Written Recipes
Teresa's Dessert Pizza
Teresa Greenway

Lately I have been thinking a lot about  some ways to enjoy dessert pizzas that you could get excited about and have your family and friends talking about too.

I thought maybe a cheesecake base with fresh fruit on top would be a satisfying, delicious ending to a pizza party, picnic or camp out. This pizza is great tasting while it’s still hot, cooled down or even cold from the fridge.  I experimented with different ways to bake the pizza and work the toppings to the best advantage of eye appeal and taste.


With the first pizza, I par-baked the crust (I always use a sourdough crust but you could, theoretically, use any favorite crust) and then spread the cheesecake topping on, sprinkled on the fruit (fresh blueberries), then returned the pizza to the oven to finish baking.

The pizza tasted great and looked good too. However the crust edge on a par-baked pizza tends to be thick because the par-baking will cause the dough to puff up in the middle and spread the dough outwards towards the edge. I like a bubbly edge to my pizza.

So for the second pizza I spread the uncooked dough with the cheesecake topping, sprinkled on the fresh fruit and baked the pizza for seven minutes at 550F degrees. The pizza had a nice bubbly edge a, really nice crust and tasted great. However, the fruit (the strawberries) looked a little “baked,” so the eye appeal suffered somewhat. Baking fresh fruit can cause it to look watery. This problem could be solved by choosing fruit that looks good baked at a high temperature (like the blueberries) or fruits that are already prepared, like sliced dried fruit, drained sliced peaches which were packed in juice, prepared apple pie filling etc. The peaches and apples would taste great sprinkled with a touch of cinnamon. I also think that a dessert pizza with a raspberry filling, chopped nuts and a crumb topping would be nice. Or maybe chopped apples, nuts, and figs drizzled with honey would bake up well. I have also been thinking of a pear/pecan pizza with a cinnamon crumb topping. The ideas are apparently endless. I would like to hear some of your ideas… Instead of dessert, some of these ideas would work for a breakfast treat as well.

On the third pizza, I baked with only the cheesecake filling and placed the fresh fruit on top right after removing the pizza from the oven , while the filling was still hot. The eye appeal on this pizza was just right. However, the fruit liked rolling off of the sliced pizza. I think if you were using a prepared filling, like a cherry pie, apple pie, or glazed fruit filling, you wouldn’t have the problem of the fruit rolling off and have a really great looking pizza.  The cheesecake filling tends to get a bit browner if you do not watch the baking time closely with this option.

 

On my next dessert pizza, I think I will go with the second baking method, bake the pizza with the filling and fruit and use blueberries or a prepared fruit topping. That would be my choice mainly because I liked the crust with that option and I love blueberries.

Now I find myself wondering about a lemon meringue pizza….. ?

To find the complete recipe for Berry Cheesecake Dessert Pizza visit: http://www.northwestsourdough.com/discover/?p=2321

Enjoy!


 
Chris Bianco's Bianco Verde with a twist...
Brad English

As many of you saw in a recent Guest Column, my sister finally made the trip to Pizzeria Bianco last month (a trip, I have yet to make)!  If you read her story, you can see how she tortured me for years - teasing me about her trips to visit family in Phoenix and the possibility of going, and then after, baiting me with texts and emails; or her plans "got in the way" and she couldn't make it.  She thought she was soooooo - ooooh so funny.  She thought it was finally payback for the Big Brother thing!  But, as you read, who really suffered - missing all those opportunities to enjoy pizza at that level? 

So now I'm on my tomato quest, using Chris Bianco's new organic tomatoes - Bianco DiNapoli Organic Tomatoes.  I am making pizzas that will allow me to really taste these tomatoes as I try them out for the first time here at home.  As I browsed Pizzeria Bianco's menu online, a pizza jumped off the page at me - the Biancoverde Pizza!  It has Fresh Mozzarella, Parmigiano Reggiano, Ricotta, and Arugula.  That sounds delicious.  But, there are no tomatoes!  What to do?  Wait!  The bells went off. The sassy sister had the Biancoverde, but had added some tomato sauce to it.  I thought that would not only be a perfect pizza to try to make, but also

 
A Brick Wood/Gas Grill Oven Project
Brad English

I am not the first to venture into how to bring fire and wood together to cook a pizza.  So, while making great pizza is all about balancing time, temperature and ingredients, it is also about the type of heat to a great extent. You can bake a pizza with a brick floor (brick oven), cook it in a live fired wood burning oven, which brings smoke and a more intense heat into the picture, you can cook it in your home oven on a pizza stone at lower - slower temperatures, or even cook a great pizza on your grill.  The possibilities may be endless.  The important thing is to balance time and temperature (heat!) with your ingredients and you can make great pizza.

I stumbled on adding fire to my home pizza making experience when I decided to grill a pizza.  I had added a wood smoker box into my gas grill and it seemed to cut the cooking time by almost 40%.  My home oven pizzas generally take between 8-10 minutes to bake.  This one baked in 6 minutes!  It also had fire, wood, and smoke added into the equation.  Of course, I do intend to get

 
Pizza Balsamico
Brad English

It's still summertime and, in Redondo Beach, CA, we are having one of the best summers I can remember.  We very typically have a marine layer of fog that covers our beaches for most of the day until it finally burns off after the relentless sun does it's job better than the Pacific is doing it's job of sending the fog our way.  But not this summer.  It has been sunny, sunny, sunny!  And, on top of all that sun, we have been blessed with a consistently cool ocean breeze, which has made things warm but not hot.  To further make this a great Southern California summer, our nights have been warm also.  I have hardly had to do the "layer off" routine and then, in the evening, put a layer (sweatshirt) back on.  Paradise! 

So, big deal you may be saying.  What's with all the talk of summer?  Let's get to the pizza.  We will.  But I'm on a roll here.  I've been having a ball making some fresh pizzas and enjoying sitting around outside and gobbling them up lately.  On a few long Saturday afternoons I've been taking advantage of the beautiful weather and making some delicious pizza pies with the wonderful ingredients that are readily available at so many good grocery stores. 

Now, with this pizza, I wanted to focus on the final touch - the drizzle -- which is a delicious balsamic vinegar that a friend gave to me from a shop up in the Central Coast of California Wine Country.  The pizza I made was delicious in and of itself, don't get me wrong.  I used some Bel Gioioso Burrata, fresh sliced tomatoes, sliced red onions, a little sausage, and chopped fresh basil leaves in a base of Peter's herb oil.  But, the kicker was how

 
"Atsa Creamy-Gorg A-Peezz!"
Brad English

So, I had some Bel Gioioso Creamy Gorgonzola cheese in the fridge.  I wanted to make some pizzas. What came to mind was my friend's grandfather.  I don't know why, but often, when I cook it seems distant memories come flooding back to me.

My friend Brian had introduced me to his Nono (Grandfather) while we were back in college. As I sat there contemplating this Creamy-Gorg pizza, I got lost in the thought that if I had gotten the chance to make Nono this pizza, he would have said, "Atsa Creamy-Gorg a-peezz!"  Nono had a little shop in San Francisco where he repaired furniture for years and years and years after emigrating from Italia.  I had met Brian on my first day of college.  He's Italian and Irish with bright red hair and his nickname, which is known to half the living universe, is "Flame!"  We became fast friends. To be clear, we weren't particular fast -- as in speedy -- unless there was a last beer, or slice of pizza, or something we wanted across the room.  In that case, watch out!  I don't know why this Creamy-Gorg Pizza brought up my memory of Brian's grandfather.  But, it did.

One day, while visiting him in San Francisco, Brian was telling Nono about something we had done, or were intending to do.  He warned us from behind his waiving finger, "Atsa tha dange!"  What he meant was that it was dangerous.  What it's meant to me is countless fond memories of that moment and a constant anchor that will instantly bring me back in time to those visits I made with Brian to his grandparent's home in San Francisco.  He would always come back to school after a break with all kinds of salamis.  It was good to visit the source.  How popular do you think he was in a dorm? 

We had made a lot of dough to use during our last Pizza Quest filming, so I pulled out one of Peter's Signature Bruery Challenge Pizza Doughs, which was made with Central Milling Company's Organic Pizza Germania flour.  We'll eventually post the recipe and show a video demo of how this is made.  But, so you know, I'll tell you it has some beer malt in it.  And, it is delicious! 

When I took out the cheese and took a bite, the very first thing I did -- after thinking "Atsa tha peezz!" to myself again -- was to go to the garage refrigerator and grab a beer.  This cheese and

 

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