I don’t know if you’ve been to Brazilian barbecue before but if you haven’t it’s essentially meat served buffet style. You have a little token that has a red side and a green side. Red means stop. Green means go. Go means an endless parade of waiters (probably in flouncy gaucho-style pants) will bring platter upon platter of picanha, tri tip, pork ribs, garlic picanha, linguiça, bacon wrapped filet mignon, and if you are in Brazil one of my personal favorites, fraldinha forever and ever. Its kind of insane. But its also kind of the norm in Brazil for a lot of things. Brazilians love buffets. Salad buffets, dessert buffets, pasta buffets and let me blow your mind a little – PIZZA BUFFETS. Yup.
*Do not be scared by the literal Google translation of fraldinha as ‘little diaper’, it has nothing to do with a cow’s butt I promise.
And the thing is that Americans loves buffets too, but most of the time here, buffets = shitty food. In Brazil there are many fine dining restaurants that are buffet style. It’s not cheap but the food is also decidedly not shitty. In fact one of my mom’s favorite restaurants in São Paulo was Badebec which describes itself as ‘a buffet of the gods’ whatever that means. This was no lame cheap pasta dishes suffering under the oppressive dry glare of heating lamps. This was filet mignon in Madeira mushroom sauce, fluffy golden manioc gnocchi covered in parmesan cheese, mushroom and pumpkin terrine, and fresh fettucine with huge fresh prawns. My favorite buffet was probably the dessert buffet at Figueira Rubayat: a mixture of traditional Brazilian desserts like quindim, condensed milk and coconut pudding, passion fruit mousse and more traditionally European desserts like mille feuille, chocolate mousse, crème brûlée. And pretty platters of lots of tropical fruits. What more could you want really.
But right pizza buffets. This was and still is a thing. I can’t even tell you how magical it is to not have to wait for fresh hot pizza. And to get to have slices of fresh from the oven margarita pizza followed by a slice of palm heart pizza (so good, trust) and then some catupiry com frango. And then just when you think you never want to see another slice of pizza in your life, there it is: dessert pizzas. The most common flavor is brigadeiro, a chocolate and condensed milk based spread covered in chocolate sprinkles. But its not uncommon to see banana, cinnamon and caramel or brigadeiro with fresh strawberries. At this point you activate your dessert stomach (ZZzzzuuuupppp you tried.
I kind of forgot all about dessert pizzas until I started seeing them pop up around here – I think I spied a s’mores pizza at URBN the other day and I saw a couple dessert pizza posts on Pinterest. So here’s my contribution to the wonderful world of dessert pizza. I swap the brigadeiro for Nutella, add some honey-sweetened whipped ricotta (if you don’t like the graininess in ricotta your life is about to change) and then top it with some rhubarb compote and fresh strawberries. And because no one wants to turn your oven on to 500 degrees to properly bake pizza the best way to make yummy pizza crust is grilled! And if you live in a building with a totalitarian HOA that doesn’t let you have barbecues, these were done on a panini press. And it turned out just perfect. So whatever. I don’t even need a BBQ.
(jk plz let us have a bbq neighbors)
Strawberry, Ricotta and Nutella Dessert Pizza
- pizza dough (premade or I used Jamie Oliver’s Basic Pizza Dough)
- Nutella to taste (read: oodles)
- 1 cup of fresh ricotta
- 2-4 tablespoons honey
- 3-5 tablespoons milk
- strawberries, sliced or halved
- optional: rhubarb compote
- Heat a panini press or grill.
- Add in the ricotta and 3 tablespoons of milk to a blender. Blend until completely smooth. If its too thick to blend add another tablespoon or two of milk and try blending again.
- Once smooth add 2 tablespoons of honey and blend. Taste and if needed add more honey and blend again.
- Set aside ricotta honey mixture covered in the fridge.
- Roll out the pizza dough on a floured surface to desired size and about 1/4 in to 1/2 in in thickness depending on your preference for thin or thicker dough. Brush grill or panini press with olive oil.
- Place rolled out pizza dough on grill/panini press. It’s hard to give times since it will depend on what you are using and the thickness of the dough, but once you see definite grill marks flip and do the other side until its browned but not overly dry or tough. In a panini press it will be cooking from both sides so no need to flip. It took about 2-3 minutes for me.
- Note: When using a grill make sure the grill is HOT before adding the pizza dough or else it will stick to the grill and burn and stick and you’ll have dough in your grill forever. I’m telling you now so eez not my fault if this happens :)
- Remove and set on serving platter. Immediately (generously) top with Nutella, the hot dough should make it easier to spread.
- Add rhubarb compote (if using), honey whipped ricotta, and then top with fresh strawberries.
You will slay any Memorial Day BBQ with this pizza.
Seriously just talking about all this Brazilian food is making me want to fast forward to November so I can hop on my flight to São Paulo and have ALL the buffets. Is there such a thing as being homesick but mostly for you know…food??