Do you remember starting elementary school each year after summer vacation? Wasn't it so scary and exciting at the same time? I remember being so nervous/excited and hoping that it would be fun and that I'd be able to get on/off the bus at the right place. I worried about whether my teacher would be nice and if I'd still be able to see my best friend who was in a different class. I'd wonder if I'd forget everything that I had learned the year before and if they'd send me back to the previous grade if I did. Or if my desk would be close to that weirdo boy who kinda smelled weird.
Probably the one thing that I did not worry about was what I was going to bring for lunch. That's because for the entire time I was in elementary school (and into junior high for a while, and again during the wonderful poor years of graduate school) I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Every day. It was like a good friend that I never got tired of. I mean, if things got boring you could always switch from raspberry jelly to strawberry, right? Or try to convince your mom to buy the soft white bread that seemed so much better than that whole grain stuff she kept getting. Peanut butter and jelly was the only thing I ever wanted to eat, and the only thing I ever ate.
I've since learned that other foods besides peanut butter and jelly taste pretty darn good for lunch, too, but there's still something about eating those flavors together that remains one of my favorites. The salty/sweet combination is just classic. In honor, then of back to school and the wonderful memories that this time of year brings back to my mind, I thought I'd do an entire week of peanut butter and jelly recipes, starting with this PB&J pizza.
My sister and I first discovered this pizza when we were living together while she was studying cosmetology and I was in grad school (I think I benefited from this arrangement way more than she did. She could give me haircuts, but I could only share nerdy stories about plant DNA with her in return.) I think we heard a PB&J pizza mentioned in passing on some TV show and in less than an hour we were already giving it a try. The first few attempts were trial and error as we figured out whether to cook the crust first, (yes) to bake it with the peanut better and jelly already on there (we preferred not to) and how much to top it with. By the end of our trials, though, we had come up with a pizza that became a frequent dinner option around our apartment. It was easy to make and there was something about the flavor combination that was so comforting. And, if any of you have ever had a toasted peanut butter and jelly sandwich, you can attest that the flavor of melted peanut butter and jelly is somehow even better than regular PB&J. Our original version was a mess of peanut butter and jelly mixed all over the dough, but pictures that I saw from a restaurant at Disneyland gave me the idea to spread the jelly with a squeeze bottle for a much neater presentation. No matter how you slice it, though, it's a fun way to enjoy the great tastes of peanut butter and jelly and perhaps relive a bit of your childhood, too.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Pizza
Pizza dough, enough for a 12" crust
1/3-1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup jam (seedless raspberry works well in a squirt bottle)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll pizza dough into a circle 12" in diameter. Using a fork, pierce the dough thoroughly to prevent large bubbles when baking. Bake on a pizza stone or round pizza sheet for 10-12 minutes or until the crust is cooked and the top is turning golden brown.
2. While the pizza is baking, warm the peanut butter in a microwave for a minute or until it is warm and melted. Warm the jam in a microwave until it is melted and transfer the melted jam to a clean squeeze bottle with a small tip.
3. Once the crust is baked, remove it from the oven and immediately spread the peanut butter over the top of the crust. You don't have to use the entire amount, so spread according to your tastes. Using the squeeze bottle, spread circles of raspberry jam onto the peanut butter, and then use a knife to make designs in the PB&J by dragging it from the center of the pizza out to the edge. Cut the pizza and serve.
Makes: 1 pizza, which serves 4-6.