My take on a Waldorf salad inspired pizZA and it turned out beautifully delicious!
The Waldorf salad has been a successful flavor combination of apples, celery and walnuts for over 100 years and is said to be ordered 20,000 times a year in New York. I thought what better way of celebrating this blend of flavors than on a pizza? My recipe features homemade pizza crust piled high with creamy gorgonzola, crunchy celery, caramelized apples and some toasted California walnuts. This recipe reminds me of everything I love in a meal hitting all the notes of salty, sweet, savory, crunchy, cheesy and fresh out of the oven! Makes two 12-inch pizzas but can easily be halved to save some pizza dough for later.
The recipe comes in three parts: the dough, the pesto, and the pizza.
- 2 and 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 standard packet)
- 1 and 1/3 cups (320ml) warm water (105-115F degrees)
- 3 and 1/2 cups (440g) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon (13g) granulated sugar
- cornmeal, for dusting pan
- Toasted Walnut Pesto
- 2/3 cup raw California walnuts (1/3 seperated)
- 1 cup fresh basil
- 1 cup fresh arugula
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- 1/3 cup olive oil (or more or less to your liking)
- Salt, Pepper and crushed red pepper
- 1 recipe homemade pizza crust
- 3 cups (12oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
- 16 ounces crumbled gorgonzola cheese
- 8 ounces of shredded rotisserie chicken
- 2/3 cup of sliced celery
- 2 small apples, thinly sliced (your favorite variety - I used Honey Crisp)
- Remaining 1/3 cup Toasted Walnuts (crushed)
- In a large bowl, combine water, yeast and sugar. Mix with a spoon, then let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add in the flour, salt and olive oil stirring with a spoon until the dough comes together but is still sticky. Using your hands, on a floured surface, form the dough into a ball and work an additional 1/4 cup flour into the dough if needed. You can also do all the mixing and kneading in your stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. Now rub the same bowl with olive oil, then place the dough inside, turning to coat. Cover with a towel and place in a warm place to rise for about 1 1/2 hours.
- Place a small skillet over medium-low heat and add the walnuts. Toast the walnuts for 5-8 minutes, stirring and watching closely to make sure they do not burn. You will know they are toasted by the smell. Once toasted, remove from the heat and allow to cool 5 minutes. Set 1/3 cup of the toasted walnuts aside for later.
- Add the remaining cooled toasted walnuts, basil and parmesan to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely ground and then drizzle in the olive oil. Add salt, pepper and a pinch of crushed red pepper if desired. Taste and adjust to your liking.
- Preheat the oven to 475, and grease your pizza pans with olive oil or nonstick spray. Sprinkle with cornmeal. Once the pizza dough is ready, lightly flour a counter. Divide the dough in half. Use your hands or a rolling pin to roll each piece of dough out until you have a flattened disk. Place the pizzas on the prepared baking sheets and then use your hands to gently tug, pull and push the pizza dough into your desired shape. You may also use a rolling pin for this. Rub each piece of dough with olive oil.
- Spread a nice layer of walnut pesto over the dough leaving a 1 inch border all around for the crust. Top the dough with the mozzarella cheese, gorgonzola cheese, shredded chicken, sliced celery, apple slices, and then sprinkle with crushed toasted walnuts.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes. For the last minute, I move the oven rack to the top rack to really brown the edges. That's optional. Remove from the oven and top with fresh arugula.
- Slice hot pizza and serve immediately. Also great with a honey or a balsamic reduction drizzle.