This caramel apple dessert pizza is one of those recipes that will make your eyes light up with the first bite. It’s just so so good! With a pillowy soft and easy-to-make pizza dough, tender spiced apples, sweet oat crumble, and a drizzle of homemade caramel sauce, it’s an absolute show stopper that might make you rethink baking that apple pie.
How to make homemade pizza dough (quick and easy)
This pizza dough is ready to bake in less than 30 minutes and is SO easy to make. Ten minutes of that time is just allowing the dough to rest and rise which happens super fast using Fleischmann’s RapidRise® Yeast. It makes yeast baking SO quick and it just never fails. It’s the only yeast I ever bake with.
And to make sure you get this pizza dough recipe just right, here are a few tips to perfect it:
- Work with warm water – It is so important to use warm water when working with yeast because if it’s too cold, it won’t activate and if it’s too hot, it’ll kill it. The easiest way to grab your warm water is from the tap. Set it to warm and wait for it to get to the right temperature. It should be warmer than room temp but not too hot.
- Slowly incorporate the flour – The recipe starts by combining 1 cup of the total 2 1/4 cups of flour with the sugar, salt, and Fleischmann’s RapidRise® Yeast. Then, mix in the water and oil. At this point, the dough will be VERY wet. Incorporate one more cup of flour and your dough should turn shaggy and somewhat sticky. The remainder of the flour will be worked in during the kneading process.
- Kneading the dough – At this point, your dough should look like the first photo below. AKA a shaggy mess. Turn it out onto a floured surface and dust with more flour which you can grab from a 1/4 cup on standby. Form into a loose ball and press your palm into the center, pushing the dough away from you. Fold it in half, pulling towards you and repeat. Do so for about a minute until you’re able to form a smooth ball. Dust with flour as you go to prevent it from sticking to you and your bench.
- Allow the dough to rest – Leave the dough in a ball on your work surface for about 10 minutes. It should puff up a bit but will not double in size. Resting allows the gluten to relax so that when you go to shape the pizza, the dough doesn’t resist and spring back.
How to shape pizza dough
Once the dough has rested, it’s time to press it into a pizza pie. Do so on a sheet of parchment paper lightly dusted with flour. This prevents the dough from sticking and also makes it easier to slice later on.
If you can, use a pizza pan with holes on the bottom. This gives you a golden crust that’s baked all the way through. If you don’t have one, your pizza will have to bake for a few extra minutes.
Place the dough into the center of the parchment paper. Press it down with your fingers while also spreading it out to the edges. This will be easy at first, but become a little bit more difficult as the dough stretches. If it’s really giving you a hard time, leave it alone for a couple minutes then come back to it.
Once shaped, you should have a 12-13 inch round that is thinner in the center and thicker on the edges. Careful not to make it too thick, otherwise the center won’t bake through.
Prepping the apples
While you make your pizza dough, your apples will be off to the side in a bowl of sugar and lemon juice. This is a process called macerating where the sugar draws out the apple juices, preventing the pizza from getting too soggy when baked. The lemon juice is used to prevent browning.
So, it’s important to prep the apples BEFORE making the dough. Peel and thinly slice 3 Granny Smith apples. They should be fairly thin, but not paper thin – about 1/8-1/16 inch thickness.
Place them into a colander resting inside a bowl. Toss in sugar and lemon juice and allow them to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. By the end, there should be a small pool of juices at the bottom of the bowl.
During the 10 minute rest period for the pizza dough, make the apple filling. This consists of butter, flour, apple cider, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and spices.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and let it cook for about a minute, continuing to whisk. Pour in the apple cider and quickly whisk it in – the mixture should turn into an apple sauce consistency. Lastly, pour in the sugars and spices and REALLY whisk it. It’ll be a little clumpy but keep whisking and you should reach a thick caramel consistency.
Pour the filling over the apples and toss to coat. Arrange the apple slices as seen in the picture above. You may be left with a few extra slices leftover so there’s no need to use every last bit of the apples.
EASY caramel sauce for dessert pizza
This is the ONLY caramel recipe I ever use. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it never fails. As long as you follow these tips yours will turn out perfect every time:
- Patience – Start by melting sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. It will take about 10 minutes or so, but you want the sugar to completely melt down and darken. Not much will happen at first, so you only need to whisk every so often in the beginning. But as the sugar melts down, you’ll need to whisk continuously until it’s ready. It’ll go from really clumpy and dry to smooth and golden in a matter of minutes.
- Room temperature butter – Once the sugar is melted, it’s time to whisk in the butter off the heat. Make sure your butter is room temperature and cut into small cubes. Otherwise, your caramel will seize up and you’ll have to start all over again.
- Warm heavy cream – When the butter is just about mixed in, whisk in the heavy cream. Same instructions apply as the butter, make sure the heavy cream is a little warm so that it blends seamlessly into the hot caramel.
- Let it cool – Immediately pour the caramel into a glass container and place it in the fridge. It will be very thin at this point, but allowing it to cool will thicken it up just enough to be the perfect drizzle consistency.
There you have it! It’s such a versatile caramel recipe that I’ve used in SO many desserts. It starts out thin, but the longer you chill it the thicker it gets. The thin caramel is perfect for soaking into cakes (or drizzling on dessert pizza) and the thicker consistency is great for adding caramel drips or a thick caramel coating on top of a dessert – like my salted caramel cheesecake.
Perfectly baked apple dessert pizza
When your pizza dough is shaped, apples are layered on top, and the oat crumble is sprinkled all over, it’s time to bake!
Because we’re working with pizza dough, this pizza bakes at a high temperature of 425F. This ensures the center bakes through, while also completely baking the apples and crumble on top – leaving you with perfectly tender apples and a soft and light pizza crust.
Like I mentioned earlier, a pizza pan with holes on the bottom is ideal for this recipe but it will not make or break it.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until the edges are golden brown and puffed up. The very tips of a few of the apples around the edges might darken but that’s perfectly fine.
By this time, the caramel sauce should be the perfect consistency since it’s been chilling in the fridge. Allow the pizza to cool for about 10 minutes (just like regular pizza) then drizzle and slice!
How to cut dessert pizza
Because there’s a lot going on with the toppings, it’s best to slice the pizza with a large knife rather than a pizza cutter. This keeps all the apples in place so each slice has an equal amount of toppings.
How long does dessert pizza keep?
It’s very similar to regular pizza as it’s best when served FRESH. It’s warm, soft, and the caramel on top is glossy and smooth.
If you have leftovers, it’s kind of like having leftover pizza. It will still be good, if you’re into day old pizza (and I am so down with cold pizza).
Store in a container in the fridge and reheat in the oven. Bake at 350F for about 5-10 minutes until warm. Bake on a baking sheet lined with foil for the best results.
For more apple dessert recipes, check out my:
- Deep Dish Apple Pie
- Apple Cinnamon Bread
- Gluten Free Apple Sandwich Cookies
- Caramel Apple Muffins
- Vegan & Gluten Free Apple Crisp
Make sure to tag me @butternutbakery on Instagram and comment below if you make this Caramel Apple Dessert Pizza. To pin this recipe and save it for later, you can use the button on the recipe card, the buttons above or below this post, or on any of the photos above. Happy baking!Print