A few months back it was the season for figs and I decided to use them on a “no tomato sauce” pizza with caramelised onions and paneer. You could use Feta cheese if you prefer as the salt of that balances the sweetness of figs very well. Feta is very expensive here when I can find it, and I’ve found paneer works extremely well as a substitute. Store bought paneer is normally unsalted, except for the kind that we get in Goa which is salted. If you make your own paneer at home, then you can salt it to your taste and even add a dash of spice like cumin to it.
We prefer thin crust pizzas so that’s how I make mine. Do not over bake this pizza or the paneer will become tough and chewy.
Fresh Fig, Caramelised Onion & Paneer Pizza
For the pizza bases:
1 3/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 cup warm milk
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
Enough water to form the dough
For the toppings:
4 medium sized onions, sliced
2 tsp olive oil
8 fresh figs, sliced or quartered
200gm paneer cubes
More olive oil to brush on the pizza
2 to 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary (or dried herbs)
Salt to taste
Red chilli flakes to taste
Semolina to dust the baking sheets
To make the pizza dough:
Dissolve the sugar in the warm milk and then add the yeast. Stir well and keep aside for about 10 minutes to activate the yeast.
You can knead the dough by hand but I prefer to do it in the processor. Put the flour, salt and olive oil in the food processor bowl and pulse a couple of times. Now add the activated yeast-milk mixture and run the processor. Add enough water to form a dough that is kneaded to a soft, smooth and elastic consistency.
Remove the dough and shape it into a ball and place in an oiled bowl allowing the oil to coat the dough well. Cover with a kitchen towel and let the dough rise till almost double 9 about an hour and a half).
Deflate the dough and knead lightly a couple of times. Divide the dough into 2 halves and shape each into a smooth ball. Roll out or press out each ball into a flat 11” round. Dust the pizza sheets with semolina and place the pizza dough on this and cover with toppings as mentioned below.
Heat the oil in a pan and stir-fry the onions in it till they caramelise to a golden brown. Remove from the pan and keep aside to cool.
Brush the pizza dough with olive oil and arrange the caramelised onions, figs and the paneer cubes on top. Lightly sprinkle with salt and red chilli flakes, and then the rosemary too. Lightly drizzle a little more olive oil on the pizzas.
Bake the pizzas at 240C (475F) for about 20 minutes or till the edges of the pizza are golden brown and the paneer starts browning at the edges.
Serve warm. This recipe makes two 11” pizzas.