2010 March: Perfect Pies

In one of my pizza cookbooks, The Ultimate Pizza, I devoted an entire chapter to dessert pizzas: six delicious ideas for sweet pizzas. Where does a sweet pizza fit into the scheme of a restaurant? Good question. I have seen it work quite well on a lunch or dinner buffet arrangement. Also, after a meal of, say, spaghetti and meatballs or some other pasta or chicken dish, the idea of a sweet pizza can be very appealing. Here is one of my favorite sweet pizzas: apple pie pizza. The three components –– streusel, apples, jam –– can be prepped ahead. To order, the pizza is finished off.

 

 


(Apple Pie Pizza)

Yield: one 14-inch pizza (scale up in direct proportion)

Streusel Topping
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup packed light brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits

In a small mixing bowl, combine the fl our, brown sugar, cinnamon, and granulated sugar. Mix the butter in with your fingertips or pastry cutter to form small crumbles. You will have 1½ cups of streusel. Set aside or chill for 15-20 minutes.

The Rest
3-4 Granny Smith apples (about 2½ pounds), peeled, cored, and cut into ¼-inch slices
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons apricot jam or preserves
1 14-inch pizza shell

In a mixing bowl, toss the apples with the lemon juice. In a sauté pan set over high heat, melt the butter until it just begins to froth. Add the apple slices and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes. Add the brown sugar and cinnamon and cook for 2 minutes more or until the apples are barely tender. Transfer the apples to a bowl and let cool for 10 minutes. (Can be prepped ahead and kept to order).

In a small saucepan, cook the apricot jam until it liquefies. Set aside.

Brush the entire crust, including the edge with the apricot jam. Spread the reserved apples evenly over the crust. Sprinkle the streusel over the apples. Bake the pizza. Let it sit for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Options: 
Sprinkle ½ cup chopped walnuts over the streusel. 
Sprinkle ½ cup grated cheddar cheese over the streusel before baking

Other sweet pizza ideas include Banana and PB pizza (banana and peanut butter), Sweet Ricotta Pie with Espresso Syrup, Peaches ‘n’ Cream Pizza, and Cream Cheese and Pineapple pizza. The recipes for these can be found in my cookbook, The Ultimate Pizza, which is available through Amazon. com.

Pat Bruno is Pizza Today’s resident chef and a regular contributor. He is the former owner and operator of a prominent Italian cooking school in Chicago and is a food critic for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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