Apple butter is probably one of my favorite foods this side of the Mississippi. Now if you go west of the Mississippi, all bets are off. I mean, who knows what I will encounter. Wisconsin and a whole state of cheese are west of the Mississippi…While apple butter would surely hold a spot in the top 5, cheese surely may knock it down a few notches. However, cheese and apple butter in combination, as in sliced and slathered on a cracker…now we are getting some where. But I am getting ahead of myself.
Apple butter. Wanna know my favorite way to eat it? No? To bad, this is my blog. My favorite way to enjoy this scrumptious spread is by the spoonful. That is right, straight from the jar, by the spoonful. Or fork. Or knife. The utensil doesn’t really matter…I would use my finger, but that would be uncouth, and couth, well couth I have . Sometimes.
Apple butter, if you are new to the world of fruit butters, actually contains no real butter. Sorry butter lovers. No butter has ever been harmed in the making of a fruit butter. Apple butter is simply a concentrated version of apple sauce. Apples and cider (or water) are cooked long and slow together, concentrating the flavor and caramelizing the sugars, giving it that deep brown color. Oh apple butter, how I love thee. While apple butter is great simply by the spoonful, slathered on saltines (my second favorite way to enjoy), biscuits, or toast…or another favorite, substituted for jam or jelly on a peanut/almond butter sandwich (so good!)…it is suberb in baked goods and savory dishes. I have used it here, and here, and you can find a ton of recipes here. As you can see, I am not a newbee to the world of apple butter. I am an apple butter conisieur if you may.
Being a coniseiur, one would assume I have narrowed down the best brand…and you would be correct. My go to for apple butter is Musselman’s. Hands down, the best out there. I am always stocked with a jar in the pantry and an open one in the fridge. So you can imagine my thrill, when Musselman’s contacted me to devlope a recipe for them, using their apple butter. A chance to eat more apple butter? Where do I sign up?
Apple butter bacon pizza is where my brain went. I am sucker for anything salty and sweet. Sweet and Salty. Sugar. Salt. I am a goner. Once my brain went there…there was no turning back. And this time around, pizza was my vessel for the salty sweet combination. If you are wondering if apple butter would make a perfect pizza sauce, then you would be correct and do you wanna be my friend? Never mind. Any way… apple butter slathered on a homemade or store bought crust and then topped with layers of toasted pecans, crispy bacon, caramelized onions, and lots of shredded gouda cheese is the perfect pizza for a chilly friday night. Watch out though…with the salty sweet combination…you may not be able to stop at just one slice or one pizza!
- 1 (15-inch) unbaked pizza crust (from scratch recipe follows, or use store-bought refrigerated pizza dough)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
- 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
- Pinch of salt
- 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup Musselman's Apple Butter
- Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
- 6 strips cooked bacon, roughly chopped
- 1 ½ - 2 cups shredded Gouda cheese
- ⅓ cup pecans, roughly chopped
- About 2 cups baby arugula to finish
- Preheat oven to 450 F.
- In a medium skillet or cast iron skillet, heat olive oil and melt butter over medium heat. Add onions. Toss onions to coat.
- Let onions cook, without stirring, for about 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, give the onions a stir and add a pinch of salt. Let onions cook for another 5 to 7 minutes, without stirring.
- At this point, remove skillet from heat momentarily, and add balsamic vinegar. Stir to incorporate. Place skillet back onto heat and continue cooking until onions are caramelized and broken down, about another 10 minutes or so. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to build pizza.
- Place unbaked pizza crust on a cookie sheet or pizza stone and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven.
- Evenly spread apple butter over crust and sprinkle a pinch of red pepper flakes over the apple butter. Spread caramelized onions over apple butter, and then sprinkle chopped bacon and pecans evenly over the onions. Top with shredded Gouda. Place in oven (still at 450 F) and bake for an additional 8 to 12 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling and browning.
- Remove from oven and let sit for about 5 minutes before slicing.
- Slice pizza and top each slice with fresh baby arugula to finish.
- Note, cooking times may vary if using store-bought refrigerated pizza dough.
1 (15-inch) crust
3/4 cup warm water (about 110°F)
1 package active dry yeast
1 Tablespoon flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 ¾ cup flour, divided
1 ½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
1. In a small bowl, whisk together warm water, yeast, 1 tablespoon flour and sugar. Let sit for 5 minutes. It should form a foamy like layer. If it doesn’t, your yeast is dead, and you need to start over with new yeast and make sure your water isn’t too warm.
2. In a mixing bowl, with dough hook attached, mix to combine 1 ¼ cup flour and salt. With mixer on low, slowly add yeasty mixture and olive oil. Continue to mix until flour is all incorporated, and then slowly add remaining flour (tablespoon by tablespoon) until the dough forms a soft ball that is no longer sticky. This mixing should take about 8-10 minutes. Turn dough out into a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let rise for about 60-90 minutes, until doubled in size.
3. Once the dough is doubled in size, punch down dough and let rest for an additional 5 minutes. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll or stretch dough into a 15-inch circle. Place dough onto a cookie sheet or pizza stone.
**This blog post was sponsored by Musselmans and while they offered to provide me with apple butter to create this recipe, I declined seeing how I already had 2 jars in my pantry, ready and waiting.**