Pizza Lab #37: Peppermint Christmas Pizza
Happy New Year to all our faithful readers, as well as any new faces who just stumbled onto Poor Couple’s Food Guide. 2015 is almost completely gone, but luckily for you, we’ve got one last Pizza Lab to squeeze in before 2016 starts up. T’is the season to be festive, and as such we designed a true Christmastime pizza. Let’s ring in the New Year right, by eating dessert pizza!
If you’ve followed PCFG for any length of time, you know we always preach the deliciousness that are sweet pizzas. Pizza dough is comically versatile, to the point you can put pretty much anything on top of it and it will complement it perfectly. We’ve used chocolate on pizza dough before, and came to realize it’s actually really friggin’ good. Bittersweet chocolate has, well, a bitter tinge to it, but in a good way; it’s the same flavor that makes dark chocolate so enjoyable. (Interestingly, neither of us actually liked dark chocolate up until a few years ago, further cementing the empirical truth that you’re officially an adult once you prefer dark chocolate). We figured it’d be most proper to throw together some sort of delicious, pepperminty/chocolatey pie to make some sort of Christmas pizza.
For starters, we par-baked our crust for a little while, to firm it up. Most dessert pizzas need to cook for a short time since they have lots of sugar, and sugar tends to turn to shit pretty quickly when you expose it to high oven temperatures, since it caramelizes and eventually burns. To enhance the holidayness of it, we brushed a little bit of mint extract onto the crust, to give it a nice little extra zing.
Next came the obvious “sauce” to put down: hot fudge. Not just any hot fudge, but a nice batch of homemade hot fudge. We’ve historically used plain old melted chocolate on pizzas in the past, and while it works, we wanted to change it up a little bit. The hot fudge sauce was a little bit runnier compared to melted chocolate, and had such an amazing, rich flavor to it. I know this was a Christmas pizza, but the chocolate sauce was basically Valentine’s Day in liquid form. Do yourself a favor and make a batch with your significant other come February so you can cover each other in it.
A beloved and enduring symbol of Christmas is the candy cane. Sugary, minty candies in the shape of a miniature cane, with swirls of red and white; these things are so synonymous with Christmas, it’d be a flat out crime to exclude them. Admittedly, candy canes were never my favorite thing to eat, yet I respect them for what they are. I will eat maybe one or two tops each Christmas, but I find that a whole candy cane is always just too much to go through in one sitting. Fortunately, in pizza form, that over-the-top sugary flavor was spread out over what is essentially a giant loaf of bread. We crushed the canes up into coarse chunks, sprinkled it onto the pizza, and into the oven it went.
As an additional topping we also used chopped up, mint Kit-Kat bars to give the pizza some variety. We originally intended to use thin-mint style cookies, but to be frank, ‘shit’s expensive’. Like, even the Keebler grasshopper cookies were like $5 for a small case. Cookies aren’t supposed to be expensive, they’re simple little baked goods, not truffles. (And actually that analogy is stupid, despite its accuracy, ‘cuz cookies taste way better than truffles).
As you can see in the above pic, the candy cane pieces melted somewhat, which actually worked to our advantage. One of the complaints I’ve always had about candy canes is that they’re not quite as hard as your standard hard candy. If you try biting into it and chewing, it almost has a chewy texture to it, which is really unpleasant. The melted version on the pizza was great since when still warm it was soft and gooey, and even when it cooled off, the pieces melted into a thin, thin layer that was easy to bite through.
Lastly, we also whipped up some quick icing to drizzle on top just for a nice little garnish. See how nice it looks!
Now even though we’ve done a lot of dessert pizzas already, this one might stick out as particularly strange due to the mint-chocolate combo on it. We had people question it when it came to sampling time, saying they can’t imagine what a peppermint pizza would taste like, but I absolutely mean this, this was one of our most successful pizzas in a long time. The flavors blended together perfectly, and obviously it was totally delicious. As I said earlier in the post, chocolate and pizza dough is such an underrated combination, and this pie just took it to a whole new level.
What really made this pizza a true success was how perfectly it worked as a theme too. Not only did it taste great, but visually it’s beautiful looking. It looks Christmas-y. And chocolate + mint is a total holiday flavor profile too, so it also tastes Christmas-y as well. Even better, this pie was easy to make. It worked on every level imaginable, and it’s gonna be hard to top.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year from Poor Couple’s Food Guide! See you in 2016!
Christmas, The Pizza