I wish I could celebrate the first day of October like most—with scarves and boots and a mug of steamy cider! Instead, I’m debating between capri leggings or shorts; I’m hemming and hawing over long sleeves or short sleeves. This is fall in the South.
I guess the trade-off is having a winter that identifies itself more with fall, so… silver linings ;)
To make up for the lack of brisk air lifting the scent of crisp leaves into the air, I’m diving right into seasonal cooking—and this Apple Cheddar Flatbread Pizza With Caramelized Onions is how I’m kicking things off.
Crisp apples. Crunchy walnuts. Caramelized onions. Rich cheddar. And a drizzle of tangy balsamic. These toppers sound fit for an autumnal salad, but I threw them down on some crust for a fall-inspired flatbread instead.
Does it seem a little offbeat to you?
Typically, when I’m hit with a pizza craving, I need a classic pizza slathered with tangy marinara; a big pie smothered with stretchy cheese and buttons of salty pepperoni. But I do make exceptions.
This past summer, while at a local brewery and restaurant, I dipped my toes into the world of honey-drizzled pizza. Honey! It was eye-opening and amazing. That delicious experience was the push I needed to bring this far-out sweet and savory flatbread to the blog—something I’ve been enjoying behind the scenes myself for the past two years.
Apple Cheddar Flatbread Pizza With Caramelized Onions.
Cheddar and apples have been known to get along quite well, and it’s not uncommon to invite some sort of caramelized onion compote to a cheese board, so this recipes makes sense to me. While the walnuts add a fabulous crunch, the balsamic drizzle brings on a tangy hint of sweetness. Something that’s just balanced enough to bring out the best of each component on this pizza. You could eat this pizza without the balsamic, but I highly recommend getting a nice and thick balsamic to drizzle on top. It adds *so* much.
Just note that caramelized onions are a critical component, and doing it properly is also important (and easy).
A lot of people, and even recipes I run into online, rush the caramelization process thus resulting in non-caramelized onions. Caramelization is a slow process that melts the onions into sweet, golden threads. The caramelization process lasts at least 30-40 minutes, so don’t confuse it with quickly “browning” onions at high heat, or you’ll end up with a completely different flavor.
Take the time—it’s totally worth it.
If you make this dish, snap a photo and tag me on the Insta @killing__thyme! I love seeing your creations, and you could be featured in my monthly newsletter <3
Apple Cheddar Flatbread Pizza With Caramelized Onions
Celebrate fall and apple season with this Apple Cheddar Flatbread Pizza With Caramelized Onions; it's the perfect weekend treat!
- 1 large pizza shell (homemade or store-bought)
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- 1 TBSP butter
- Kosher salt
- 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced into rings
- 1 cup shredded cheddar, mild or sharp Mild or sharp cheddar melts best; aged cheddar contains less moisture so will act more like parmesan and won't melt as nicely
- 1 apple; thinly sliced, preferably with a mandolin I used gala apples. Any sweet and flavorful apples will work AKA not a "delicious" apple.
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- Drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette (about 2 TBSP worth)
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the sliced onions, sprinkle with salt, and toss them to coat. Let them simmer for about 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Low and slow is the method you want to use here. Once the onions have browned and become extremely soft (this will take about 30-40 minutes) you can remove them from the heat.
Pre-heat the oven to the suggested time on the pizza shell packaging or, for homemade, see notes.
Brush the olive oil all over the pizza crust. Top the pizza with the caramelized onions, followed by the cheese, apple slices, and walnuts. You can sprinkle a little extra cheese on top at this point if desired. (I always do; cheese is my weakness.)
Place the pizza in the oven. If store-bought, cook as per the package's directions. If homemade, cooks as per the recipe's directions. You're looking for a golden crust and melted cheese.
Remove the pizza from the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes. Once slightly cooled, drizzle balsamic over it, sliced and serve.
*Working with from-scratch dough: Typically you want to bake from-scratch flatbread at 425° F for 7-15 minutes, or until the dough has crisped and turned golden in color. Always double check with the dough recipe you’re using.
**Prep time: This is based on the use of pre-made flatbreads. If you’re making your own from-scratch flatbread, prep time will be up to two hours longer, depending on your recipe, in order to let the dough rise. Keep this in mind when planning!