Jalapeño Popper Stuffed Crust Pizza
We took jalapeño poppers — breaded or bacon-wrapped jalapeño peppers stuffed with cream cheese — and baked them right into a pizza crust. Our riff on this beloved party snack is full of dairy and light on the bacon for maximum cheese pull and minimal bacon fat leakage.
There are many approaches to jalapeño poppers and stuffed crusts. After plenty of *ahem* “research,” we’ve found the most effective is to bake jalapeño poppers and then cut them up and combine them with mozzarella, cream cheese and heavy cream to create a spreadable mixture (shredded mozz gives you that picture perfect string cheese effect).
There are a few extra steps to building a pizza with a jalapeño popper stuffed crust, which we outline below. But here’s the headline: Your dough ball needs to be bigger than normal. We know this sounds like a duh! moment, but trust us — it’s an oft-forgotten step in the process.
We launched our pizza into the oven from a peel, but if you’re a somewhat-more-hesitant pizzaiolo, you can use a screen or cook this pizza on a steel in your conventional oven, so that you don’t risk any rippage.
Filling for 2 stuffed crust 12” pizzas
2 x 270 gram dough balls
1 cup (220 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup (20 grams) chives, finely chopped
3 ½ teaspoons (10 grams) kosher salt
4 teaspoons (10 grams) ground black pepper
2 tablespoons (30 grams) heavy cream
½ cup (60 grams) shredded mozzarella
This recipe suits a variety of pizza styles, but we think our classic pizza dough works especially well. Remember — prepare your dough ahead of time to make sure it rises at room temperature before firing up your oven.
We recommend making the dough balls for this recipe about 15 grams bigger than the ones you’d use for a standard 12-inch pizza: 265 to 270-gram balls will give you a little extra stretch, which you’ll need to properly stuff the crust without making the middle of the pizza too thin.
When you’re ready, preheat your Ooni oven to 600°F (315°C). If you’re using a conventional oven, preheat it to 425°F (218°C).
Put your cream cheese, chopped chives, salt, and pepper into a mixing bowl, and stir until combined. Then, slice the jalapeño peppers in half lengthwise and devein them, removing the seeds.
Spoon the filling into the jalapeño halves, keeping any remaining cream cheese for later, then transfer the newly stuffed peppers to a baking sheet, cast iron skillet, Sizzler or Grizzler pan. Roast in the oven until the peppers are blistered and the cheese is melty (about 10 to 12 minutes in an Ooni; about 20 minutes in a conventional oven).
Once cool, chop the stuffed pepper halves into bite-sized pieces, then fold into leftover cream cheese. Add the heavy cream and mozzarella, then stir to combine.
Increase the heat of your Ooni oven, aiming for 750°F to 800°F (400°C to 426°C) on the stone baking board inside. Use an infrared thermometer to quickly and accurately check the temperature of the stone.
Place a dough ball on your lightly floured work surface. Push the air from the center out to the edge with your fingers. Stretch the dough out to a 14-inch-round base, then lay the stretched dough over your lightly floured table.
Using a spoon, begin adding the jalapeño popper mixture to the outer rim of the dough, leaving a ¾-inch strip of bare dough on the very edge. Distribute the mixture as evenly as you can, aiming for a ½-inch-thick line of filling all the way around the inside edge of the pizza base. .
Begin folding, tucking and pinching the dough to seal in the filling, working your way steadily around the edge of your jalapeño popper pizza. Try to eliminate as much air as possible, and make sure you really seal the dough (this will help you avoid big bubbles or pops during the bake).
Slide your stuffed crust dough carefully onto a lightly floured pizza peel. If the dough sticks, add extra flour to help it slide onto the peel. Top the center of the pizza with tomato sauce, then shredded mozzarella (and any other toppings you like).
Slide the pizza into the oven. Cook for 75 seconds to 2 minutes, turning the pizza regularly to ensure an even bake. This pizza will need more time than your standard Neapolitan — give it an extra 30 seconds to cook the crust and ensure the jalapeño filling melts.
Remove from the oven and let cool briefly, then slice, serve and enjoy. We won’t tell anyone if your first bite is a crust bite.