Cherry Pizza 12.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Apr 29, 2015

This is a rich pie, with complex flavors reminiscent of cannoli. Use frozen cherries when you can't get fresh.

The recipe makes enough dough for two pizzas. You can use the second round for Ruth Gresser's Pizza Genovese (see related recipe). You'll need a pizza peel, a pizza stone and a pair of tongs.

We tested this recipe in an electric oven. If, instead, you have a drawer broiler, place the pizza stone on the top shelf of the oven and preheat your oven on the broil setting for 1 hour. Check the temperature with an oven thermometer. If it reaches 550 degrees or higher, bake the pizza on the top rack of your oven, with the oven set to broil for the complete baking process. If your oven does not reach 550 degrees, move the stone to the broiler drawer, setting it on the broiler pan 4 inches from the flame, and follow the broil instructions. After the initial 1-minute broil step, move the broiler pan with the pizza stone on it to the top rack of the oven. (The stone and pan will be extremely hot.) Turn the oven to the highest bake setting and continue with the rest of the recipe.

If you don't have a broiler, preheat the oven on its highest bake setting for up to 1 hour (making sure your oven does not have an automatic time or temperature shut-off) and then bake the pizza. You will probably need to bake the pizza for 15 to 20 minutes rather than the 10 minutes mentioned in the directions.

Make Ahead: The dough needs to rise for 1 hour at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator. It needs to undergo a second rise for 1 hour at room temperature or for 6 hours and up to overnight in the refrigerator. The dough can be refrigerated overnight after its first or second rise. The dough can also be frozen for up to a month; defrost it overnight in the refrigerator. Let refrigerated dough sit out at room temperature for 1 hour before using.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 12 servings; makes one 12-inch pizza

  • For the dough
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water (about 105 degrees)
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound bread flour, plus more as needed
  • Cornmeal, for sprinkling
  • For the topping
  • 2/3 cup dried tart/sour cherries, whole or chopped
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped candied ginger
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped hazelnuts, skinned and toasted (see NOTES)
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons kirsch or brandy (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon very finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 cup fresh cherries, stemmed and pitted
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

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For the dough: Place the water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough-hook attachment. Dissolve the yeast in the water and let it stand for 5 minutes, until foamy.

Whisk the salt and oil into the water mixture. Add all the flour at once; beat on the lowest speed until a shaggy dough is formed.

Increase the mixer speed by one or two clicks; let the machine knead the dough until it has a smooth and elastic texture, about 5 minutes. To test the dough, turn off the machine and press the dough with your fingertip. When the dough begins to spring back, it is fully kneaded and ready for proofing.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.

Lightly flour a work surface and two plates. Turn the dough out onto the work surface and divide it in half. Shape each portion into a ball by placing your hands on either side of the bottom of the dough, rotating the dough counterclockwise five or six times while exerting a little inward and downward pressure on both sides. Place one ball on each plate. Lightly grease two pieces of plastic wrap with cooking oil spray and use them cover the dough, greased side down.

Put one of the plates in the refrigerator for 6 hours or up to overnight (a second rise), then freeze for another use.

Let the remaining dough rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour at room temperature for room-temperature dough or 2 to 3 hours at room temperature for cold dough. Or let rise in the refrigerator for 6 hours or up to overnight. (At this point, you may freeze the dough.)

Place the pizza stone on the top rack of a cool oven. Preheat the oven to broil, for 30 minutes, leaving the oven door ajar.

For the topping: Cover the dried cherries with boiling water for 1 minute and then drain.

Cut 1/2 ounce of the chocolate into shards. Chop the remaining chocolate into small pieces.

Place the ricotta in a medium bowl. Stir in the drained cherries, chopped chocolate, ginger, hazelnuts, walnuts, kirsch or brandy, if using, the orange zest, rosemary and salt.

Cut the fresh cherries in half.

On a floured surface, flatten the dough ball with your fingertips into an 8-inch round. Hold the dough between your fingers and your thumb on the left and right sides and stretch slightly. Lay the dough down on the counter and rotate it a quarter turn. Repeat the stretching on the new left and right sides of the dough. Rotate the dough an eighth of a turn. Repeat the stretching, make another quarter turn and stretch a final time. You should have a roughly 10-inch round.

Using your thumb and tips of your first two fingers, place them about 3/4 inch from the edge of the dough. Lift a section of the dough and stretch gently, proceeding section by section until you have made your way around the full circumference. You want to leave the outer edge thicker than the center, to form a nice crust. The dough should now be a 12-inch round. If it's misshapen, push or pull the edge until you achieve the desired round shape.

Sprinkle the pizza peel with cornmeal and lay the pizza dough on it. Spread the ricotta mixture onto the pizza dough, leaving 1/2 to 3/4 inch of dough uncovered around the outside edge. Scatter the fresh cherries over the ricotta.

Give the peel a quick shake to be sure the pizza is not sticking. Slide the pizza off the peel onto the stone in the oven. Broil for 1 minute, leaving the door ajar again. Close the door, turn the oven temperature to the highest bake setting and cook for 5 minutes. Quickly open the oven door, pull out the rack and use the tongs to rotate the pizza (not the stone) a half-turn. Cook for 5 minutes.

Use the peel and tongs to remove the pizza from the oven. Cut the pizza into slices and and dust with the confectioners' sugar. Sprinkle with the chocolate shards and serve.

NOTES: To skin the hazelnuts, bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 3 tablespoons of baking soda. Add the hazelnuts and cook for 2 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare a bowl of ice and water. After 2 minutes, remove one nut and drop it into the ice water. If the skin can be easily removed, drain the nuts and add them all to the ice water. If not, test one nut every minute until the skin comes off easily. Slip off and discard the hazelnut skins.

Toast the hazelnuts in a small, dry skillet over medium-low heat until fragrant and lightly browned, shaking the pan to keep them from scorching. Cool completely before using.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from "Kitchen Workshop: Pizza," by Ruth Gresser (Quarry Books, 2014).

Tested by Becky Krystal.

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