Mele e Finocchio (Apple-Fennel) Pizza

Source: Jim Lahey & Maya Joseph, Sullivan Street BakeryPhoto Credit: Squire Fox

Recipe Type: | Seasons: ,

This recipe is from The Sullivan Street Bakery Cookbook (W.W. Norton, 2017) and was demonstrated for CUESA’s Market to Table program on December 2, 2017.

The fennel in this pizza is an all-star: it does double duty in the flavor department as it crisps on the top of the pizza and turns meltingly soft on the bottom layer. Eat this pizza once it has cooled off—the apple will be deliciously sweet, the fennel crisp, and both will be better off with the little bit of salty pancetta.

Makes one 18-by-13-inch pizza

Equipment: One 18-by-13-inch rimmed sheet pan and a pizza stone (you can make this without a pizza stone underneath the sheet pan, but the crust will not be as crisp)


½ large fennel bulb (115 grams), cored and thinly sliced (about 15 pieces)
15 grams (1 tablespoon) extra virgin olive oil
0.5 gram (1⁄8 teaspoon) freshly ground black pepper
½ batch Pizza Bianca alla Romana, Version 2 (page 118 of The Sullivan Street Bakery Cookbook) or Version 1 (page 65), made through step 3; or pizza dough of your choice
15 slices (200 grams) Brie cheese (or another bloomy rind cheese such as Tomales Farmstead Creamery Teleeka) 
2 tart green apples (115 grams), cored and sliced (15 slices)
50 grams (2 heaping tablespoons) very finely chopped pancetta
2 rosemary sprigs (15 needles)
Fine sea salt to taste


Place a pizza stone on the middle rack of the oven and heat the oven to 450°F. Lightly oil an 18-by-13-inch rimmed sheet pan. 

Toss the fennel slices in the olive oil and a pinch of black pepper and set aside. 

Place one ball of dough in the center of the oiled sheet pan. Gently tug the dough so that it fits the pan. Take care not to deflate the dough. Arrange 15 slices of cheese evenly across the dough, in three rows of five. Scatter half the fennel over the dough, then layer one apple slice over each cheese slice. Next layer on the pancetta and remaining fennel and place one rosemary needle in the center of each apple. 

Let proof at room temperature for 20 minutes. Season with salt, and bake for 25 minutes, placing the sheet pan on top of the baking stone. The pizza is done when the crust has puffed up and is lightly browned, and the apples are slightly soft.

Farmers Market Ingredients