When I checked though my recipe index recently, it struck me that one item was noticeably absent. And it’s one that I make quite often at home. Pizza is a favorite in this house and I’ve been making my own version for many years. It started as small flat breads that the children topped with their favorite ingredients. Then I began experimenting with different dough recipes and slightly more unique toppings. This breakfast “pizza” is another variation on the theme; it’s made with brioche dough. So, is it really pizza?The answer is maybe…But it’s not a traditional pizza. Brioche is an egg-rich, buttery, fine-crumbed French classic. It makes delicious sweet and savory breads, and I’m here to tell you it’s the perfect platform for these breakfast ingredient favorites. I’ve taken a simple brioche recipe, scaled it down, and made it a little “leaner”. Each pizza is a free-form oval, topped with bacon, onions, mushrooms, spinach, and fresh herbs. There is a little cheese, and the crowning glory: a perfectly cooked egg. The brioche maintains its buttery, bread-like character and gets nicely golden and crisp around the edges. It’s a great weekend breakfast or brunch dish, with the added convenience of do-ahead for the dough. You can personalize your toppings; ham, sausage, peppers, other assertive greens, and different types of cheese can all be substituted for my choices here. But don’t skip the egg; it is breakfast, after all…
Breakfast Brioche Pizza
- For the Brioche:
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 cups bread or all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 large eggs , lightly beaten
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- For each breakfast pizza:
- 2 slices applewood smoked bacon , cut into small baton shapes
- 1/4 cup diced sweet onion
- 2 to 3 large mushrooms , coarsely chopped
- A handful or two of baby spinach leaves
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- A sprig or two of fresh thyme , leaves stripped and coarsely chopped
- Creme fraiche or heavy cream
- 1 large egg
To make the brioche dough: Mix together in a medium bowl, 1/3 cup milk (at room temperature), the yeast, 1/4 cup flour, and the sugar. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit until the surface is bubbly and looks slightly puffed, about 30 minutes.
Place this "sponge" in the bowl of a food processor. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and eggs. Pulse the mixture until the dough is smooth and shiny, about 30 seconds. Add the butter, a tablespoon at a time, and pulse for 5 seconds after each addition, or until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Pulse an additional 5 seconds after all the butter has been added. Scrape the dough into a buttered large bowl and turn to butter all the surfaces. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to double in size. This will take about 2 hours; check its progress at 30-minute intervals.
When the dough has doubled, deflate it by folding it over on itself several times. At this point you can re-cover the bowl and place the dough in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. If you wish to proceed, allow the dough to double once more; this may only take 45-60 minutes.
To make your pizza: Saute the bacon batons lightly in a medium skillet until they are softened and partially cooked. Lift onto paper towels to drain. Add the chopped onions and mushrooms to the pan and cook until caramelized and all the liquid has reduced. Sprinkle in the chopped thyme. Tip onto a plate to cool. Finally, add the spinach leaves to the pan and cook just until wilted. Transfer to the plate with the other vegetables to cool.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a quarter sheet pan with parchment paper. Divide the brioche dough into four 4-ounce pieces. Take one piece of dough and gently roll it, on a lightly floured surface, to an approximately 9x11-inch free-form oval. Transfer to the parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the surface of the dough with a little creme fraiche or heavy cream. Scatter a small amount of the cheese over the dough. Now add the bacon, onions and mushrooms, and spinach, leaving a little space in the center for the egg.
Slide the pan into the oven and bake the pizza for about 10 minutes. It will just be starting to brown around the edges and may puff up a bit in places. Remove from the oven and carefully crack the egg onto the pizza, centering as best you can. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese. Continue to bake until the egg white is set, but the yolk remains soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. (Reduce the oven heat to 375°F if the edges of the crust are browning too quickly. )
When done, slide the pizza, on the parchment paper, onto a serving tray. Serve and enjoy while hot and the egg is lusciously soft!
A delicious take on pizza and destined to be another favorite at our house. Enjoy!