This delicious Cheddar, Pancetta and Apple Flatbread is one of my favourite flavour combinations. Enjoy this one and more, with this easy flatbread dough recipe, too!
I am presently in the midst of a little flatbread obsession. Not so much that I need an intervention, but enough that when I walk in to the room with yet another flatbread creation, I’m pretty sure eyebrows are being raised. What can I say? Since cooking some up this past weekend in Toronto, I was inspired to bake up a batch at home and have since topped them with all manner of things. This Aged Cheddar, Pancetta, Apple and Arugula version was so delicious, I just had to share it.
For this one, I started with a lovely aged cheddar with honey that’s made right here in Ontario. You don’t need to use a cheddar with honey, but find a nice, white, crumbly, aged cheddar for this one. Top with some pan-fried pancetta (or bacon) and thin slices of apple (I used Lady Alice apples, but any red-skinned apple would work). Bake for 8-10 minutes and top with fresh baby arugula.
The combination of flavours here is nothing short of perfection. The nutty aged cheddar, with the salty pancetta, the sweet apples and the fresh and slightly peppery arugula comes together into one of the nicest bites I’ve had in a while. I can’t get enough of it!
Beyond the fabulous toppings though, is the brilliance that is this flatbread recipe. It comes from Chef Lynn Crawford and is in her latest cookbook “At Home with Lynn Crawford”. Easy and quick (at least quick for a yeast-based recipe), this recipe makes 4 nice sized flatbread. I kept a couple out to top and eat and froze the other two. They freeze beautifully and are a great thing to have on hand for a last-minute appetizer or as a side for pasta dinner, for example. And as my sister noted, they would also be really handy to have in the freezer for quick pizzas. And given the price of flatbread at the grocery store, this is an extremely economical way to get your fill!
I hope I’ve convinced you of the many reasons why you should bake up a batch of these flatbreads, but no worries if you just aren’t feeling a yeast dough. Just use your favourite ready-made pizza dough to make the flatbreads or buy some pre-made.
This flatbread would also be great using pears instead of the apples. A little drizzle of honey on top after baking and before the arugula would also be a nice touch (maybe a little sticky on the fingers, but … whatever).
I love to bake up a bunch of flatbreads and freeze them. That way a delicious flatbread treat is always at hand. Experiment with different toppings to find your favourite!
Aged Cheddar, Pancetta, Apple and Arugula Flatbread
Flatbread Dough: (makes four 5x14-inch flatbreads)
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 1 Tbsp. dry active or instant yeast
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- 1/4 cup olive oil
Toppings: (for one 5x14-inch flatbread - increase as necessary)
- 1 cup grated or crumbled aged white cheddar
- 1/4 cup cooked diced pancetta or bacon
- 1/4 - 1/3 of a large apple cored and very thinly sliced (no need to peel)
- Handful of fresh baby arugula
In a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the flour and salt. In a two-cup glass measure, combine warm water, yeast and honey. Let stand 5-10 minutes.
Add proofed yeast mixture and olive oil to bowl with flour and salt. Stir into a smooth dough, adding a few more tablespoons of flour, if necessary to make a smooth, moist (but not sticky) dough. Place into a greased bowl and cover with greased plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Pre-heat oven to 400° F. with racks in upper third and lower third of oven. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Remove risen dough to a well-floured surface. Cut dough into 4 equal portions. Roll each portion on a floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness. Your flatbread can be any size or shape. If making oblong ones, just be sure they aren't longer than the length of your baking sheet, so it doesn't hang over the edge. Somewhere around 5-inches wide to 14-inches long works well. Place two flatbreads side-by-side onto each baking sheet. Let stand at room temperature for 10 - 15 minutes to rest.
Bake in pre-heated oven for 5 minutes, then switch baking sheets top to bottom and front to back. *If you have some large bubbles, poke them several times with the point of a sharp knife. Bake another 5-7 minutes, until firm and starting to turn golden in spots. *Don't over-brown if you intend to re-bake flatbreads with toppings later on, to avoid over-browning when you bake the second time with toppings.
Remove flatbreads to a cooling rack to cool. (If making cheddar-apple flatbreads immediately, leave oven on and set to 400° and keep baking sheets with parchment handy to re-use)
Once flatbread have cooled a bit, top with cheddar and cooked pancetta/bacon. A little freshly ground black pepper, is nice here. Arrange thinly sliced apples overtop. Return to parchment-lined baking sheet and pop back in to the oven for 7-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and golden and apples have softened. Allow to cool slightly, then top with fresh arugula. Cut into triangles for serving.