While living in Baltimore for my husband’s residency program, we would often venture out to Bel Air, Maryland—a town in which I lived and taught for five years in my pre-married life. We loved escaping the city, walking the Ma & Pa Trail, and taking our toddler son to Annie’s Playground. Afterwards, we would often go to DuClaw’s brewery and restaurant for dinner and a drink. It was perfect for us—good beer, good food, and a kid-friendly atmosphere. I always ordered a flat bread with figs, caramelized onions, bacon, and Gorgonzola. It was delicious! The perfect combination of sweet and savory.
Sadly, DuClaw’s Bel Air venue closed its doors our last year in Baltimore and I’ve been craving that flatbread ever since. Due to my husband’s aversion to caramelized onions, I did not bother recreating it until recently when I hosted a girls’ night in. It did not disappoint!
I should note that the dough recipe I use is from Food Network Magazine’s October 2016 issue (Copywrite Hearst Communications, Inc.). It’s our favorite thin-crust recipe. Also, the ingredients list is for two flatbreads. If you only want one, cut the amount of toppings in half and use the second flatbread dough for something else (like a thin-crust pepperoni pizza).
2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup water
3 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for brushing
8 slices of bacon, cut into 1/4 pieces
1/2 large red onion, sliced
1 1/2 cups crumbled Gorgonzola, or to taste
1. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Place a pizza stone or an inverted baking sheet it in the oven before turning it on so it heats accordingly.
2. Make the dough: Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the water and olive oil and mix with a wooden spoon until a shaggy, sticky dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead into a smooth, elastic ball, 2-3 minutes. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into round, flat disks. Wrap each disk loosely in plastic wrap and let them rest in a warm place for at least 15 minutes. (This step can be done in advance.)
3. While the dough rests, cook the bacon in a skillet until crisp. Remove cooked bacon from the skillet onto a paper towel-lined plate, reserving 1 Tbsp of the drippings in the pan.
4. Add the sliced red onion to the bacon drippings in the skillet and sauté over low heat until golden brown, about 25-35 minutes. Remove from the pan to cool. (Please note that the bacon and onions can also be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator.)
5. Back to the dough: Brush the tops of 4 sheets of parchment paper with olive oil. Unwrap each disk of dough and place it onto the oiled side of one piece of parchment paper. Top the dough with the remaining pieces of parchment paper, oiled side down. You should have two parchment paper-dough sandwiches. Using your hands, gently press and spread the dough until it’s about 1/8 of an inch thick. You decide the shape (circle, rectangle, oval, giant uneven blob—it’s your creation). Remove the top piece of parchment paper and place the dough (still resting on the bottom piece of parchment paper) in the oven on the pizza stone or inverted baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes, then remove the dough from the oven and allow it to cool for a few minutes. Repeat this step with the second disk of dough.
6. Once the dough has cooled, spread a thin layer of fig preserves on the surface of the dough. Think of it as your pizza sauce. Use as much or as little as you desire. Then sprinkle the flatbread with the caramelized onions and bacon, to taste. Top it with the crumbled Gorgonzola. I personally love all forms of blue cheese, so I am a bit heavy-handed, but use as much or as little as suits your taste.
7. Place flatbread back in the oven for 5 minutes or until the Gorgonzola begins to melt.
8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 with the second flatbread crust, or make a completely different kind of flatbread.
Carpenter, Maile. “Thin & Crispy Pizza,” Foodnetwork Magazine. New York: Hearst Communications, Inc., October 2016. Page 77.