My mother–in–law's signature dessert is this colorful twist on an easy–to–assemble, perfectly light, fruit galette. Somewhere during the years where she was raising two athletic boys and feeding their gang of hungry friends, she deemed it "dessert pizza" and a classic was born. Today, we are lucky enough to have her share the recipe with all of us.
There's something deliciously 80's about the way "dessert pizza" sounds in conversation, but at its heart, this dessert is absolutely timeless. It is a three–part operation, built on a simple shortbread crust, cream cheese custard and fruit topping. Any of the basic parts could be tweaked according to taste, season and what you have in your pantry.
Now that I've made this once, not quite as well as my mother–in–law, Genevieve, makes it (of course!), I can see many different adaptations I might make in the future. Perhaps adding cocoa powder to the crust and topping the whole thing with blueberries and kiwis? Or even keeping the shortbread and infusing the custard with bloomed saffron and dotting the top with grapefruit supremes in the winter. You get my drift — this is one of those miraculous, easy recipes which could get you famous amongst legions of teenage boy fans, and who wouldn't want that? Thanks, Genevieve!
For the crust:
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons milk
For the filling:
12 ounces (1 1/2 block sized packages) cream cheese
3/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3-4 cups fresh strawberries, washed, dried and sliced
1/4 cup agave syrup
Preheat oven to 350°F.
First, make the crust: Mix the flour, sugar and salt and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk the oil and milk. Mix the dry and the wet ingredients together until evenly combined. Pat dough into a 14–inch pizza pan, creating a very thin, even layer. Bake for about 15 minutes.
While the crust is baking, make the filling: Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, whisk the cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla until smooth and creamy. When the crust has finished its initial bake, remove and carefully pour custard on top of cookie crust (you may have a little extra). Bake another 20 minutes until the custard is set and golden brown.
Arrange the strawberries on top of the pizza and brush with agave syrup. Chill until ready to serve.
• Related: My Dad's Legendary Pumpkin Chiffon Pie
(Images: Leela Cyd Ross)