Desserts: Pizza’s Sweet Side

Nontraditional crusts and toppings transform pies into tasty treats.

Published in FSD Update

Cherry N’ Chocolate Cheesecake Pizza from Florida
Institute of Technology.

Pizza is often a top seller, but some directors are upping the pepperoni ante by sweetening their pies for a fun twist on dessert. Ferris State University, in Big Rapids, Mich., offers three flavors of dessert pizzas: apple, cherry and s’mores.

“A lot of students have never tried dessert pizzas before, so when they see it, it’s something new and exciting,” says Bryan Marquardt, associate director of dining services. “Look at what desserts do well already and adapt those flavors into a dessert pizza.”

Tom Stewart, director of dining at the Florida Institute of Technology, in Melbourne, took a similar approach and created five dessert pizzas in flavors like Butterfinger and Twix Cheesecake and Cherry N’ Chocolate Cheesecake.

“Don’t be afraid to try new things, no matter how silly or off-the-wall it may seem,” says Stewart, who cross-utilizes ingredients already on hand. “If it tastes good on its own, it usually tastes even better on a pizza.”

The secret to pie success: the perfect crust. Marquardt uses an extra-thin version. “We tried a puff pastry and a parbaked crust, but the extra thin works best because it doesn’t give you all that filler,” says Marquardt, who encourages using a wood stone pizza oven. “It bakes at a very high temperature and very quickly—only three minutes.”

The crust doesn’t have to be traditional. Ben Guggenmos, district chef for Hills-borough County Public Schools, in Florida, uses whole-wheat English muffins. Guggenmos also swaps out pizza sauce in favor of a low-fat strawberry cream cheese. Each pie is topped with fresh fruit.

At St. John’s University, in New York, large sugar cookies act as a crust. Students made their own dessert pizzas by decorating the cookies with frosting, fruit and chocolate chips at the college’s weekly Live, Love, Learn series.

“[Students loved how] each dessert pizza was individual to the person who made it,” says Alysha Velez, graduate assistant for student engagement.
Guggenmos, who created dessert pizzas to teach kids about healthy snacking, also found student engagement was a key to his dessert pizza success. Of the 250 schools in his district, the dessert pizzas were most successful at the five elementary schools were he demoed them. “The demos created a lot of buzz as the kids were intrigued and were even able to make some for themselves,” Guggenmos says.

Florida Institute’s Stewart seconds that notion: “The best way to overcome the skeptics was to do informal samplings during busy times. Free, sweet and new are usually met with little resistance and positive feedback.” 

More From FoodService Director

Managing Your Business
hand selecting picture

According to the Wall Street Journal, new artificial intelligence technologies are designed to assist HR each step of the way, from recruitment to retention. They scour the internet for suitable job candidates; they take new employees through the onboarding process; they answer benefits questions; and they even scan employee correspondence for signs of unhappiness or counterproductivity. But do they make sense for foodservice operators?

“Anything that can help technology-wise, why not?” says David Hill, director of dining hall operations at the University of New Hampshire . “It...

Industry News & Opinion

Amherst-Pelham Regional School District in Amherst, Mass., is updating its lunch debt policy to no longer single out students, MassLive reports.

Under the new policy, students with lunch debt will be given the same meals as their peers, regardless of how much they owe. School officials will also be communicating directly with parents of students who have accumulated debt instead of through the students themselves.

The updated policy comes just before U.S. school districts will be required to publicly list their lunch debt policies, per new USDA requirements starting July 1...

Menu Development
eureka

Since California’s state motto is “Eureka!” it seems fitting that a recent conversation with the director of hospitality at San Diego’s Palomar Health led to the biggest aha moment I’ve had in a long time.

I called Jim Metzger in late April with the purpose of discussing Palomar’s recent commitment to the goal of making 60% of its total menu plant-based by this summer. It seemed a lofty number, and I was curious how the public health system planned to get there.

But my personal eureka didn’t come while we were talking about how Palomar had cleaned up the impulse-buy zones...

Industry News & Opinion

Labeling foods with indulgent buzzwords such as “sweet sizzlin’” and “crispy” can lead consumers to make healthier food choices , according to a recent study out of Stanford University .

In the fall 2016 study, researchers labeled vegetables in one of the school’s dining halls using terms from four categories: basic, healthy restrictive, healthy positive or indulgent.

The green beans, for example, were listed as “green beans” for basic, “light ‘n’ low-carb green beans and shallots” for healthy restrictive, “healthy energy boosting green beans and shallots” for healthy...

FSD Resources