Forno Bravo Community Cookbook

Strawberry & Rhubarb Cobbler

Early spring means strawberries and rhubarb! No better reason to break out the cast iron and build the perfect cobbler to cap off a perfect night of pizza. Rhubarb adds a wonderful tartness to any dish but it is typically prized in desserts to balance the sweetness of other fruits, thus creating a desired sweet and sour effect. Shout out to my grandma on this one; she loved rhubarb. Hope you enjoy it as much as she did.

Cobbler Fruit

3 cups strawberries, sliced into quarters
2 cups rhubarb, peeled, sliced into 1-inch blocks
2 tablespoons corn starch
1-2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 lime, juice and zest

In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients and toss gently so that the fruit is evenly coated with the cornstarch and sugar is mixed throughout. Place in a buttered cast iron dish or similar high-heat baking dish. Evenly spread the cobbler dough over the top and place in the your Forno Bravo oven. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until the cobbler dough is golden brown and the fruit juices are bubbling.

Adding cornstarch to the fruit mixture will thicken the fruit juices. You can substitute flour for the cornstarch if desired; just ensure the cooking time is over 30 minutes allowing the flour to “cook” though so you do not have a grainy finish.

Cobbler dough

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup butter, chilled, unsalted
1 ½ cup heavy cream

In a mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to bowl. Using your hands or a fork “cut in” the butter until the butter is broken up to smaller pea size pieces. Add the cream and mix into all the ingredients are combines. Batter will be stick and small lumps are okay.

Until next week, feast well.
Chef Bart

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Happy Thanksgiving …. S’more Pizza

Happy Thanksgiving, best wishes to you, your family and friends this holiday season. So much to be thankful for this year, as it is for most, family tops my list. New to my list this year is my amazing Forno Bravo oven. The simplest of gestures of hosting a pizza night for family and friends has become a wonderful reminder of how fulfilling it is to gather around the table and enjoy great food, good drink and delightful conversation. This past weekend we cooked up a storm of amazing pizzas and just when we where sitting back thinking we couldn’t eat one more bite (training for our turkey feast) my fourteen year old daughter, Sabrina, stood up and went to work on her pizza contribution for the evening.

While I am sure we are not the inventors of the chaotic and captivating collision between classic Italian pizza and that American sugar bomb known as the S’more it certainly brought laughter and amazement as we indulged in another slice. It was the perfect crowning moment for the night.

1 each pizza dough, your favorite of course
2 each Hersey chocolate candy bars, broken into pieces
8 large marshmallows, cut into thirds
2 gram crackers, crushed into small bits and crumbs

Form your dough, evenly spread the chocolate and marshmallows over the dough and place in your oven. Bake until done … 90 seconds, the marshmallows should caramelize and expand just like when you toast them over your campfire. Remove from oven and scatter the gram cracker bits over the top. I normally end my recipes with a “Feast Well” sign off but somehow I think we all will today with our turkey day feast. Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving – Chef Bart

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Pizza du Vully

This recipe is based on a famous pie from the lake region of Switzerland called Vully.
It consists of a sweet dough topped with cream, sugar and butter.

It is an ideal finish to a pizza night and can be served with a sweet desert white wine.

Ingredients are:

Flour, milk, egg yolk, melted butter, yeast.

Cream, caster sugar and butter.

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Roasted Stone Fruit With Oat Streusel



I can’t speak for the rest of the country, but this summer of 2013 is an amazing season for fruit. It started with the strawberries and cherries in the early part of the season, and it has continued on with the myriad varieties of stone fruit now available from local farmers. White and yellow peaches, apricots, nectarines, plums – they’re all unbelievably sweet and juicy. Use this recipe to take advantage of the bounty. (Plus, it’s really easy to remember, so you can break it out any time at a moment’s notice!)

100 g all-purpose flour
100 g rolled oats
100 g brown sugar
zest of 2 lemons
1/2 tsp salt
100 g butter, cubed
3 lbs various stone fruit – I used all of the above
1/2 C sugar, or to taste
your favorite vanilla ice cream

Combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, zest and salt in the bowl of a mixer. Mix well. Using the paddle attachment, cut in the butter until the mixture forms pea-sized chunks. Cover and refrigerate.

Meanwhile, halve the stone fruit and remove their pits. Place them in a wood-oven-safe baking dish. Sprinkle with the sugar to taste – if your fruit is super-delicious you may not need any; if it’s a little under-ripe you may need a bit more. Crumble the streusel topping over the fruit.

Cover with foil and bake in your wood oven for 10-15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until the streusel is browned and the fruit is soft. Remove from the oven, allow to cool slightly to avoid scorched tongues, and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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Wood-Oven S’mores

Summer’s here, school’s out, and the weather’s fine. What better way to celebrate than with a little outdoor dessert-making session? Pretty much everybody knows how to make a s’more, but my one personal complaint about them is that the chocolate never melts. Here I’ve come up with a work-around, replacing the traditional chocolate bar with a rich fudge sauce that I think moves the s’more to an even higher plateau of deliciousness.



4 oz butter
2 C cream
3/4 C brown sugar
3/4 C sugar
1 1/4 C cocoa powder
1 bag of your favorite marshmallows
1 box of your favorite graham crackers
Some sticks, whittled to a point on one end

To make the fudge sauce, combine the butter, cream, brown sugar and sugar in a medium-sized sauce pot. Place in your wood-fired oven (not too hot!) or over a medium-low flame on your stovetop and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. When the butter is melted and the sugar has dissolved completely, remove from the heat. Place the cocoa powder in a heat-proof bowl and add the cream mixture slowly, whisking vigorously. To avoid lumps, first add only enough liquid to create a stiff paste, then whisk in the remaining cream.

If you make your fudge sauce ahead and then refrigerate it before use, you’ll end up with a thick, spreadable concoction with a consistency similar to nutella – which, come to think of it, you could easily substitute here. If you use it right away it will be a bit runnier and hence a bit messier, but just as delicious, and possibly even a bit more fun for the kids. Just be sure to hose them off before you let them back in the house.

I think you know the rest, but just to be sure: Skewer a couple marshmallows on your sticks and toast in the oven to your personal desired doneness. Spread/drizzle one square of graham cracker with your fudge sauce, add your toasted marshmallow, and top with another square of graham cracker. Devour, wipe off your sticky hands and face, repeat.

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Cherry Clafoutis

This is a recipe I adapted from the inimitable Julia Child. I honestly don’t know why people don’t make or serve clafoutis more often – it’s one of the easiest desserts imaginable, you can make one with pretty much any fruit you’d care to, and it’s absolutely delicious. Maybe it’s the scary-looking French name. Call it a deep-dish crepe for all I care, just make one for your next dinner party and wow your guests. I used frozen cherries here because it is February in Chicago, but if they’re in season feel free to go for fresh. (I’m also a big fan of peach clafoutis.)


1/3 C plus 1/4 C sugar
1 1/4 C half and half
3 eggs
1 T plus 1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
butter for greasing your baking dish
16 oz frozen pitted cherries
vanilla ice cream or whipped cream to garnish

Place the 1/3 cup of sugar, the half and half, eggs, vanilla, salt, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg in the carafe of a blender. Blend until combined and smooth – it shouldn’t take any more than 15 seconds. Allow the batter to sit for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, butter an oven-safe round glass pie plate. Once the batter has rested, pour a small amount into the bottom of your baking dish so that it is covered by a quarter-inch. Place on a rack in your medium-hot wood oven – you want an air temp around 400F. Allow to bake for 4-5 minutes, until the batter has set.

Spread the cherries evenly over the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup sugar over the cherries, then pour in the remaining batter.

Return to your oven and bake for 30-45 minutes, depending on the temperature of your oven. The clafoutis is done when it’s golden brown and set – a paring knife should come out clean when inserted into the middle.

Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes, then slice like a pie and serve with a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream. And one last thing – I thought better of it. Please don’t call it a deep-dish crepe. Embrace your inner Francophile. Say it with me: Cla-foo-TEE.

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Brick Oven Figs, Honey and Greek Yogurt

Like brick ovens, olive oil, grapes and wine, figs have been a part of our culinary history for thousands of years.

This dish uses the top and bottom heat of a brick oven to heat the figs, brown the top of the dish into a nice glaze, and make a nice natural sauce.

One pound of ripe figs (about 4-6 per person)
4 TBS of honey
One container of Greek yogurt

Cut the figs in half and arrange in a terra cotta pan with the cut side up.

Drizzle the honey over the figs.

Using heat retained in your brick oven, bake the figs uncovered until they are heated through, and the tops are brown and glazed. This only takes a few minutes, so bake the figs right before you serve them. It should only take a few minutes in a moderately hot oven.

Drizzle the Greek yogurt over the hot figs and put the baking dish directly on the table.

Finally — a great brick oven dessert recipe. La dolce vita.



You can replace the Greek yogurt with natural yogurt, creme fraiche, or mascarpone.

I’ve never tried it, but a drizzle of liquor might be nice.


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Chocolate and Strawberry Pizza

Chocolate and strawberry pizza is the perfect end to a pizza dinner!


  • Your preferred pizza dough
  • 1/2 lb chocolate bar (your preference, try semi bitter), grated
  • 1/2 – 1 lb strawberries, cleaned and chopped


Fire your oven until it reaches pizza heat.

Shape your pizza dough as usual (in this case, you could use the rolling pin, if you like).

Sprinkle grated chocolate all over the shaped dough, and then add the strawberries.

Cook until the pizza rim is browned and the chocolate melted—about 2 minutes.

Eat too many slices!


Blend the chocolate with 2 Tbs of milk or cream to soften the topping and give it a milder taste.

Blend the chocolate with 2 Tbs of condensed milk to make a sweeter, heavier topping.


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Dessert Pizza with Mascarpone

Make your dough as you would regular pizza dough, and then shape into four dough balls.

Shape each ball into 6’-7’ rounds, leaving finger impressions. Keep them thick, like a fat little Focaccia.

Cover with olive oil, and then top with 6-8 dollops of Mascarpone. You don’t have to spread them out. Top that with 2 Tbs of pine nuts.

Bake in an oven that has fallen from high pizza heat to around 600ºF, with a live fire.

Quarter or halve the pizza, then top with crème fraiche and powdered sugar. Then top with fresh fruit.

It’s almost like a bread pudding below the fruit and cream. The fruit isn’t cooked, and stays fresh.



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