Pistachio and mascarpone cream tops this dessert pizza from Italian home pizza makers Cristina Bruno and Giuliano Bronzi of the food blog Vuoi Assaggiare. Cooked in a blue iron pan (an Italian specialty tray similar to a cast iron pan), this pizza gets crispy on the outside while staying cinnamon-roll soft on the inside.
This pizza starts with poolish, a mixture of flour, water, and fresh yeast that ferments for about a day before it’s added to the rest of the dough. This may sound like a daunting first step, but it only requires a little mixing and a lot of time.
And when you give your dough a 14-hour pre-ferment, along with two rises — first in a bulk ferment, then as a dough ball in the pan — you’ll get deliciously big air bubbles in return. After cooking, a layer of oil in the cast iron pan imparts an almost-fried crunch.
In their dough recipe, Cristina and Giuliano use diastatic malt (barley that’s been germinated, dried and finely ground), which helps feed yeast and makes your dough sweeter and softeralong with soy lecithin, an emulsifier made from soybean oil which produces a softer crumb. Look for these powdered additives at health food stores or specialty baking shops, like King Arthur Baking. Can’t find these ingredients? Leave them out. You’ll still end up with a great finished product.
Once the dough’s golden brown, this dessert pizza needs to cool down a bit before getting its toppings. Pistachio cream mixed with mascarpone gets piped onto a base that’s still slightly warm. If you’ve never worked with pistachio cream, it’s a green nut butter usually sweetened with honey and sugar, and available in supermarkets or specialty Italian grocers. The pizza is then sprinkled with white chocolate chips, which Cristina and Guiliano love for added sweetness, along with chopped pistachios for texture and a dusting of powdered sugar for decoration.
It all comes together for, as Cristina and Giuliano say, “Peak taste in just one bite!”
Note: The pistachio-mascarpone cream topping can be made up to 2 days in advance; just be sure to take it out of the fridge 20 minutes before using so it can come up to room temperature.
25 hours and 35 minutes total; 35 minutes active time (excluding dough prep)
4 x 10-inch pizzas
4 x 270-gram dough balls
Ooni Stack or another airtight container (for proofing)
24-centimeter blue cast iron pan or Ooni Cast Iron Skillet Pan
Pastry bag (or plastic bag with one corner cut off)
Ooni Karu 16 oven
Ooni Infrared Thermometer
For the dough
4 ½ cups (560 grams) ’00’ flour
2 cups and 1 tablespoon (504 milliliters) cold water (41°F/5℃)
1 ¾ teaspoons (5 grams) fresh yeast
2 teaspoons (5.6 grams) diastatic malt powder
½ teaspoon (1 gram) soy lecithin
1 tablespoon (14 grams) fine sea salt
1 tablespoon (14 milliliters) extra-virgin olive oil, chilled
For the topping
1 cup and 1 tablespoon (250 grams) mascarpone
¾ cup (180 grams) sweet pistachio cream spread
white chocolate chips, to taste (about 15 grams)
chopped pistachios, to taste (about 10 grams)
powdered sugar, to taste
Prepare the pre-fermented poolish using 300 grams ’00’ flour, 300 milliliters room temperature water, and 2 grams fresh yeast (or roughly half of each).
Put the flour in a bowl, then dissolve the yeast in the water and gradually add it in, mixing with a fork. Add the water little by little to avoid lumps. The mix will be creamy because it is 100% hydrated.
Place in a low rectangular container and rest for 12 hours at room temperature (approximately 60-65°F/16-18°C), followed by another 2 hours in the refrigerator.
Once the poolish has fermented, it can be added to the rest of the ingredients. (Take care to keep the ingredients cold, though, so the temperature of the dough doesn’t rise too much.) In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the poolish, diastatic malt, soy lecithin, 47 milliliters water, and remaining flour and yeast.
Mix at the lowest speed for 5 minutes to ensure the ingredients are fully mixed. Add salt and reset to the second-lowest speed before continuing to mix. Add the remaining water (157 milliliters) gradually, stopping near the end to pour in the chilled oil before finishing with water.
The final dough mix will be smooth and silky in texture. Turn the mixer off and let the dough sit for 5 minutes, allowing the gluten to relax.
Mix for about another 3 rotations and remove the dough. Put a little cold water on your hands to make removing the dough easier.
Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes, then fold the dough into a large ball. Rest for another 10 minutes, then fold three more times.
Place the dough in an airtight greased container and rest for 2 hours at room temperature.
Fold the dough twice more and place it in the fridge for another 2 hours.
Take the dough out of the fridge and shape into balls, dividing it into four 270-gram units. Allow the dough to rise for 3 hours at room temperature (approximately 65°F/18°C). It should rise significantly; if it doesn’t, fold it a few more times so more air is absorbed.
After the dough has proofed, prepare the bottom of your blue iron pan or cast iron skillet, spreading the oil evenly and using a paper towel to remove any excess.
Lay the risen dough in the pan and stretch it out gently using your fingertips, pressing toward the edges of the pan to distribute the dough evenly across the whole surface.
Cover with foil and allow the dough to rise a second time, for 3 hours at room temperature or one hour in an oven which has been turned off but with pilot light still on. After this, the dough will likely be touching the foil.
Half an hour before making your pizza, prepare the topping. Combine the mascarpone and pistachio spread in a mixer. Fill a pastry bag with the resulting cream.
Fire up your oven, aiming for 575°F to 660°F (300°C to 350°C) on the baking stone inside. Use an infrared thermometer to quickly and accurately check the temperature of the stone.
Before placing the pizza in the oven, remove the foil and use a spray bottle full of water to coat the dough. If you don’t have a spray bottle, sprinkle the surface with a little water using your hands. Recover the dough with foil and place in the oven, where the evaporating water will create a steaming effect, resulting in a super soft dough.
Lower the flame on your oven by turning the knob (if using a gas burner) or refraining from topping up the fuel tray (if using solid fuel). Bake for 18 minutes, rotating the pan 3 times to ensure an even cook.
Remove the pizza from the oven and take off the foil. Put the pizza back in the oven for 4-5 minutes to brown the top. Keep an eye on the base and remove when golden brown.
Extract the pizza from the pan using a spatula and allow it to cool on a cooling rack or cutting board.
Once cooled, cover the top of the pizza with pastry cream. Cristina and Giuliano like to cut their pizza into four pieces before adding the cream, filling their pastry bag with the mascarpone topping and making small kisses of cream using a star-shaped tip across each slice, for a prettier pizza.
Finish off with a garnish of white chocolate chips, chopped pistachios, and powdered sugar. Serve and enjoy.