Most Friday nights the kids and I still snuggle in at home for a pizza movie night. We make pizza together and debate for a good long time before we settle on a movie or show that we can all agree on. It’s a tradition I began several years ago, hoping that it would continue as the girls got older. So far so good.
Esme, however, turned 8 last month and suddenly I am very aware that times are changing. Nothing big, just small things. But she’s the oldest and I’m a mom, so even the small things feel huge. There are things like the way she will pack her own school lunch some mornings, or how she practices her violin and multiplication tables without any prompting, or how she wants to watch things like My Fair Lady for movie night. She seems older and more mature, but in a fun way – a way that indicates we may someday be friends who have lunch together on our way to an afternoon of shoe shopping. Sure, my baby’s going to grow up but I can do this. It’s going to be fun.
Then yesterday, as I was tucking her into bed, she casually mentions that she played Truth or Dare with friends at school. Hmm, I said in what I hope was an equally casual way – though suppressing the urge to completely and thoroughly freak the heck out. So, like, hmm, what kind of things did people do in the game? I asked, like it was no big deal – except it was a huge freaking deal people, huge. And I must have played it off pretty well, because she told me all about it.
The truths and dares were the young, sweet, innocuous kind – tasting wood chips off the playground, kissing trees, confessing your middle name and least favorite food. No big deal. But still.
Truth and Dare is probably inevitable – all kids will encounter the dumb game at some point or another, right? But it’s only the third grade, you know? And it’s Truth or Dare. TRUTH OR DARE. You do know, right?
I remember, in the junior high years, following a dare to wear a bra several sizes too big over the top of my clothes and go knocking on doors down the street asking to borrow this or that. That one is still mostly funny to me now as it was then, but I remember other dares and truths later on, not so much played as pressured, by friends that weren’t just in it for fun and ended with me feeling betrayed and hurt and confused.
So I listened to my third grader tell me about being silly and hugging a light pole, but really I was just thinking: OhMyGoshOhMyGoshOhMyGosh. It’s starting, already.
All that just to tell you that Pizza Movie Night with my girls and some Audrey Hepburn, it’s precious, so precious. Having just remembered what a treasure these days with my young kids are, I offer you an extra special pizza recipe. This Sauteed Apple Prosciutto Pan Pizza is just the thing for a delicious weekend dinner at home.
I adapted this recipe from Serious Eats’ Foolproof Pan Pizza, and while you do have to plan ahead for the dough, I can assure you it is very worth it. The first time I tried pan pizza this way at home I was amazed that I could make pizza that tastes so good! It’s like those personal pan pizzas from Pizza Hut I used to love when I was a kid, but way better. The crust is PERFECT, golden, crunchy, perfection. The sauteed apples, onions, and prosciutto add a sophisticated sweetness that takes this pan pizza to the next level. It’s good, really good.
And for all my parenting anxieties, I have to tell you that parenting these kids of mine is mostly good, really good, too. As I was finishing up this post just now, Esme called me in for one last goodnight hug. I gladly embraced her, but when I went to pull away she wouldn’t let go. What’s up, I asked. And she said, “Did you know that the average hug lasts approximately 30 seconds? Well, I’m just trying to be above average.”
And for 45 seconds, life was absolutely perfect.
- 2½ cups bread flour
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 cup, plus 3 tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoons olive oil, plus more for pans
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 2 medium apples, cored and thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 8 oz provolone, shredded
- 1 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 6 oz prosciutto, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
- In a very large mixing bowl, combine all of the dough ingredients, making sure that all of the dry bits are incorporated with your hands or a dough whisk. There is no need to knead this dough at all! Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let dough rise for at least 8, but up to 24 hours.
- Prepare two 10 inch cast-iron skillets by coating each pan with 2 tablespoons oil. Divide the dough into two even pieces, one for each pan, and shape them into balls. Place the balls into the pans and press the dough evenly around the bottom and edges of the pans. Cover the pans tightly and let rest for 2 more hours at room temperature.
- In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, or until softened and golden. Stir in the apples and brown sugar and saute, stirring often, for an additional 8 to 10 minutes or until the apples are soft and golden. Set aside
- Preheat oven to 550 degrees Fahrenheit. Take the prepared dough in the cast iron pans and press the risen dough around the pan to make sure it fills the pan to the edges. Pop any air bubbles and gently lift the dough to release air trapped beneath it.
- Top each pizza with gouda, followed by the sauteed apple mixture. Sprinkle with prosciutto, then top with cheddar and fresh thyme. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until crust is crispy and golden. Gently lift the pizza with a spatula to check the crust and remove from oven when it reaches desired crispiness.