Okay, I’m about to wade into dangerous territory. Pineapple on pizza. Delicious? Gross? Depraved? Today’s Hot Hawaiian Pizza should give you a clear idea of where my allegiances lie.There are a lot of feelings around this issue and, honestly, the passion of those opposed to the fruit’s fraternization with pizza has kind of scared me into silence, but no more. I believe that as long as pork products belong on pizza, pineapple has a place there too. Pineapple and pork are in a committed, long-term relationship, where pork goes so goes the pineapple. BUT, having said that, there is a right way and a wrong way to invite fruit to your pizza party. This Hot Hawaiian Pizza is, in my opinion, the best way to eat pineapple on pizza. Let’s dive right in, shall we?
I kind of get the whole “pineapple pizza is evil” thing. The reason I understand it is because I used to think it. I hated Hawaiian pizza during my formative years. I was perplexed by its appeal and status as a “classic” pizza. Bear in mind that at this point in my life I ate my meals in sections, working my way from peas and corn (least favorite), to mashed potatoes (favorite). So, I wasn’t exactly working with an advanced palette.
It wasn’t until I discovered the wonders of the salty/sweet combo that I came around. Somewhere around the age of 13, I had my first piece of Hawaiian pizza and it wasn’t love-at-first-bite but it was good enough to keep eating. I really loved the flavor of the pineapple and how it played nice with the ham, but I thought the bacon was a bit much and the pineapple was too soggy. The pineapple was also clearly canned, which, as I would later learn, practically makes it a different fruit. When I had my first Hawaiian pizza with fresh pineapple, a very important element was introduced to the pie that hadn’t been there before: tartness. But the sogginess lingered. There had to be a solution.
It occurred to me that maybe the pineapple-related sogginess could be mitigated by slicing the pineapple ultra thin. I thought by slicing the pineapple thin you could get even pineapple coverage without making the pizza a juicy mess. So, I pulled out my spiralizer and had way too much fun spiralizing a pineapple. Was it messy? Yes! Was it strangely satisfying? Heck, yes! So, with my thinly sliced pineapple in hand, I felt prepared to address another gaping hole in the classic Hawaiian pizza’s flavor profile: the lack of heat. Most people wouldn’t try this hard to like any food item, but hey, I guess I’m a weirdo.
I know that it’s pretty common to be a heat demon these days. Spice tolerance has turned into an increasingly silly pissing contest amongst food lovers and I’m certainly not immune to it. When I first met my boyfriend, we challenge each other to a basket of scotch bonnet wings. He won handily and I was hopelessly humbled. But while I am incapable of enjoying skin-melting-heat, I do like a good burn and sometimes a good burn is strangely hard to find.
All too often I find and sadly purchase items that declare themselves to be “spicy” or even “suicidal” only to find they aren’t spicy at all. I can recall a particularly sad pack of so-called “Triple Heat” beef jerky. There is nothing more disappointing than something mild that calls itself “hot”, except maybe a glass of overly sweet lemonade. That’s not what I wanted for my Hot Hawaiian Pizza. I wanted something well and truly hot that would play off of the sweet, slightly tart taste of the pineapple.
Well, to say I accomplished my goal would be an understatement. This Hot Hawaiian Pizza is quite hot, so hot my bf didn’t reach for any of the 80 (a mild exaggeration) hot sauces in our fridge. That being said, you can adjust the heat level to suit your heat tolerance – no shame in your game. So, what makes this pizza so hot? Bird’s eye chilies, a Hungarian wax pepper, spicy calabrese salami, and the trusty jalapeno. Together they turn the ho-hum Hawaiian ‘zah into a tasty inferno. If you’re feeling really brave, you can even add a sprinkling of crushed red pepper flakes at the end. Go ahead! I double dog dare ya!
So, if you think you’re not about the Hawaiian Pizza, I get it. If you choose to stand by that assessment, I totally respect your opinion. But if you think maybe, just maybe, you could stand or even like pineapple on your pizza, I urge you to give this Hot Hawaiian Pizza a try. And if you already like Hawaiian pizza, I think this bad boy will make you like it even more. Bold statement, I know, but it’s a bold pizza.
- 4 pre-baked 9-inch pizza crusts (see below)
- 1 batch Simple Marinara
- 150g (5oz) Calabrese salami, sliced thin
- 1/2 pineapple, peeled and spiralized
- 5-9 bird's eye chilies, thinly sliced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, sliced thin
- 1 Hungarian wax pepper, seeds removed and coarsely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 shallot, sliced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- 1 (340g/12oz) package mozzarella, shredded
- Shredded Parmesan cheese for sprinkling
- 2 1/4 cups warm water, divided
- 2 1/4 teaspoons quick rise yeast
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 1/4 cups bread flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Corn meal for dusting
- Pour 1/4 cup of the warm water into a large bowl. Add the yeast and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes or until foamy.
- Add the remaining water to the bowl followed by the olive oil and stir to combine.
- Whisk the flour and salt together in a large stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
- Swap the paddle for a dough hook and set the mixer to it's lowest speed.
- Slowly pour the liquid mixture into the dry. Go in small increments only adding more liquid after the previous amount is well-integrated. A silky, tacky dough should form.
- Place the dough on a well-floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to an oiled bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and leave the dough to rise for 2 hours.
- Place the dough on a floured surface and divide it into four balls. Cover the dough with a clean tea towel and let rise for an additional half an hour.
- While the dough is rising, place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat the oven to 500F.
- Once the dough has risen, shape each ball into a 10-inch round disc - it doesn't have to be perfect. Transfer the pizza crust to a pizza peel dusted with cornmeal. Brush the top of the dough with olive oil and slide it onto the pizza stone. Bake for 5 minutes.
- Repeat with the remaining dough. You can either top the crusts right away or set aside until ready to use.
- Preheat the oven to 450F.
- Spread equal amounts of marinara evenly over each pizza crust. Place a layer of Calabrese salami slices over the sauce.
- Tear the pineapple into manageable pieces and place them in an even layer over top of the Calabrese salami. Place an additional layer of salami on top of the pineapple and an additional layer of pineapple on top of that.
- Place the peppers and chilies in a medium sized bowl. Add the garlic, shallot, olive oil, salt and pepper, and toss to combine.
- Spoon the hot pepper mixture evenly over the four pizzas and cover with shredded mozzarella cheese and a light sprinkling of Parmesan.
- Transfer the dressed pizzas, one at a time, to the pizza peel and slide them onto the pizza stone. You may have to work in batches, cooking one or two pizzas at a time.
- Bake the pizzas for 20 minutes or until the crust is golden and cheese is bubbling.
- Let the pizzas stand for 10 minutes before slicing.
- Serve hot with a cold beer.