Duck Pizza with Fresh Cherry Sauce

So I was in Portland recently visiting my little brother, and we basically ate like kings for a week. Luckily I was able to draw a little inspiration from all that gluttony. At a certain brewpub that shall remain nameless, we ordered a thing with spicy marionberry jam and goat cheese. What we didn’t notice before we ordered was that it came on biscotti. The biscotti was weird. It didn’t work for us. It just didn’t look/taste/feel right. It needed something breadier. It needed more cheese. Fortunately we got to try that out too, in a better version a couple days later at an amazing brunch (at Tasty n Sons; go there); that was baked cherries with melted taleggio on top, served with crusty grilled bread. This iteration was much better (extremely delicious, in fact), but I still thought, “this could be something bigger; something more put together.” And that’s where the idea for this pizza came. I subbed in bread flour on the dough, and added some butter, so the crust is both fluffier and flakier than normal pizza dough. Oh, and the sauce? Yeah, it’s mostly just cherries. Does that weird you out? It shouldn’t. Just remember that tomatoes are a fruit, and then suddenly it doesn’t seem so weird. Plus, we’re going to avoid making this a dessert by adding some smoky pan roasted duck breast, and we’re also going the double cheese route (come on, did you not already know that we were going the double cheese route?).

Cherry Sauce
4 c cherries, de-pitted and halved
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 c shallot, minced
1 T fresh rosemary, chopped
2 t crushed red pepper
1 c chianti or other dry red wine
1 meyer lemon, juiced
1/8 c red wine vinegar
salt & pepper

Pizza Dough
Follow this recipe here, with the below changes:
Use bread flour instead of regular flour
Press 6 T butter into flour before mixing into dough
Add 1 T sugar to dough mix

Duck
1 large duck breast
2 T smoked paprika
2 t cayenne pepper
2 t ground coriander
salt & pepper

Other Toppings
12 oz taleggio cheese
4 oz goat cheese
1/4 c chives, chopped

When you’re making the pizza dough, cut the butter into little cubes and use your fingers to press it into the flour while our yeast is activating. They should first turn into little buttery flour leaves, then they will start to dissipate into the flour. Leave it slightly lumpy with butter leaves, as those help the end product be flaky.

While the dough is rising:
– Turn your oven to maximum heat with your pizza stone inside to preheat
– Score the fat side of your duck so that you make little diamonds (you will eventually cut along the scoring when the duck is finished cooking.
– Season both sides well; set aside.
– Turn a pot on medium heat. Add all your cherry sauce ingredients and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes, then remove from heat.

Cherries, fresh from the market.
Cherries, fresh from the market.

– While that’s simmering, get a heavy bottomed skillet going on med-high heat, then add the duck fat side down. Cook for about 10 minutes on the fat side, and 6-8 minutes on the non-fat side.

Scored duck, pre-seasoning and pre-skillet.
Scored duck, pre-seasoning and pre-skillet.

– Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.

Scored duck, post-skillet.
Scored duck, post-skillet.

– Slice into bite size bits along the scoring you made in the fat.
– Crumble your goat cheese, and slice the taleggio as thin as you can (it’s gooey, so the slices won’t actually be that thin).

Now you have pretty much everything ready.
– Roll out your dough, and make sure you roll the edges to form a crust.
– Lay down the goat cheese first, then the cherry sauce, then the duck, and then the taleggio.

Goat cheese. Note the rolled edges of the crust.
Goat cheese. Note the rolled edges of the crust.
Cherry sauce.
Cherry sauce.

– Bake for 12-15 minutes.
– Remove from oven, and top with chives.
– Marvel at the fact that your sauce is made of cherries.

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An epically unique slice of pizza. Duck with fresh cherry sauce.
An epically unique slice of pizza. Duck with fresh cherry sauce.

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