It took us a few weeks to realize how sad this game actually is. My little monkey is so outgoing and eager to make friends that he’ll play with an imaginary baby that lives in the mirror to get his fix. Perhaps, we realized, hanging our heads in the shame of being the worst parents, ever, it is time for him to meet some other babies his age that he can paw and squeal at in person and they can hopefully paw and squeal back. But, of course, this isn’t a story about Jacob’s first playdate, it’s about what I made for breakfast.
Or more accurately, what I didn’t make: baked eggs and busy stratas and quiche and baked French toast and winter fruit salads and anything involving jam on bread or plates and forks. Because remember the part about the two infants? You’d be amazed at how ineffective four whole sets of adult hands are at keeping two teeny tiny infants out of harm’s way. Thus when I spun the wheel of the Things I Want To Cook list and breakfast pizza came up, I knew it would be perfect for eating with one hand while fishing out a piece of Oh God, What Is That In Your Mouth? with the other.
I was a little dubious about the intersection of mozzarella and eggs — I had a very awful omelet with that combo, plus basil, a few years ago — and I was also convinced that the eggs would roll right off the crust but ended up finding this pizza absolutely, utterly perfect in every way. The recipe is from The Big Sur Bakery in a treesy nature-loving part of the country I can barely wrap my head around right now, having spent almost the entirety of this last year in this concrete jungle and its suburban counterparts. I digress. The pizza is cheesy without being excessively so and somehow, that baked bacon/egg/melted pile doesn’t even feel heavy with all of those fresh herbs and mild onions on top. Plus, the pizza has this kind of grab-and-go, low-key vibe that is perfect for weather that demands you don’t idle long inside. Hooray for that!
One year ago: Migas with Tomato Chipotle Coulis
Two years ago: Roasted Acorn Squash and Gorgonzola Pizza and Hazelnut Brown Butter Cake
Three years ago: Strawberry Rhubarb Pecan Loaf and Italian Bread
Makes 2 (12-inch) pizzas
When I asked what I would change about this when I make it again, I drew a blank. I actually like it that much the way it is. Nevertheless, the bacon could of course be omitted if you’re bacon-averse, countless toppings could be added from spinach to mushrooms or sausage, you could swap some or all of the mozzarella for goat cheese and you could swap out some of the flour in the crust for whole wheat flour. Although the recipe as is makes two large pizzas, I think it would be fun to make six smaller ones with one egg each in the center — plus, friends could choose their own toppings. So “drew a blank” = okay, I have a few ideas. But I’m pretty sure I’ll be making this exactly as written next time.
1/2 teaspoon dry active yeast
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons bread flour, plus more for dusting
6 strips bacon
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 cups grated mozzarella
6 large eggs
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons minced chives
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 shallot, minced
The night before, prepare the dough: Place 3/4 cup lukewarm water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Sprinkle in the yeast, stir and let sit for 5 minutes. Add the flour and 1 teaspoon of salt and mix on low for 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 2 minutes, then increase the speed to high and mix until a smooth dough forms, about 2 minutes more. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface, divide into two equal pieces and form each half into a tight ball. Place on a large floured sheet pan, place the pan in a plastic garbage bag, tie the bag loosely and refrigerate overnight.
One to two hours* before baking, place the dough in a warm spot. Adjust the oven rack to the lowest position and set a pizza stone on it. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees 30 minutes before you are ready to bake the pizza.
Prepare the dough and toppings: Fry the bacon in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until crisp. Cool on a paper-towel-lined plate; roughly chop.
Dip your hands and a ball of dough into the flour. On a lightly floured countertop, pat the dough into a disc with your fingertips, then drape the dough over your fists and carefully stretch it from beneath to form a 12-inch circle.
Generously dust the surface of a pizza peel or large inverted sheet pan with flour and place the stretched dough on it. Sprinkle the dough with half of the Parmesan, mozzarella and bacon. Crack 3 eggs over the top and season with salt and pepper.
Bake the pizza: Shake the pizza peel slightly to make sure the dough is not sticking. Carefully lift any sections that are sticking and sprinkle a bit more flour underneath, then slide the pizza directly onto the baking stone in one quick forward-and-back motion. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, rotating after 5 minutes. When the crust is golden, the cheese is melted and the egg yolks are cooked, use the peel to transfer the pizza to a cutting board. Sprinkle half of the parsley, chives, scallions and shallot on top. Let cool for 2 minutes, slice and serve immediately. Prepare the second pizza in the same way.
* The original recipe suggests that you take the dough out one hour before baking but I took mine out two hours earlier, because I always find it takes a looong time to get dough back to proofing at room temperature. In this time, you can lazily prepare the toppings and get your oven nice and hot.