favorite toppings are green peppers, marinated artichoke hearts, and feta sprinkled on top. Yum! My husband also came up with a sauce that’s a combination of Caesar dressing and alfedo sauce…it’s just too good.

    And if you have a copy of “The Joy of Cooking” (or can find access to one), they have an excellent and simple naan recipe that’s to die for and that’s made to be cooked on a pizza stone. I’d give it to you if I had it with me, but sadly, I don’t carry that huge of a book with me to work…but maybe I should…?

  11. I have a pampered chef and one from… well I can’t remember where, but I’ll only use the pampered chef one. WE LOVE IT. We use it all the time and will only cook pizza on a stone. It’s just not the same good pizza on metal.

  12. Thanks for the great comments! You pizza lover, you. :)

    Dalene…invite me over, ok?

    I’m loving the topping suggestions–especially the maui zowie!

    Hi, Brock! Nice to see you over here. I love your blog!

    Nama–that is the recipe I always use. :) It is good. I’m going to get around to posting it one of these days…the pics are sitting there waiting.

    Thanks again for your great comments!

  13. I’m totally trying this pizza topping combo next time! I need to venture out more with my toppings. We have our favorites and haven’t tried new things in a while.

    I LOVE my pizza stone! We got a nice one (for about $20) at some small Italian shop years ago. It’s thick and works well. We do pizza and bread on it all the time. We love having pizza parties with friends, so I’ve been toying with the idea of trying to do two pizzas on two different stones at once (center the racks as much as possible). Do you think that would work?

    pizza peels and cornmeal are a must!

  14. Kiasa–I think that could work. I used to do that with the baking sheets when I did pizza. But, it only takes about 10 minutes for the pizza to bake, so the turn around time with one stone isn’t too bad. In case you don’t want to do it. I’ve been doing three pizzas and just getting the dough ready to go, topping them, and then popping them in and out one at a time. By the time we’re ready to eat, the first one has cooled enough to eat and the second one is almost done, etc.

    But to answer your question–I think it would be fine. You may need to rotate them halfway through so they cook evenly on bottom and top.

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