For the dough
For the topping
- 1 large fennel bulb , any fronds reserved
- juice 1/2 small lemon
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 medium onions , halved and very finely sliced
- ¼ tsp fennel seeds , coarsely crushed in a mortar
- a little extra virgin olive oil , for drizzling
- 12 small figs , halved
- 1 ½ tbsp balsamic vinegar
- a little caster sugar , for sprinkling
- 180g gorgonzola (or vegetarian alternative), broken into chunks
- 2 tbsp hazelnuts , halved and toasted
- STEP 1
To make the dough, mix the yeast in a small bowl with 2 tbsp warm water and 1 tbsp strong white flour. Leave somewhere warm to ‘sponge’ for 20 mins or so (this dissolves and activates the yeast). Tip the three flours into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour in the sponged yeast, 1 tsp salt, sugar, oil and 290ml warm water, and mix to form a wet dough. Knead for 10 mins until satiny and elastic, then put in a clean bowl, cover with a cloth and leave to double in size for 2 1/2 - 3 hrs.
- STEP 2
Quarter the fennel bulb lengthways and remove any tough outer leaves. Trim the base of each, thinly slice with a knife or mandolin, then put in a bowl with the lemon juice so it doesn’t turn brown.
- STEP 3
Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the onions and a pinch of salt, and fry over a medium heat for 7 mins. Add 1-2 tbsp of water, season with pepper, cover and cook on a low heat for 10 mins until softened. Add most of the fennel, along with the fennel seeds and seasoning, and cook for 3 mins, stirring every so often. If the mixture is still wet, uncover and bubble off any liquid.
- STEP 4
An hour before cooking, heat the oven to its highest setting and put a baking sheet or pizza stone in to heat. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface, knead it a little, then halve and roll each piece into a circle or rough square. Lift the dough and, while rotating, stretch with your fingertips until each piece is 30-32cm across and as thin as possible with a slightly thicker edge.
- STEP 5
Sprinkle two large baking sheets with semolina and put the pizza bases on them. Top each base with the cooked onion and fennel mix, then the pieces of raw fennel, leaving a 3cm border. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Put the halved figs on top and spoon on a little balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of sugar. Grind over some pepper. Carefully slide the first pizza onto the heated baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 8-12 mins until the dough is golden and the figs caramelised. Halfway through the cooking time, dot the pizza with the cheese. Scatter on the toasted hazelnuts and any reserved fennel fronds. Repeat with the second pizza.