Pizza for breakfast: Eggs and bacon make this pie brunch-worthy

JOE KELLER/America's Test Kitchen via APBreakfast pizza is basically a twist on the classic morning meal of eggs, bacon and toast, in portable form with plenty of cheese to tie it all together.

Although it sounds like a bad Saturday morning commercial — Pizza?! For breakfast?!! — it turns out that breakfast pizza is just a creative version of the classic bread-eggs-cheese-meat combo.

It makes an ideal dish for a brunch crowd and isn’t difficult if you start with store-bought pizza dough. Our challenge was getting a crisp crust without overcooking the eggs. To get there, we pressed room-temperature dough into a lightly oiled baking sheet and par-baked it for five minutes to give the crust a head start before we added the toppings. The remaining minutes in the oven cooked the eggs just right.

The surprising addition of cottage cheese tethered all the ingredients together with a silky creaminess. Room-temperature dough is much easier to shape than cold, so pull the dough from the fridge about one hour before you start cooking.

BREAKFAST PIZZA

Start to finish: 1 hour

Servings: 6

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

6 slices bacon

8 ounces (2 cups) mozzarella cheese, shredded

1 ounce (1/2 cup) Parmesan cheese, grated

4 ounces (1/2 cup) small-curd cottage cheese

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

Salt and pepper

Pinch cayenne pepper

1 pound store-bought pizza dough, room temperature

6 large eggs

2 scallions, sliced thin

2 tablespoons minced fresh chives

Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position, and heat the oven to 500 degrees. Grease a rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon oil.

Cook the bacon in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat until crisp, 7-9 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; when cool enough to handle, crumble bacon.

Combine the mozzarella and Parmesan in a bowl; set aside. Combine the cottage cheese, oregano, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, cayenne and 1 tablespoon oil in a separate bowl; set aside.

Sprinkle counter lightly with flour. Roll the dough into a 15-inch-by-11-inch rectangle with a rolling pin, pulling on corners to help make a distinct rectangle. Transfer dough to prepared sheet, and press to edges of sheet. Brush edges of dough with remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Bake dough until top appears dry and bottom is just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.

Remove crust from oven, and, using a spatula, press down on any air bubbles. Spread cottage cheese mixture evenly over top, leaving a 1-inch border around the edges. Sprinkle bacon evenly over cottage cheese mixture.

Sprinkle mozzarella mixture evenly over pizza, leaving 1/2-inch border. Create 2 rows of 3 evenly spaced small wells in cheese, each about 3 inches in diameter (6 wells total). Crack 1 egg into each well, then season each egg with salt and pepper.

Return pizza to oven, and bake until crust is light golden around edges and eggs are just set, 9-10 minutes for slightly runny yolks or 11-12 minutes for soft-cooked yolks, rotating sheet halfway through baking.

Transfer pan to a wire rack, and let pizza cool for 5 minutes. Transfer pizza to a cutting board. Sprinkle with scallions and chives, and drizzle with extra oil. Slice and serve.

Nutrition information per serving: 492 calories; 250 calories from fat; 28 g fat (10 g saturated, 0 g trans fats); 248 mg cholesterol; 1190 mg sodium; 36 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 1 g sugar; 26 g protein.

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