Is there anything worse in this world than a fennel seed?
I loathe them. In fact, they are the reason I don’t like most sausage. If I’m going to eat something with sausage, it needs to be masked and well balanced with other flavors. All because of the damn fennel seeds.
But fresh fennel? SIGN ME UP. I am obsessed. I love how crisp and bright it is in a salad, and I adore how caramelized and sweet it gets when you cook it down, much like onions. I am not a black licorice fan at all, but I do love fennel’s slight anise flavor. It’s mellow and somehow makes that otherwise heavy flavor taste refreshing. Fennel is an ingredient I have only recently started using more frequently at home, and I am always asking myself why I waited so long.
(Probably because the fennel seed ruined everything.)
I especially love it on these mini pizzas. Mini pizzas are the best! They’re so darn cute. I love them as an easy dinner idea (just serve them alongside a side salad or veggie, and you’re set), but these would also make an adorable and impressive appetizer for a party. They’re light enough to be eaten as a first course, for sure.
Well, that is, if you can stick to eating only one. Which might be hard.
These little babies are topped with a mixture of tart honeycrisp apple slices and sweet, caramely fennel and onions – cooked until almost jam like. Are they TRULY caramelized? Yes and no. They are sweet and golden and jammy, but if I were adding them as the main flavor component in a French onion soup, for instance, I would cook them longer until they were deeply golden brown and very, very sweet. For all you purists out there, these may not be caramelized by true culinary definitions, but the flavor? On point.
I like to top these pizzas simply when it comes to the cheese. Because the other ingredients are really what should shine. So, I stick with shredded mozzarella and a light grating of parmesan. That’s it. You could switch things up, if you like. For instance, fontina or gouda would be faaaantastic here. Or, if you’re a blue cheese fan, this is the pizza for you. Blue cheese would work WONDERFULLY with the other flavors going on here. In fact, if I make these again, I might add a few blue cheese crumbles. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
The real show stopper, though?
The spicy honey drizzled over the pizzas once they come out of the oven.
Spicy honey is one of those juxtapositions that just WORKS. It’s a mind blowing combination of flavors. Heat and sweet, baby. And the good news? It is REALLY easy to make.
All I do is warm some honey in a small pot on the stove and add in a sliced jalapeño pepper. Let it cool slightly while the peppers steep in the honey. In 10 minutes, you have spicy pepper honey, and it is going to change your world. I love it drizzled on things like this pizza (obviously), but it also makes a fabulous addition to cheese boards. Yes! Eat it drizzled over a hunk of sharp cheddar or drizzled over some shards of manchego or crumbles of gorgonzola, and you’ll be moved to tears. Try it.
You can thank me later.
The spicy honey, when drizzled over these pizzas, takes them to the “next level.” It takes an ordinary white pizza and transforms it into an elevated but approachable meal. Something that people will remember.
And it will make them forget all about their disdain for the fennel seed. Promise.
These mini white pizzas are elevated with caramelized fennel, honeycrisp apples, and a spicy honey drizzle. They are easy to make and very impressive to serve.
For the Fennel:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 head of fennel, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 1 small onion, thinly slices
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
For the Honey:
- ½ cup honey
- 1 jalapeno pepper, sliced
For the Pizza:
- 1 (1-lb) ball of pizza dough
- Flour, for rolling out the dough
- Cornmeal, for prepping the dough
- Olive oil, for brushing on the dough
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 honeycrisp apple, thinly sliced
- Salt and pepper
For the Fennel:
- Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and add the fennel and onion. Add the salt and toss to coat. Cook for a few minutes or until the fennel and onion begin to soften. Add in the sugar.
- Reduce the heat to low and cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the fennel and onion are soft and beginning to caramelize. Season, to taste, with additional salt and fresh black pepper. Set aside.
For the Honey:
- While the fennel is cooking, add the honey to a small saucepan and set it over medium-low heat. Bring to a gentle simmer. Add in the jalapenos and cook for a few minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool slightly. The peppers will steep in the honey as it cools.
For the Pizza:
- While the fennel and honey are cooking, preheat the oven to 475°F and place a pizza stone on the middle rack to preheat (alternatively, place a large baking sheet in the oven once it has heated to 475°F.
- Roll the dough out on a floured surface until it is roughly ¼-inch thick. Using a large round biscuit cutter, cut out small rounds of the dough.
- Line a pizza peel with parchment paper and sprinkle the paper with cornmeal. Gently transfer each pizza dough round to the pizza peel, leaving a little room in between each one.
- Brush each pizza dough round with olive oil and then sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese. Top the cheese with the cooked fennel mixture and few slices of apple.
- Sprinkle the parmesan cheese over top and season everything with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the parchment paper to your pizza stone (or hot baking sheet) in the oven. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the dough is cooked through and the toppings are golden and bubbly.
- Remove from the oven and drizzle with the spicy honey. Serve immediately while warm.
- You can also make this as one large pizza. The process is the same; just skip cutting the dough into small circles. You may need to add a couple minutes of baking time if doing one large pizza.
- I like to store any leftover honey in an airtight container in the fridge. It will keep for a couple weeks. It is wonderful on cheese boards!
- Speaking of cheese, you can switch them up for the pizzas. I keep things simple with mozzarella and parmesan, but fontina, gouda, and even blue cheese would be fantastic with these flavors.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Category: pizza
Keywords: white pizza, white pizza recipe, caramelized fennel, fennel pizza, honeycrisp apples, honeycrisp apple recipes, spicy honey, hot pepper honey, spicy honey recipe