Croque Madame Pretzel Pizzas

If the title didn't grab you, I don't know what will. This is definitely the best thing I've made/eaten since the last best thing I've made/eaten.

But before I talk about all that, I want to talk about Bechemel. It's a life changing sauce. It's in the top 3 of my list of Life Changing Sauces, which are as follows (in specific order):

1. Vodka Sauce

2. Panang Curry Sauce

3. Bechemel Sauce

I promise you a treatise on all three, but for this post, I am focusing on Bechemel. I've made so much of it lately. SO much. I have been making it twice a week for the past month. Mostly for clients — recipe testing, photo shoots and videos.

This was the first, a stop motion of a Croque Madame:

I saw how easy Bechemel was to make and also how easy to adjust, add cheese, like feta or parmesan, for different flavor.

It was around this time that I was also making a lot of pretzels. I watched Alton's Brown's video on pretzel making about a dozen times. I recommend watching it.

I modified his recipe with my own, using my sour dough starter, yielding what I thought was the best pretzel ever.

But I wasn't yet satisfied. And then it came to me. What beautiful food combines both creamy goodness and wonderful carbohydrate?? 


And so, I wanted to make a Croque Madame Pretzel Pizza. I have unofficially dubbed it the Croque Signora as my nod to some kind of Franco-Italian mash-up of delicious flavors.

So in the spirit of international unity, let's all make Croque Signore for EASTER! Yes, it's perfect for brunch.

Here's how you do it. Don't be daunted — PUSH ON! It's worth it.

Recipe for Croque Signore Pizzas

Makes 4


For the dough (active dry yeast recipe):

  • 340 grams water
  • 623 grams flour (type 00 is best)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 oz butter, melted
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast

For the dough (sourdough starter recipe):

  • 240 grams water
  • 523 grams flour (type 00 is best)
  • 200 grams active sourdough starter
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 oz butter, melted
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast

For the toppings:

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • ⅔ cup whole milk
  • 1 cup gruyere cheese, grated
  • 4 pieces prosciutto
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • Chopped, fresh parsley for garnish
  • Optional: 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tbsp water and coarse salt as a finish for the pizza dough.

Instructions (for both!):

For the dough:

  1. Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. If using a sourdough starter, add that in as well.
  2. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with olive oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
  4. After this time, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 4 equal pieces.
  5. Roll out each piece into a small ball. Cover and allow to rest for 20-30 minutes.
  6. Bring the 10 cups of water and 2/3 cups baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.
  7. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper and heat your oven to 425°F.
  8. Stretch the balls of dough into 6" circles, like you are making mini-pizzas.
  9. Place the pizzas into the boiling water, one at a time, for 30 seconds.
  10. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula and place them on the prepared baking sheet.
  11. Whisk an egg yolk with 1 tbsp water. 
  12. Brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with pretzel salt.
Boiling the dough is messy, but totally worthwhile.

Boiling the dough is messy, but totally worthwhile.

For the Bechemel Sauce:

  1. Melt the butter in a small pot over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk until it is completely combined and forms a paste.
  2. Add the milk and whisk until smooth and thickened (the sauce should coat the back of a spoon).
  3. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and freshly ground nutmeg. Set aside.

To Assemble the Pizzas:

  1. Place about ¼ cup grated gruyere cheese on top of each pizza dough round.
  2. Place one piece of prosciutto on top of the cheese.
  3. Spoon the Bechamel sauce over the prosciutto.
  4. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbling.
  5. Remove from the oven and set aside.


While the pizzas are baking, fry some eggs!

  1. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp Colavita Olive Oil to the hot pan.
  2. Crack an egg into the pan and cook until desired level of doneness is achieved. I like my yolks a little runny.
  3. Remove to a plate and repeat with the rest of the eggs.
  4. Place each cooked egg on top of one of the pizzas.
  5. Drizzle with a little Olive Oil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper and chopped, fresh parsley.
  6. Serve immediately.