So- confession time! I’m not big on Halloween.
No cut-out ghosts grace my walls through the month of October. No spooky spiderwebs hang, enticing the dog to get caught and roll around in an attempt to escape. The only candle I have lit is a pumpkin-spiced Yankee Candle, and that’s been hanging around since the mid-September and is pretty non-Halloween-y.
Sure, I’ve attended and thrown my share of riotously fun, booze-laced Halloween parties, and when I was a kid, I loved dressing up in costume. I have a wicked sweet tooth, and free candy is just too good to pass up on. I love Fall, and leaves, and walking around, and everything else that goes with Halloween- it’s just, not my thing anymore. Now that I’m a boring grownup, I’m all bah-humbug about it. Maybe once we get to the cute dressing-up-the-kid stage, I’ll be whistling a different tune.
However, when Baking A Difference, a division of Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry® that encourages people to bake and help end child hunger in America, approached me with a last minute post idea (and threw in a giveaway basket of ridiculously generous goodies), I couldn’t say no. Their proposition? To create a “spooky” pizza, using their Pizza Dough Yeast and crust recipe, and help promote the program. And since Baking A Difference and No Kid Hungry are a cause I believe wholeheartedly in, I jumped at the chance. You can read more about what they contribute here. It’s truly making a difference in ending child hunger in this country, and I’m thrilled to be part of their campaign.
Ok and maybe I didn’t really take the spooky direction to heart, and instead let the Farmer’s Market guide me to the perfect pizza toppings. The last of the summer’s heirloom tomatoes and a basket of stupidly cute fairytale eggplants got me in the mood for Eggplant Parmesan, which was turned out to be awesome as a topping on the pizza.
I have to say, my experience with bread baking usually means I’m in the random mood to devote a whole afternoon to the finicky art of yeast proofing, 1st and 2nd dough rises, and egg-white basting. So I was surprised at how quickly this pizza came together. From the moment I stepped into the kitchen until we sat down to fresh, hot pizza, the total elapsed time was one hour. This was for pizza that had previously been nothing more than flour in a canister and raw tomatoes on my counter. Not bad for a weeknight meal.
Eggplant Parmesan Pizza Recipe
- 1 cup tomato pizza sauce OR 1 ¼ lb fresh tomatoes
- 8-10 fairytale eggplant, or 1 medium-large eggplant, sliced
- 1 ½ cup shredded mozzarella or muenster cheese
- 8-10 fresh basil leaves
- ¼ cup shredded parmesan
- Scant ¼ cup panko bread crumbs, or 1/8 plain breadcrumbs
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. If using fresh tomatoes, make one skin-deep slice on each tomato, from one end to another. Carefully lower the tomatoes into the boiling water and leave just long enough for the skin to start to peel away. Remove from the water using a slotted spoon and drop into the bowl of cold water to stop the cooking. Peel the skin off each tomato and dice, then pour the tomatoes and all their juice into a colander set over a bowl.Preheat the oven to 425*F.
- Make the pizza dough according to the instructions (see the link above), then set the dough ball aside. Scatter the eggplant evenly on a baking sheet and sprinkle with a large pinch of salt.
- Roast the eggplant for 5-8 minutes. While the eggplant is roasting, lightly flour a work surface. Roll or stretch the dough out, using either your hands or a rolling pin, and lay onto the pizza tray (don’t stress if it’s not a perfect circle- mine never are!). Pinch the edges to form a crust.
- Discard or save the strained tomato juice (yay Bloody Mary’s!) and blend the tomatoes quickly using a blender or a food processor. Spoon one cup of the tomato sauce into the center of the pizza dough and spread evenly around the pizza. Scatter evenly with the muenster cheese and fresh basil leaves. Remove the eggplant from the oven and transfer from the tray to a plate. Scatter the eggplant evenly on top of the cheese, the add the parmesan cheese on top in an even layer. Do the same with the breadcrumbs.
- Slide the pizza into the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, until the crust of the pizza has browned and the cheese is melted. Serve hot.
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