Please help me perfect this lemon drop pizza

mabeldingeldine_gwMay 4, 2013

Last night I had some of my students over for pizza dinner (holy cow did they eat a lot of pizza!). For dessert, I made a lemon drop pizza (I'd never tried this before) to go along with a mixed berry crumble.

I found the recipe on the Forno Bravo Brick Oven Forum and had been wanting to try it. While it was delicious, it was a bit wet in the middle, so I'm looking for some solutions for that. The recipe is pasted below. I did par-bake my crust for just a few minutes as many of the commenter suggested, then spread the marscarpone. I don't think I used that much confectioner's sugar, which may have something to do with the wet center of the pizza, but it was plenty sweet.

Any suggestions? It was really delicious and I'm probably being too fussy, but I can't help myself!

Pizza Gypsy Lemon Drop Pizza

This recipe is reminiscent of a "lemon square" dessert. It's both sweet and tart.

Ingredients:

8 oz. dough ball
Mascarpone cheese - room temperature
2-3 whole lemons, completely zested of all rind, then sliced extremely thin
2 TBLS sweet butter
Approx 1.5-2 heaping cups of confectioners' sugar

Steps:

Prepare your dough ball into a 12"-14" pie.
Spread a thin layer of mascarpone cheese across the entire pie, leaving a thin edge of the pie exposed at the outer circumference (just like you make a traditional pie). You don't need much cheese; you're simply using it as a binding agent for the lemons.
Now layer your thinly sliced lemons. Starting at the center of the pie and, building outward, create a spiral and cover the mascarpone cheese. You'll likely need 2.5 lemons to cover the pie.
Cook your pie in your screaming hot oven. It should take 90-120 seconds.
Now brush a thin layer of butter onto the pie, covering all of the lemons.
Now for the insanity: Using a flour sifter, gently sift confectioners' sugar throughout the surface of the pie. Cover it with a good amount. Don't be shy, but don't "dump it on." Completely cover with a single layer, then wait. You'll notice that the sugar will appear to "melt." It will look like a liquid. That's good. Now repeat the process of covering the pie with another layer. Repeat this process - it will take at least 4 layers (perhaps more) - until the sugar no longer liquefies, but instead starts looking like powder. Slice and serve.

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sally2_gw

So the lemons are peeled, then? The instructions are a little confusing about that. To me, zesting is scraping the thin yellow layer of yummy stuff off to use in a recipe. This one states to zest off all rind. There's no sign of using the zest, so I guess it's just peeled lemons. But that doesn't answer your question.

I'm no expert at all, but since sugar is a liquid, basically, and lemons have lots of juice, I'm not surprised that the pizza is soggy. Maybe adding a bit more mascarpone would help act as a barrier. That's just a guess. I'm sure the other, more experienced bakers would have good suggestions.

Sally

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 7:59AM
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dcarch7

I corrected the color of your photo to take a better look. Yes, kind of soggy, but a very nice looking pizza.

Try these:

1. "-----completely zested of all rind, then sliced extremely thin ---" to me that means paper thin slices. Put the lemon in the freezer to semi-freeze the lemon, and slice with a very sharp knife.

2. Try spreading out the lemon slices in the refrigerator overnight to dry them out a little, or use the dehydrator.

dcarch

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 8:19AM
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mabeldingeldine_gw

I love the tip about freezing the lemon, I do it all the time for chicken breasts or cheese but did not think of it for the lemon. Thanks for correcting the color, it looks even more delicious now. I will try slicing ahead and refrigerating and see if that helps.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 11:46AM
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sleevendog

That is confusing about the zesting. I would zest some of the good bits and use them, then 'peel' the peel, slicing off with a paring knife. Whenever i have tried a similar fruit/desert pizza, i have always tossed it on the backing stone for a few minutes first, take it out and flipped it so i am putting wet ingredient on the slightly baked side...(wild blueberries, lemon zest and thyme) with the cheese. I'll have to try the lemon. Freezer or drying uncovered in the fridge could help the excess moisture. Hmmm

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 1:18PM
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rosesinny

The cheese contains a lot of water. What do you mean by "screaming hot"? In a home oven, you can only get to 500 degrees. Do you have a fan in the oven? That helps to dry things and circulate the hot air.

Are you cooking on a stone, cast iron, carbon steel, or a baking sheet? All of that matters. If using one of the first three and if you've heated the hell out of them, maybe putting them under the broiler, your results will be different.

But moving on - you have liquid in the cheese and liquid in the lemons, (including the peel) and then you add sugar which liquifies, except for the starchy part.

I pretty much hate confectioner's sugar for anything and I'd leave that off. You can try boiling the thin lemon or orange or grapefruit or lime slices in a simple syrup until transluscent, then drying them a bit, then putting on the pizza and cooking on a super-heated steel under the broiler. My pizzas usually cook in around 2 minutes. That's NOT enough time to get rid of the moisture in the cheese if you use it. To do that, you'd have to use a cooler oven and bake longer, like 7 minutes or so, but then your cheese will have soaked into the dough.

I'd forego the cheese - maybe crumble some goat cheese instead or use anything drier - even a good aged Provolone, and then do the lemons as suggested and sprinkle a bit of real sugar on them, which you can then crisp like a creme brulee.

Only reason I know this works is because I make a tart like that once in a while, not using pizza dough however, and I finely mince some jalapenos or other hot peppers and sprinkle that with the oranges. I like the combo of sweet citrus and a bit of heat.

Best of luck!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 10:35PM
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mabeldingeldine_gw

Thanks, roses, you've given me some good ideas for next time I try this.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 8:18PM
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