By Janelle Carter of CorkChronicles.com and Sanura Weathers of MyLifeRunsOnFood.com
On one of the last days of Summer, I met Janelle of the CorkChronicles.com at Chelsea’s Market with a pizza box. She met me with bottles of wine in hand. We set off towards the High Line park, learned about the anti-alcohol laws in New York City’s parks with a firm verbal warning, and returned to Chelsea’s Market to eat our coveted fine meal with wine secretly hidden in a brown paper bag. After comparing which wine paired best with the pizza, we parted ways. She left for Washington D.C. and me for Brooklyn. Next month, we’ll meet again for the second installment of our monthly collaboration of pairing wine with food.
Autumn brings crisp air, green leaves turning into shades of burgundy, vibrant orange and golden yellow, school days for children, football season, and of course, heartier meals with bigger bodied wines to match. On the first day of Autumn, we offer a pizza with a semi-dry wine pairing celebrating the best of New York. The pizza recipe showcases New York’s state fruit, the apple. The goat cheese, apple and prosciutto pizza is a sweet and savory delight on a thick homemade crust. Your home will smell like the best of Autumn, and it will fill your stomach with a comforting medley of rich flavors and textures. To add fuel to the fire in your hearth, Janelle selects a New York wine—Keuka Lake Vineyards, Semi-Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes 2008—to pair with the pizza.
New York has some of the country’s best apple orchards growing heirloom varieties such as Cortland, Northern Spy, Chenango Strawberry, Macoun and Winesap to name a few. Most apple pizzas are served as a dessert with cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar. However, this is a savory recipe with goat cheese freshly made three days before from Ardith Mae Farm, tart apple slices from Samascott Orchards, fresh sage and prosciutto. The apple chosen for the pizza is an heirloom variety called Cox’s Orange Pippin, for it’s season is early fall. It’s small and crisp with a true tart and sweet flavor. It’s excellent for apple pies. The original idea was to use duck prosciutto from the the Hudson Valley Duck Farm. The Italian pork prosciutto from a reputable store was used at the last minute. If meat is not part of your diet, mix a minced shallot with the goat cheese to add more flavor to the pizza.
Janelle ultimately suggests pairing this delicious Autumn pizza with Keuka Lake Vineyards, Semi-Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes 2008. This Riesling pairs very well with the pizza because of its high acidity, medium-body, and semi-sweet profile. It has notes of green apple and honey with a tart zing that balances the sweet elements of the pizza and the wine very well.
In selecting a wine pairing local to New York, Riesling from the Finger Lakes AVA was the obvious choice. Finger Lakes is known for its ability to produce quality Riesling as well as Pinot Noir. The goat cheese, hearty crust, and salty prosciutto of the pizza called for an acidic wine. The sweetness of the apples dominating the pizza paired best with a sweeter wine, because anything else would highlight the tart and salty elements of the pizza. The semi-dry Riesling was sweet enough for Janelle. However, you can’t go wrong with a sweeter Riesling such as Hermann J. Wiemer Late Harvest Riesling 2009. If you must have red wine, Ravines Pinot Noir 2008 is a decent match. It compliments the prosciutto well. The down side to this pairing was that the Pinot Noir brings out the pepper in the pizza crust a little too much and overwhelms the goat cheese.
This fun pizza and wine pairing is sure to be crowd pleaser after a crisp Autumn day of leaf peeping, apple picking or a local football game. Have a question about food and wine pairi gs? Email us at sanura at MyLifeRunsOnFood [dot] com or Janelle at CorkChronicles [dot] com.
Fresh Goat Cheese, Apple and Prosciutto Pizza
10 oz. fresh goat cheese; room temperature
3 tbsp. minced fresh sage; plus more for garnish
1 tbsp. olive oil; more as needed
Fresh black pepper and sea salt; as needed
1 lb. firm and tart apples (such as Cox’s Orange or Granny Smith); peeled and cored; sliced 1/8-inch thick
1/4 lb. prosciutto*
1 store-brought or homemade pizza dough
1. Follow the directions for making and shaping the pizza dough here.
2. Preheat oven to its highest temperature. Place pizza dough on an oiled baking sheet. Flatten into a disk. If dough is resistant, let it rest for a few minutes.
3. Mix the goat cheese, sage, 1 tbsp. olive oil, sea salt and fresh black pepper together. Gently spread over the pizza dough about one-inch away from the edge.
4. Place apple slices over the goat cheese in a decorative circle pattern. Lay prosciutto over the apple slices. Sprinkle minced sage leaves over the prosciutto. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with fresh black pepper.
5. Depending on the heat of the oven, bake pizza for 6 to 15 minutes.
6. Remove pizza from oven. Garnish with fresh sage and fresh black pepper. Finish with sea salt.
7. Enjoy with recommended wine by the CorkChronicles.com.
*Duck prosciutto is a great alternative to pork prosciutto. To make a no meat version, mix one minced shallot with the goat cheese in step 3.
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