Food + Recipes

Caramelized Fennel & Fig Pizza

June 21, 2014

Anya Kassoff’s The Vibrant Table is a feast for the senses. From small sides to savory meals and sweet indulgences, each nourishing recipe tells a story of a balanced and well-fed lifestyle, centered around the family table. A chapter dedicated to cooking with kids is full of tips and recipes for raising adventurous eaters.

This is the first recipe I made from this beautiful book. Sweet luscious figs and anise-scented fennel have a phenomenal affinity for one another. Delicious!

Makes 2 medium pizzas


For the topping

  • 2 large fennel bulbs, sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices, green fronds reserved
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 14 to 16 ripe figs
  • 1 to 2 ounces feta cheese, preferably goat’s milk and/or sheep’s milk feta shredded or crumbled (optional)

For the crust

  • 1 1/2 cups purified water
  • 3/4 tablespoon sea salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons coconut sugar, or other sweetener, divided
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cups buckwheat flour, plus more for dusting, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided


To roast the fennel and make the pizza dough

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Brush both sides of the fennel slices with olive oil and lay them on a parchment-covered baking sheet. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on top. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, rotating every 10 to 15 minutes, until softened.
  3. To make the crust, mix together the water, salt, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the coconut sugar in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Add the vinegar and shake lightly to mix. Measure 1 cup of the liquid and set aside.
  4. Sift 1 1/2 cups of the flour into a large bowl, then add the baking soda, 4 tablespoons of the olive oil, and the remaining 1 tablespoon coconut sugar. Gradually pour in 1 cup of the liquid, mixing to combine. The dough will be liquidy at this point.
  5. Start by adding more flour by sifting it into the bowl, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing it in with a wooden spoon as you go. When the dough is no longer too sticky to be kneaded by hand, knead it quickly for no more than 2 minutes. Make sure to dust your hands and the surface of the dough with the flour. The dough should be very soft and may be slightly sticky at this stage. It is important to add the flour just a little at a time; if not, it may become to stiff, which will be hard to fox, even by adding more liquid.
  6. When you are finished kneading, divide the dough into 2 equal portions and shape each portion into a ball. Place each ball onto the center of a piece of plastic wrap and flatten into the disk with the palm of your hand. Cover with more plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. You can prepare the dough in advance and refrigerate it overnight.

To assemble and make the pizzas

  1. Preheat the over to 395°F.
  2. Dust a rolling pin with a little bit of flour. Roll each piece of dough on a separate piece of parchment paper into a 1/4-inch thick pizza crust. Brush with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes, one crust at a time. Remove from the oven and top with the fennel, then the figs and cheese, if using. Don’t leave too much of the border uncovered to prevent the dough from drying and hardening. Bake for another 12 minutes, one pizza at a time. Top with the fennel fronds and other greens, such as arugula, and some black pepper and let cool slightly before slicing.


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