As I wrote last week, we had a big pear surplus chez nous. It was pears for days, which necessitated a pear topping for our Friday night pizza—hence Pizza Williams.
Basically anything in Switzerland with Williams in the title means that it contains pear or pear schnapps (although the full name of the schnapps is the French, Poire Williams, this usually just gets shortened to Williams).
This is down to the name of the pear itself, the Williams pear (or Bartlett in North America) which, with a firm-ish texture and juicy inside, lends itself well to cooking and processing. The pears carry the surname of the English gardener who popularized them in the UK. Later, an American named Enoch Bartlett acquired a piece of property in Roxbury, Massachusetts full of Williams pear trees that had been brought over from England. He didn't know their provenance, so he simply named the variety after himself. It wasn't until decades later, in the early 1800s that people realized that the two pears were the same variety.
Examples of Williams dishes in Switzerland include: Coupe Williams (boozed up ice cream or pear sorbet), Toast Williams (pears on toast, also called Appenzeller Toast), Kafi Williams (spiked coffee), and this pizza.
Pear on pizza is delicious, and was a perfect addition to Friday night pizza, the best meal of the week. Sam made a sourdough starter over the summer (Bertie—more on him here) and we have been reaping his fermented rewards ever since. I'm not going to lie, it is time-consuming (almost two weeks to make the starter, and about a day to make the dough), but the sourdough pizza crust is extremely delicious.
Inspired by the Pizza Williams recipe from Die Große Schweizer Küche, a really fantastic cookbook of Swiss dishes, somewhat modernized and beautifully photographed.
100 g crème fraîche or sour cream
150 g bacon, cubed
2 red onions, thinly sliced
2 pears, thinly sliced
200 g mozzarella, shredded
lots of black pepper
Preheat the oven to 220 C / 450 F / gas mark 7.
Roll out the pizza dough and spread with crème fraîche or sour cream.
Arrange bacon, onions, pears and mozzarella on top.
Bake for about 25 minutes, or until it's bubbling the cheese is starting to brown.
Season with black pepper.
- My favourite is sourdough pizza dough, which is time consuming to make, but super delicious—more here. If you are pressed for time, or can't be bothered, Jamie Oliver's pizza dough is great in a pinch, or just use store-bought.
- You can adjust the ingredient amounts at will. More pears, or more onions (says Sam, always), no problem.