Sweet as Pizza Pie

Warm up to these creative, sugary spins on the Italian classic

September 19, 2013
pizzamarshmellow
Chef Carmine Marzano prepares to pop a marshmallow-covered Nutella pizza into the oven at Osteria Marzano. At left, the finished product.

Operation “Figure Out a Way to Eat Pizza for Every Meal” has made major strides: It’s already acceptable to eat an egg-topped breakfast ’za with your morning coffee, and now local chefs are adapting the favorite for dessert menus. These sweet treats typically involve Nutella, fresh fruit, nuts and even cheese. Lest you view this as just the latest fad, pizza purists should know that the practice has authentic roots.
“You see [dessert pizza] all the time when you go out in Italy or Greece,” says Pacci’s Neapolitan Pizzeria owner Spiro Gioldasis. “It’s a very traditional way to end a meal.” Here are some of our favorite dessert pizzas — and an option for those who can’t wait till after dinner for their chocolate.

pizzaH
H&Pizza, U&Pizza
H&Pizza, 1118 H St. NE; 202-733-1285 (Union Station); U&Pizza, 1250 U St. NW; 202-733-1286 (U Street); andpizza.com.
Co-owner Steve Salis had an epiphany when he was creating the dessert menu for his Atlas District pizzeria (which now has a second location on U Street). “Everyone loves pizza and everyone loves dessert,” he says. “We put the two together.” Starting with a white-flour crust as a base (wheat and multigrain doughs are also available), line cooks spread on layers of chocolaty, hazelnutty Nutella, fresh strawberry puree and dollops of sweet ricotta cheese before dusting the pie with powdered sugar and pecans (below, $5.91).

Osteria Marzano
6361 Walker Lane, Suite 140, Alexandria; 703-313-9700, osteriamarzano.com.
Consider this Nutella pizza ($8) the Italian s’more — no campfire required. A fluffy, chewy crust gets a quick brush of olive oil and a minute in the restaurant’s 900-degree oven. While it’s still piping hot, the crust is loaded up with Nutella, toasted pistachios, a smattering of sea salt, a layer of mascarpone cheese and miniature marshmallows. It’s popped back into the inferno for 10 more seconds to toast the marshmallows. “I never thought when we opened that Nutella pizza would be a best-seller,” chef Carmine Marzano says. “But people can’t get enough of it.”

pizzacrust

Chocolate Crust
5830 Georgia Ave. NW; 202-291-2595, chocolatecrust.com. (Fort Totten)
Diners don’t have to wait for dessert to eat the chocolate-crusted pizza ($10.50-$18.25) at this Brightwood bakery. “It’s more savory than sweet,” says proprietor-chocolatier Robert Cabeca, who also owns the Dupont Circle chocolate boutique Cocova. Roasted cocoa beans and dark chocolate get mixed into the unbleached white-flour crust, giving it a rich, almost nutty flavor. The toppings don’t come from the candy aisle either: There’s everything from bacon and pepperoni to grilled peppers and onions. Sweet tooths take heart: Blackberries, peaches and caramel sauce are also available as toppings.

pizzapaci
Pacci’s Neapolitan Pizzeria
8113 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring; 301-588-1011, paccispizzeria.com. (Silver Spring)
Buckets of Nutella are lined up along the wall next to the wood-fired oven, ready for duty on the restaurant’s beloved Nutelloco ($8), which is finished off with a sprinkling of powdered sugar (strawberries can be added for $2 extra). The dessert has many guests doing a double take, Gioldasis says. “They’ll ask, ‘Nutella pizza? What’s that?’ ” he says. “Then they try it and they’re hooked.” If you’re feeling particularly romantic, the pizzaiolo
will make yours in the shape of a heart.

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