The idea of sweet pizzas is finally taking hold. I devoted an entire chapter to sweet and dessert pizzas in my “Ultimate Pizza” Cookbook, which came out in 1995, so maybe I was a bit ahead of my time.
A sweet or dessert pizza is ideal as part of a buffet or as a freebie, an incentive for ordering x amount of food. But it’s also a good $4 option to have on the menu for those who want to finish their takeout or delivery meal with dessert. Let’s check out a delicious recipe.
Cinnamon Swirl Pizza
There is no need to make a special dough for this pizza; you can use the dough you now use for your regular (thin-crust is best here) pizza.
Yield: one 12-inch pizza (Scale up in direct proportion)
16 ounces pizza dough
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
½ cup sugar
2 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
Cut the dough into four pieces, each about 4 ounces. Roll each of these pieces into a thick rope that is about 18 inches long.
Lightly oil (use corn oil or other vegetable oil) a 12-inch pizza pan. Lay each of the pieces of dough onto the pan, coiling them as you would do for a coil of rope. Gently press the coils together. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and give it another 45 minutes to an hour to rise.
Brush the melted butter over the dough coils. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and the cinnamon. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the dough. Bake the pizza at a low temperature (350-375 F) for about 12-15 minutes.
To make cinnamon strips, use the same recipe, but instead of forming the dough into coils, roll the 1 pound of dough into a large rectangle. Proceed as for the pizza by brushing the dough with the melted butter, followed by the cinnamon- sugar mixture. Slice the dough into long strips. Place the strips on a lightly greased baking pan and bake. Stack the sticks into a bowl with the icing sauce on the side (kids, especially, will enjoy this).
To add some extra flavor oomph to the cinnamon-swirl pizza, try sprinkling crushed walnuts over the dough after brushing it with butter and sprinkling on the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Or you can make an icing to drizzle over the cinnamon swirl pizza (let the pizza cool just a bit before drizzling on the icing.)
Or use the icing as a dipping sauce for the cinnamon sticks (serve it on the side in a cup).
1/3 cup unsalted butter
2 cups powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 tablespoons water
In a small sauce pan set over low heat, melt the butter. Stir in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Add the water, one tablespoon at a time. While adding the water, stir until you get the icing to the consistency of a thick syrup. Drizzle the icing decoratively over the slightly cooled pizza.
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.