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Roasted Pear and Havarti Pan Pizza

Roasted Pear and Havarti Pan Pizza

Renée Robinson

An Unusual, but Outstanding Pizza. If I Do Say So Myself.

I know this is an unorthodox pizza. After all, it contains roasted pears, havarti cheese, and pomegranate arils. No mozzarella or tomato sauce in sight. And it is one of the best things I’ve ever made. No reason to be humble about it because it really is that good.

There are several interesting things going on here, but I’ll start with the crust, because the toppings don’t matter at all if you don’t have a great crust. I wanted a pan pizza that was crisp on the bottom, but not so crisp that it tears up your mouth when you bite into it. And I wanted it to have a soft, but chewy crumb. I used a 14 x 14 inch dark pan for this, but it could also be made in a regular 13 x 18 inch half sheet pan. I used J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s crust recipe but made several changes which I will explain in the recipe.

The dough on the left is after it’s risen for 2 hours and been pressed into the corners of the pan. The dough on the right is after it’s risen the second time, for 30 minutes, and has been spread with the green sauce.

Now, on to the toppings. Because tomato sauce wouldn’t work for these flavors, I decided on an unusual type of green sauce. I’ve been using this technique for green sauces for years now. I can’t remember where this came from, but it goes like this. Herbs or leafy greens, olive oil, ice cold butter, a tiny bit of grated parmesan and a couple of ice cubes are ground up in a blender. This produces a thick sauce that stays bright green, even after it’s baked. I didn’t want to use a lot of basil because its strong flavor would overwhelm this pizza. I simply wanted a green vegetal flavor, so I used mostly arugula, with only a tiny bit of basil, knowing it’s slightly bitter and peppery flavor would play well with the roasted pears.  

Green sauce

As for the toppings, well, gently roasted pears and red onions sounded good to me. Seeing as I’d just gotten a bottle of absolutely wonderful Pear Balsamic, I used some of it here, along with a little olive oil and fresh rosemary. I only roasted them until they’d just started to soften, knowing they’d fully soften when they were baked on the pizza.

Unbaked pears and onions

Havarti seemed like a good choice for the cheese. I’ve always loved it paired with pears and it melts beautifully. Thinking that it would need a hit of freshness and brightness, I thought pomegranate arils would do the trick and man, was that a good choice. They added exactly what was needed. I’ve never made anything of which I’m more proud than this pizza. It really knocked our socks off.

Roasted Pear and Havarti Pan Pizza

Recipe by Renée Robinson



Roasted pears and red onions top this pan pizza, along with havarti cheese and a green sauce that stays bright green even after it's baked. Bright pomegranate arils top it when it comes out of the oven. Delicious beyond description.

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  • Square Pizza Dough, adapted from Serious Eats/J.Kenji Lopez-Alt
  • 500 grams (about 3 1/2 cups) bread flour

  • 10 grams (about 2 teaspoons) kosher salt

  • 5 grams (about 1 teaspoon) instant yeast

  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 347 grams (about 1 1/2 cups plus 1 1/2 tablespoons) water, room temperature

  • Green Sauce
  • 2.5 ounces baby arugula leaves

  • .5 ounce fresh basil leaves

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons ice cold salted butter

  • 1 tablespoon finely grated parmesan cheese

  • 2 ice cubes

  • Roasted Pear and Havarti Pizza
  • 3 ripe, but still firm, Bartlett pears, halved, cored and each half cut into 4 wedges

  • 1/2 large red onion, cut into 1/2 inch wedges

  • 4 sprigs rosemary

  • Morton’s kosher salt

  • Black pepper, coarsely ground

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pear balsamic vinegar, or regular balsamic vinegar

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 8 ounces shredded Havarti cheese

  • 1/2 teaspoon ajwain seeds or dried oregano

  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds (arils)

  • A few arugula leaves


  • Combine flour, salt, yeast, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix for a few seconds to combine. Add the water to the mixer and mix on medium speed until it comes together and no dry flour remains. Increase speed to medium-high and mix until the dough is stretchy and smooth, about 6 minutes. The dough should stick to the bottom of the bowl but pull away from the sides.
  • Pour 3 tablespoons olive oil into either the square pan or a half sheet pan, tilting it so the entire bottom is covered. Pour the dough into the pan and drizzle over the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Gently pat the dough out until it is in an oval shape and about a half inch thick. It will not fill out the entire pan at this point. Don’t be concerned, we will get to that later. Cover the pan with plastic and let rise for 2 hours. Remove the plastic and using oiled fingers, very gently pat and push the dough into all 4 corners of the pan. If there should be any resistance, let the dough rest for 5 minutes and continue. Cover with plastic and let rise for 30 minutes.
  • In the meantime, while the dough is rising for the first time, prepare the green sauce and pears as follows: Put all the ingredients for the green sauce into a blender and blitz until it is emulsified and thick. Refrigerate the sauce.
  • Again, while the dough is rising the first time, preheat the oven to 375° with a rack in the middle. Line a sheet pan with parchment. Combine the pears, onions, and rosemary on the sheet pan. Sprinkle with about 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and several grinds of black pepper. Drizzle on the vinegar and olive oil. Toss everything together. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside. As the time nears for the end of the initial 2 hour rising time of the pizza dough, turn your oven temperature up to its highest setting. This will be from 500° to 550°.
  • After the dough has risen for the second time, spread 1/2 cup of the green sauce over the top of the dough, leaving 1 inch bare on all sides. Sprinkle on the cheese and distribute the pears and onions evenly over the top, drizzling on any of the juices left behind in the pan. Sprinkle with the oregano or ajwain seeds and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the pizza from the pan, top with the pomegranate seeds, black pepper, and arugula leaves. Slice it up and Enjoy!


  • 14 inch x 14 inch square dark pizza pan or 13 inch x 18 inch half sheet pan
  • Stand mixer
  • Blender

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