Welsh Rarebit Pizza
Welsh Rarebit, or Welsh Rabbit, (the names are used interchangeably) is a regional dish in the UK, which has strong associations with — you guessed it — Wales. “Welsh Rabbit” first appears in Hannah Glasse’s 1747 book, “The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy.” Theories around the name “rabbit” range widely: It may allude to the low cost of making the dish, and perhaps it was meant to act as a meat substitute for those who couldn’t afford any. The name “rarebit” is equally ambiguous, but perhaps evolved from a need to confirm the lack of meat in the dish. Today, it maintains a strong presence in Wales thanks to its status as a traditional dish. (It even boasts its own national day on September 3rd.)
The comforting dish blends cheese — (cheddar, most commonly, but any mature hard cheese or creamier, local one like Caerphilly will do — Worcestershire sauce, and mustard made into a simple roux (equal parts fat and flour cooked together and used to thicken a sauce).
Traditionally, the cheese sauce is spread over thick toast and grilled until golden and bubbling. It’s sometimes served with laverbread (or as some call it “Welshman’s caviar”), an edible seaweed typically from Wales’ southern coast; it’s dark, salty, and cuts through the rich cheese sauce nicely. Other popular accompaniments include nduja, bacon, leeks, and ham hocks.
For this reinterpretation, we’ve taken the creamy cheese sauce and slathered it over pizza crust. Topped with extra cheese and fresh ground black pepper, it’s cooked just like any cheese pizza and served hot. Its simplicity lends itself to experimentation: Adjust the Worcestershire sauce to your liking, try a blend of hard cheeses, or even opt for the local Welshman’s Caviar (if you can get ahold of some).
30 minutes total time
Makes one 12” pizza
250-gram pizza dough ball
1 ½ tablespoons (20 grams) salted butter, melted
1 tablespoon (15 grams) all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons (90 grams) wheat beer or pale ale
6 ounces (175 grams) cheddar, grated (plus extra for topping)
½ to 1 cup (120 to 240 milliliters) skim milk (semi-skimmed milk), to loosen the sauce
1 tablespoon (17 grams) Worcestershire sauce
½ tablespoon (15 grams) Dijon mustard
black pepper, freshly ground
This recipe would suit a variety of pizza styles, but we think our classic pizza dough or sourdough would be a great fit. Make sure to prepare your dough ahead of time to ensure it rises at room temperature before heating your oven.
Fire up your oven, aiming for 850 to 950°F (450 to 500°C) on the baking stone inside. Use an infrared thermometer to quickly and accurately check the temperature of the stone.
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and mix with a wooden spoon or spatula over medium heat to form a paste, stirring to prevent sticking. Continue cooking for at least 2 minutes to cook out the raw flour.
Add the beer a little at a time, stirring continuously until a thick sauce forms. Add the cheese and stir to thoroughly combine it in the sauce. The melted cheese will thicken the sauce even more, so add a splash of milk or extra beer to loosen the mix until it is spreadable.
Add the Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and black pepper. Stir to incorporate, then remove from the heat.
Place the dough ball on a lightly floured work surface. Push the air from the center out to the edge with your fingers. Stretch the dough out to a 12-inch-round base, then lay the stretched dough over your lightly floured pizza peel. Spoon cheese sauce evenly over the base. Finish with a handful of extra cheddar cheese over the top.
Slide the pizza off the peel and into the oven. Cook for 60 to 90 seconds, turning the pizza regularly to ensure an even bake.
Remove the cooked pizza and slice into 8 slices. Garnish with a crack of freshly ground black pepper if you like, then enjoy right away for maximum cheesy effect.