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

Industry News & Opinion

Sturgeon Bay Schools in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., has partnered with a local farm to construct a school greenhouse , Green Bay Press Gazette reports.

Construction will begin soon, and the district says that the project is already 75% funded. Once the building is finished, students will be able to grow their own food at the greenhouse and then learn how to preserve it through canning and other methods.

“The greenhouse will provide students with the opportunity to grow food, sample food they have cultivated, design planting plans, tend seedlings, integrate real-life technology in...

Sponsored Content
eating mac and cheese

From AFP advanced food products llc

Some iconic food pairings have stood the test of time―peanut butter and jelly, spaghetti and meatballs, macaroni and cheese, just to name a few.

But, classic doesn’t mean boring or on the way out. In fact, there’s been a resurgence of mac and cheese on menus. According to 2018 data from Technomic’s MenuMonitor, mac and cheese menu mentions have grown by the following percentages over the past four years:

On the kids menu: 10.4% As an entree: 7.5% As a side/extra: 8.2%

In addition to increasing menu instances, noncommercial...

Sponsored Content
seafood salad

From High Liner Foods.

Seafood—whether it’s in the form of fish and chips or tuna salad—is a menu staple for many foodservice locations. But seafood doesn’t have to be limited to just the center of the plate—it shines on other parts of the menu as well, from soups and salads to sides and snacks.

Here are four ways that seafood and fish are moving outside of the main course.

Soups

Starting the meal with soup is common for many diners, and in noncommercial settings, there’s usually an array of soups available each day. According to Technomic’s 2017 Center of the...

Industry News & Opinion

Regional School Unit 17 in Belfast, Maine, is banning straws beginning on Monday, the Penbay Pilot reports.

The ban was put into action by a student group and the district’s foodservice director. Over the years, the district has also phased out plastic utensils and plans to completely eliminate foam food trays this upcoming school year.

Director of Food Services Perley Martin told the Penbay Pilot that the district’s foodservice budget has not increased as a result of the transition to more eco-friendly materials, due to the fact the change was made slowly.

The...

FSD Resources

Code for Asynchronous jQuery Munchkin Tracking Code