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by Liren Baker

Liren Baker is the voice behind the blog Kitchen Confidante, where she shares taste and inspiration in the kitchen. Inspired by the beauty of food, what it represents, what it invokes, and what we can create out of it, she shares recipes and images that remind her of her heritage, her childhood in New York, and the vibrant culinary culture she has learned to embrace in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she currently lives.

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  • Photo Credit: Liren Baker
  • I was a little slow to embrace the turn of the season, but as I sit here, the fog lays low over the hills beyond my home, misting the the trees still full of its leaves with light drops of rain. I trust that the sun is there somewhere, behind the clouds. It has given me the chance to reacquaint myself with an old friend.

    My oven has been neglected these last few months, but we have been making up for lost time. My kitchen has been deliciously cozy again, and I have made the season's first autumn muffins and quick breads. Today I will be making cookies that I can't wait to share with you later this month. But today, I thought we would chat about pizza.
  • Photo Credit: Liren Baker
  • Photo Credit: Liren Baker
  • I indulged myself to a little treat—working with dough is, for me, always a therapeutic pleasure -- but the toppings are what really made me excited. The beautiful pears were calling me, and I knew I wanted them on the dough.
  • Photo Credit: Liren Baker
  • I dusted my pizza paddle generously with cornmeal and paused to admire it. I just loved how beautiful the sprinkling looked on the gorgeous wood.
  • Photo Credit: Liren Baker
  • Photo Credit: Liren Baker
  • But back to the toppings. I had the beautiful pears. As I sliced them, I smiled as they were the perfect ripeness and snuck a slice. I immediately craved walnuts and musky gorgonzola cheese. As I arranged them on the dough, I could not wait for the pizza stone in the oven to preheat. I slid the pizza into the oven and tested my patience.
  • Photo Credit: Liren Baker
  • Photo Credit: Liren Baker
  • And then it was done. But my patience was tested even more…so as I waited for the pizza to cool, I drizzled the pizza with honey and tapped on the golden crust. When I couldn't wait a second longer, I rolled my cutter over the dough, hearing that gratifying crisp crunch of the crust, revealing the chewy dough within. My first bite was met with that symphony of salty, sweet, and earthy crunch. My second bite was met with a little more. And I kept going, and going, and going.


    Pear & Walnut Gorgonzola Pizza

    Serves 4 (if you are willing to share).

    Ingredients:

    1. pizza dough (store bought is fine)
    2. 1/4 cup cornmeal (for dusting)
    3. 2 ripe pears
    4. 1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
    5. 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
    6. 2 tablespoons olive oil
    7. 2-3 tablespoons honey, for drizzling

    Method:

    Bring the pizza dough to room temperature, making sure you let it rest in a bowl for at least 30 minutes. You will find that dough that is not rested will be very elastic and will bounce back when you try to shape it.

    Preheat oven to 450 degrees and place an oven rack in the lower half of the oven (with pizza stone, if you have one).

    On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pizza dough to your desired shape, about 1/4 inch thick. Press the dough with your fingertips, creating dimples and a 1 inch border around the perimeter.

    Transfer the dough to paddle generously dusted with cornmeal. Top with the gorgonzola cheese. Arrange the pears and sprinkle with walnuts.

    Lightly brush the crust bordering the flatbread with olive oil.

    Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and let it sit for about 1-2 minutes before slicing. while it cools, drizzle with honey. Serve immediately.

    Bon appetit!

    - Liren
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