Four Cheese Balsamic Fig Tart Flambe Pizza

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four cheese balsamic fig tart flambe pizza

Figs on pizza isn’t exactly a new thing in pizzerias, but perhaps, a modern classic. In the hands of pizzamaker, award-winning cookbook author, and culinary instructor, Peter Reinhart, fig pizza takes a whole new turn with his Four-Cheese Balsamic Fig Tart Flambe. The pizza was selected as a finalist in the California Milk Advisory Board’s 2023 Pizza Contest, held in Napa. Keep reading to learn more about this Peter Reinhart pizza recipe.

Four cheese balsamic fig tart flambe is fig pizza at its finest. This Peter Reinhart pizza recipe was a finalist in the CMAB Pizza Contest.
photo by Alanna Taylor-Tobin

The hallmark of a Peter Reinhart pizza recipe, or any of his recipes is full assurance that he has tinkered and tried every possible scenario in which the pizza can go. Credit his passion and obsession with pizza and getting it just right, but also, the years of culinary instruction—over the multiple rounds of him tinkering with this tart flambe, each time he learned something new, details that led him and this fig pizza recipe to compete with for the REAL California pizza category at the  REAL California Pizza Contest in early August.

Four cheese balsamic fig tart flambe is fig pizza at its finest. This Peter Reinhart pizza recipe was a finalist in the CMAB Pizza Contest.

Flavors from the California Orchards + California Dairies

Reinhart’s fig tart flambé pizza leans into the bounty of California flavors, redolent with real California cheeses, perfectly paired with our Blue Ribbon California Fig Slurry. He could have used our scoopable Soft 40 Fig Paste, but opted for the looser Fig Slurry, which he cooks with balsamic vinegar to bring a balance of acidic brightness to the fruity slurry with a dash of hot sauce to add heat to the subtly tart sweet, runny jam.

The balsamic fig slurry complements the rich California cheeses—a mixture of Mascarpone, Crème Fraiche, and either Crescenza or Stracchino come together into a pipeable sauce. Shredded Smoked Scamorza or Smoked Gouda add another dimension to the pizza.

Four cheese balsamic fig tart flambe is fig pizza at its finest.

Baking Notes

A layer of sweet onions, sliced thin and kept raw are merely salt-and-peppered mixed in before tiling them on the pizza, as the high heat of the oven will cook them.

Three hours before you intend to bake the pizzas, take the dough out of the refrigerator to remove the chill. You’ll portion it out into four balls and leave them to mellow to room temperature so they’re easily workable.

Preheating the oven to high heat with the oven steel or baking stone on the middle rack ensures a consistent bake.

Find the Peter Reinhart pizza recipe for dough right underneath his Tart Flambe recipe on top.

Four cheese balsamic fig tart flambe is fig pizza at its finest. This Peter Reinhart pizza recipe was a finalist in the CMAB Pizza Contest.

Fig Pizza by the Pros for the Pros

If this is your first take on a fig pizza recipe, it won’t be your last. At the REAL California Pizza Contest—out of 12 finalist competitors, who beat out 150 total entrants—two pizzas came topped with dried figs. This included Peter’s tart flambé along with a deep dish pizza from another finalist that came dappled with dried figs rehydrated in white wine with a truffle honey drizzle. We’ve got other fig pizza ideas to kickstart inspiration for your menu and show the versatility of our premium figs.

Make sure to also tune into Peter’s podcast, Pizza Quest and pick up his seminal books, Pizza Quest (2022), Perfect Pan Pizza (2019), and American Pie (2003).
Curious to see how the REAL California Pizza Competition went? Read more about it, or check out Peter in action at the contest and go behind-the-scenes with the other competitors.

Four Cheese Balsamic Fig Tart Flambe Pizza

Four Cheese Balsamic Fig Tart Flambe Pizza

Four cheese balsamic fig tart flambe is fig pizza at its finest. This Peter Reinhart pizza recipe was a finalist in the CMAB Pizza Contest.
four cheese balsamic fig tart flambe pizza
Servings 4 11-12″ pizzas (9oz / 255g dough per pizza)


Pizza Dough

  • 36 oz / 1.02kg Pizza Dough (use your favorite recipe, or, preferably the one provided below)

Balsamic Fig Slurry

  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup Blue Ribbon Fig Slurry
  • 1 TBSP Tabasco, Texas Pete, Louisiana Gold, or other hot sauce

Cheese Sauce

  • 12 oz / 340g mascarpone cheese
  • 12 oz / 340g creme fraiche (or sour cream)
  • 8 oz / 227g Crescenza or Stracchino Cheese (may substitute Taleggio or Fior di Latte)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander seed (or ground nutmeg)
  • 2 medium sweet onions (such as Vidalia), sliced julienne-style
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 oz / 113g (2 cups) grated / shredded Smoked Scamorza or Smoked Gouda
  • 1 bunch fresh chives, finely diced (for garnish)


  • Bake the strips of bacon on a sheet pan at 350F degrees until crisp and golden, about 20-30 minutes (depending on the oven). Discard or save the bacon fat for other uses. When cooled, coarsely chop the bacon strips into 1/4” – 1/2”  crumbles and set aside.

Make Balsamic Fig Jam

  • In a sauce pan, bring the balsamic vinegar to a boil. Turn off the heat, add the fig slurry and hot sauce and whisk to incorporate into a runny jam, about the thickness of heavy cream. Set it aside to cool. It will thicken slightly as it cools but should still be easy to drizzle with a tablespoon (or use a squeeze bottle with a cut 1/2” tip).

Make Cheese Sauce

  • In a bowl, whisk together the mascarpone, creme fraiche, Crescenza / Stracchino, salt, pepper, and the ground coriander seed (or substitute nutmeg) to make an easily spreadable/pipe-able sauce. (Note: you can also use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed to beat into a smooth sauce).
  • Fill four uncut pastry bags with 6 oz. (each) of this mixture (use one bag per pizza). Fill an additional uncut pastry bag with the remaining mixture (about 8 ounces, for use as a garnish on top). Set these aside at room temperature (or, if making the day ahead, keep the filled bags refrigerated but remove them 6 hours before assembly to bring to room temperature for easy piping).


  • In a separate bowl, stir together the sliced onions with the 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper to coat the onions. Set aside.
  • Grate or shred the smoked cheese, using the large holes of a box grater or other shredder, and place in a separate bowl. Keep refrigerated until assembly. Finely dice the chives and store in in the refrigerator in a small bowl or dish covered with a wet paper towel, until assembly.
  • Three hours before assembly, remove the prepared chilled dough from the refrigerator and divide and form it into four 9 oz / 255 g dough balls. Place the dough balls on a prepared tray or in a dough box (see recipe and instructions below) and hold them at room temperature to slowly wake up and begin swelling.


  • Preheat the oven with a baking stone or baking steel (middle shelf) to 500 F.  Stretch one dough to approx. 11”-12” diameter and lay it out on a peel that has been dusted with flour, semolina, or cornmeal.  
  • Cut off the tip of one filled pastry bag to make a 1/2” opening and slowly pipe all of the cheese sauce in a bead over the surface of the stretched dough, beginning 1/2” from the outer perimeter, to form four concentric circles that end nearly, but not at the center of the dough, leaving a 1” uncovered center space. 
  • Cut off the tip of one filled pastry bag to make a 1/2” opening and slowly pipe all of the cheese sauce in a bead over the surface of the stretched dough, beginning 1/2” from the outer perimeter, to form four concentric circles that end nearly, but not at the center of the dough, leaving a 1” uncovered center space.  
  • Distribute 1/4th of the sliced onions over the surface. Cover with 1/2 cup of the shredded smoked cheese. Use a tablespoon or squeeze bottle to drizzle four streaks of fig jam in parallel lines over the surface. Distribute 1/4th of the chopped bacon over the top (or, for a vegetarian version, omit the bacon and use additional smoked cheese). 

Bake Pizza

  • Slide the pizza onto the preheated stone or steel and bake for 3 minutes. Then, rotate the pizza 180 degrees and continue baking for 2 to 4 additional minutes, or until the crust is a rich golden brown around the edge (cornicione) and underneath (under-crust), and the top turns golden brown. (Note: If the pizza doesn’t bake evenly you might have to move the stone to a lower or higher shelf, as needed for subsequent bakes). Transfer the pizza to a cutting board.
  • Use the piping bag with the extra cheese sauce, cut off the tip to make a 1/2” opening, and pipe 6 to 8 small dollops over the hot pizza, saving the remainder of the sauce for additional pizzas. Garnish with a sprinkle of diced chives. Cut the pizza into 6 or 8 slices and serve.


recipe by Peter Reinhart

photo by Alanna Taylor-Tobin

Peter Reinhart Pizza Dough

Peter Reinhart Pizza Dough Recipe

four cheese balsamic fig tart flambe pizza


  • 21 oz / 595g (4 2/3 cups) unbleached bread, or all-purpose, or 00-flour
  • .42 oz / 12g (1 1/2 teaspoons) kosher salt
  • .11 oz / 3g (1 teaspoon) instant yeast
  • 14.25 oz / 405g water (room temperature, approx. 68-72 degrees F)
  • 1 oz / 28g olive oil (optional, see notes below)


  • In a mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, stir together the flour, salt, and yeast. Add all the water and stir with a large spoon, or use the paddle attachment and mix on slow speed for 30 seconds to form a coarse, shaggy dough. Add the oil (if using). Increase the speed to medium (or continue mixing with the spoon or with wet hands) and mix for another 30 to 60 seconds to make a wet, coarse, slightly sticky dough. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes to fully hydrate.
  • If using an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook. Increase the mixer to medium-high speed (or continue mixing by hand) and mix for another 2 to 3 minutes to make a smooth dough (add more flour or water, if needed). The dough should be soft and supple, tacky but not sticky to the touch, and offer a bouncy resistance when pressed with a wet finger or slapped with a wet hand.
  • Use 1 teaspoon of olive oil to make a 15” diameter oil slick on the work surface. Rub some oil on a plastic bowl scraper and on your hands and use the scraper to transfer the dough to the oil slick. Stretch and fold (s&f) the dough to form it into a round ball. Invert your mixing bowl and use it to cover the dough, and let it rest for 2 minutes. Then, repeat the stretch and fold (you can rub additional olive oil on the work surface, if needed). Again, cover the dough, let it rest for 2 minutes, and repeat the stretch and fold. Cover with the bowl and, again, let it rest for 2 minutes. Perform one final stretch and fold to make a smooth ball of dough. The dough will have firmed up after each s&f and will now be smooth, supple, and tacky to the touch, but not sticky.
  • Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl or container, roll it around to coat the dough with oil, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for anywhere from 12 to 72 hours.
  • On the day you plan to bake, remove the dough from the refrigerator 3 hours before you plan to bake the pizzas. Immediately, divide it into the desired size pieces (typically, 9 oz or 255 g) and round them into balls, placing the dough balls on a sheet pan that has been lined with either lightly oiled baking parchment or a silicone baking mat (or use a dough box). Mist the dough balls with vegetable spray oil and cover the pan or box with plastic wrap or a lid Then, follow the recipe for the pizza.


recipe by Peter Reinhart




—You can substitute up to 25% whole grain or other flour (such as semolina, rye, heirloom, etc.) for an equal amount of white flour, but increase the water by 0.5 oz (14 g) for every 2 ounces (57 g) of whole grain flour that you swap in.
—Omit the olive oil in dough for wood-fired, high heat pizzas, such as pure Neapolitan-style. 
—You can use any brand of spray vegetable or olive oil to lightly oil the bowls and dough balls).
—Use all purpose flour or -00- Italian flour for Neapolitan-style pizza, and use unbleached bread flour for Neo-Neapolitan (or Neapolitan-ish) pizzas, whether baking in home ovens or wood-fired ovens. 
—With some brands of flour you may need to increase (or also decrease) the water amount. Always let the dough dictate how much water it needs, using the recipe as a general guideline.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and tag us @valleyfig —we’d love to see what you’re cooking on Instagram and Facebook!

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