Because the toppings where going to be plenty moist, I wanted to make sure the crust, made using our homemade whole-wheat pizza dough, would hold up to their weight. Par-baking the stretched-out dough did the trick, which was done by sliding the crust onto a heated baking stone and letting the round bake just until the shine from the raw top had dulled and the bottom began to take on color.
I found three large apples were just enough to entirely cover the base, using a combination of thinly sliced Fuji and Granny Smiths for a sweet-tart bite. Since the pizza wasn't going to be in the oven long enough to soften the apples, the slices were cooked in apple cider for just a few short minutes. You want the apples to be crisp-tender - they should bend without snapping in half, yet not be too soft or mushy. After removing them from their bath, the apples were piled on top of the dough, arranged in tight concentric circles to make sure each slice got in on the action.
As to not waste the cider used to soften the apples, we doctored the dark liquid with cinnamon and a drizzle of amber honey, along with a bit of cornstarch. The cider is still fairly fluid, but a touch of dissolved cornstarch gave the cider body and made it more viscous, allowing it to cling to the apples as we brushed it over them, rather than just running off. For a nutty crunch, toasted pecans were scattered on top, followed by just enough shredded white cheddar to cover. Look at it as a play on cheddar apple pie without the fuss of a pastry crust! The "pizza" just needed to bake long enough to finish browning the dough and melting the sharp cheese on top.
Even though we were pretty generous brushing the cinnamon-laced cider dressing over the apples, we still had a fair amount left over - next time, I think I would spread at least a third of that over the base of the pizza first as the "sauce". Jeff and I thought the tempered combination of apple, pecan and cheese was quite fun and more importantly, not too sweet! This was helped by the fact that the crust isn't so much sweet (or savory) to begin with - just a blank slate to play with creativity!
Apple Cheddar Pizza