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Pear and blue cheese bacon pizza

December is National Pear Month. Celebrate with a savory pear pizza as your main course.

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The Intertubes thought so, too. Search pear cheese pizza on Google and you’ll get roughly a bazillion results. Many of them, however, take you in a dessert or vaguely sweet appetizer direction, some calling for sugar, brown sugar and even cinnamon. I wanted to go savory with this. And I wanted it to be a serious meal. So I started with blue cheese, a sharp, salty, big-personality cheese. You could also use Gouda, goat cheese or even the pizza classic, mozzarella, but I think blue cheese plays well against the sweetness of the pear. I added onion to further separate this pizza from the dessert course. And as a final big hit of savory/umami, I added bacon. If you want to go vegetarian, you can skip the bacon, but I think it really anchored this pizza as main course fare.

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Even without the planned side salad that didn’t happen, Pear Blue Cheese Bacon Pizza was a satisfying dinner – and a delicious way to celebrate National Pear Month.

Pear Blue Cheese Bacon Pizza
 Serves 3

4 to 5 strips of bacon
 1/2 medium onion, sliced thin
 Olive oil
 6 ounces blue cheese (see recipe)
 Store-bought or homemade pizza dough (see recipe)
 Corn meal (optional)
 Flour (optional)
 1 ripe pear (I used a Bartlett)

Preheat oven to 425ºF. Sauté bacon in a large skillet, turning frequently, until crisp. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate. When cool, tear/crumble into pieces.

Heat a medium skillet over medium flame. Drizzle in some olive oil and sauté onion for two minutes to soften slightly, stirring frequently. Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Crumble blue cheese by hand. (Buy good cheese and please don’t buy the pre-crumbled stuff – it’s dry and not as flavorful.) Set aside.

Prepare the pizza dough. If you’re making your own, you should have already made it. For this pizza, I used Pillsbury’s Thin Crust Pizza Crust, which I first wrote about here. It’s easy to work with and really quite good. I’ve also bought balls of dough from Whole Foods, another good alternative if you don’t want to make your own. Whatever dough you’re using, I like to sprinkle some corn meal and flour on the work surface before rolling out the dough.

The Pillsbury dough unrolls into a 10-inch by 15-inch rectangle. I lined a baking sheet with parchment paper, sprinkled the corn meal and flour on it and unrolled the dough directly on it, reshaping it slightly as needed. If you’re working with a ball of dough, roll it out on a flat surface into a 12-inch circle and transfer it to an oiled pizza pan.

Slice the pear. Wait until everything else is ready to assemble – the pear may discolor if sliced too early in the process. Core the pear, then slice it in half lengthwise. Thinly slice the halves crosswise, creating thin crescents. Place pear slices in a bowl, drizzle with a little olive oil and gently toss by hand to coat them.

Sprinkle crumbled cheese evenly on pizza dough, leaving about a 1/2-inch border around the edge. Arrange pear slices on top of cheese, followed by onion slices and bits of bacon.

Place pizza pan or baking sheet on middle rack in the oven and bake until the the crust is a deep golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let pizza rest for a few minutes, then serve.

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