Grape Pizza

Added on by Caroline Zhang.

I've complained talked about the dining halls at Harvard a couple times on this blog. I admit that HUDS (Harvard University Dining Services) does spoil us more than a lot of schools: we have endless buffet meals three times a day, the food is fairly healthy, and they try to keep it local (i.e. alllllllll the squash.)

But HUDS does like to get...experimental. I've been eating real world food all summer so some concoctions escape me, but one of the more memorable dishes is grape pizza.

This is one of their less successful dishes, I think, and I've yet to meet anyone who's terribly enthusiastic  about this pizza. It's rather disappointing to walk into the servery and see pizza, only to realize that it's grape (what's wrong with the spinach and bacon one?)

And it does seem a sad waste of grapes, which are a rather coveted fruit in the dining halls, usually only available on Friday mornings, which is an inhuman time to be awake. They could probably be put to better use than to be turned into squishy pulp on top of a greasy cheese pizza (with no sauce, for some reason).

Out of curiosity (as in, while procrastinating during finals week), I looked up grape pizza on Google, to see if it existed outside of Harvard's dining halls. (When I first had chicken and waffles for dinner, I thought it was something that HUDS made up, but apparently it's a real thing).

And yes, there actually are quite a few recipes for grape pizza. I think that what HUDS serves was an adaptation of something along the lines of Jamie Oliver's recipe for grape pizza, though something seems to have gotten lost in the translation.

However, I do think that grape pizza actually can be good, when it's paired with other flavors and textures. That's what I wanted to prove to myself with this recipe because I do think it's an interesting idea, rather than just to critique HUDS pizza (I realize, of course, that it is limited by bulk production and budget). I added onions, rosemary, and balsamic to complement the flavor of the grapes, swapped the tasteless mozzarella for a tart and savory goat cheese, increased the amount of grapes, and added fresh arugula to provide more texture and color.

The result? Make it. It'll change your mind about grape pizza.

-Caroline


Grape Pizza

Click here for the printable recipe.
Yields: 1 10-inch pizza   |   Crust adapted from The Candid Appetite

Ingredients
For the Crust
¾ cup warm water
2 ¼ teaspoon yeast
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus additional for greasing
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour

 For the Toppings
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ red onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
½ teaspoon pepper, or to taste
½ teaspoon dried rosemary (or about 1 ½ teaspoons fresh rosemary)
⅓ cup pizza sauce
1 cup seedless grapes, halved
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar 
3 ounces fresh goat cheese
½ cup arugula

Directions

  1. Make the dough. Mix together the water, sugar, and yeast. Stir in the olive oil and salt. Mix in the flours. Add more water or four if it is too dry or too sticky.
  2. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes until it is smooth and pliable. 
  3. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled in volume, about 1 - 2 hours. After it has risen, refrigerate the dough for at least an hour, or overnight.
  4. Preheat the oven to 500 F. Divide the dough in half. Set aside one half of the dough for another use.
  5. On a floured surface, roll out the remaining half into a 10-inch circle. Place the dough onto a baking sheet greased with olive oil. Brush more olive oil on top of the pizza dough.
  6. Bake for 5-7 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. Let cool for about 5 minutes.
  7. Prepare the toppings. Saute the onions and garlic with the salt and pepper, until slightly browned. 
  8. Spread the pizza sauce over the crust. Scatter the grapes, onions, and rosemary over the pizza.
  9. Bake for another 10-25 minutes, or until the crust is a deep golden-brown.
  10. While the pizza is baking, make the balsamic vinegar syrup. Boil the vinegar and sugar for about 5 minutes, or until it is reduced by about a third. Let cool.
  11. Once the pizza is cooked, sprinkle the goat cheese and arugula on top. Drizzle the balsamic syrup.