To candy bacon, all you need to do is smother the slices in brown sugar, then bake 'em off it in the oven until the bacon has turn crispy and, well, coated in a sweet shell. It will seem somewhat sticky right off the bat, but that quality lessens as it cools. If you remember, we used a similar method when we dived into the trendy bacon and chocolate combo by making those Crispy Chocolate Chip Bacon Cookies, though it didn't take nearly as long as we didn't opt for super thick bacon. For a little flare, before the brown sugar got cozy with the bacon, we did mix in a savory note in the form of chili powder.
Since you won't be adding any toppings that necessarily need to "cook through", we stretched, then baked, our homemade dough for just a few minutes to set the crust and give it a bare golden hue. After a few minutes to cool, we smeared the top for the crust with softened cream cheese that was seasoned with fresh green onions, black pepper and a pinch of salt. To continue the layering process, the salty, sweet bacon, first chopped into chunky bits, went on, followed by thin slices of pear (tossed with lemon juice to prevent them from oxidizing), chopped pecans and uneven crumbles from a block of feta cheese.
With the crust halfway done already, the pizza doesn't take long to bake - start checking around the 6 to 8 minute mark. You are looking for the rim around the crust to be dark golden, with the nuts and cheese on top just starting to brown. Be sure to use raw pecans - since they are exposed on top of the pizza in a fiery hot oven, they will toast just fine on their own. Just before serving, we pinched a few leaves off from the last of our basil plants on the patio and littered the top with them. The verdict? I know it is probably cliché to say, but, hello "party in the mouth"! Salty, smoky, sweet, nutty and crunchy - it sounds as if it should be too convoluted, but all those ingredients managed to coexist in a way that we couldn't stop eating!
Now, we made this for dinner, but I think this pizza would make a spectacular appetizer - I would do a couple things differently though. I would use the same dough, but shape it into a rectangle instead, allowing for small, tidy squares that are easy to cut and handle. With the portions being smaller, I'd also think about finding a jar of mild honey and either drizzling the sticky syrup over before slicing or setting a bowlful, with one of those fancy wooden honey dippers in it, for your guests to add a few dribbles on their square. It may be a bit cloying if you were eating a quarter of the pizza, but on a small piece, I bet it would make this even more swoon-worthy, possibly even clinching the top prize of the evening.
Sweet Bacon and Pear Pizza