I was at a dinner with fellow writers when a contentious topic popped up: Fruit on pizza — yay or nay? A debate erupted between two esteemed food editors who fervently defended their opposing positions as though morals were at stake.
“No! Pizza is a sacred savory food and dampening it with wet pineapple is a sin,” one editor sternly stated.
“Blasphemy! Fruit and cheese are divine pairings,” the other retorted.
I listened with intrigue and made a mental note: “Fruity pizza” might as well join politics, religion and money as matters not to be discussed at the dinner table.
Then, I was invited into the debate just as it was heating up hotter than a brick oven.
“Brittany, what do you think?”
Admittedly, I was the least experienced food writer at the table. My initial response was to be like Switzerland and simply quote this adorable pizza-loving little one.
But actually, I love fruit on pizza, and I, too, feel pretty strongly about it. In fact, my go-to order is a combo of pineapple, Canadian bacon and, for a wild card, jalapenos. And, to take the whole fruit-on-savory-foods platform further, I make a mean grilled cheese sandwich with brie cheese, sourdough bread and thin slices of Granny Smith apples because, yes, I concur, fruit and cheese are a power couple made all the better with bread.
So, I bit — and I felt like an important swing vote.
“Well, pizza has tomato sauce, and technically tomatoes are fruit because of their seeds, so … yes! Fruit inherently belongs on pizza,” I said.
Beyond that, I argued we should think even further outside of the (pizza) box and not be limited to just the so-called “Hawaiian pizzas.”
Because I’m an amateur food writer, and I want to bolster my argument, beyond stating “I like pizza, yes I do,” I reached out to a few chefs who also fall in the pro fruit-on-pizza camp.
Hello Fresh’s Head Chef Claudia Sidoti has developed pizza and flatbread recipes for the food-delivery service incorporating fruit. (You can try a fig and brie flatbread with thyme or a peach and prosciutto flatbread).
She explains that fruit and cheese go well together because the sweetness of fruit and the saltiness of cheese complement one another. Plums, roasted grapes and pineapples are all sweet additions to a savory dish like pizza. Also, Sidoti says, specific cheese like brie can be overpowering to the palate.
“Adding the sweetness of something like apple helps cut the intensity of a cheese of that nature,” she says.
Matt McCormick, corporate chef at Weber Grill Restaurants, explains that when fruit cooks, the caramelization brings out a natural sweetness. The sweet-and-savory combo plays well with the fat in the cheese and the salt in the pizza’s crust.
“Fruit is also a perfect way to showcase seasonality on a pizza,” says McCormick, who was the opening chef at Max’s Coal Oven Pizzeria in downtown Atlanta before joining Weber. (Think: Peaches in the summer and pears in the fall).
Your Pie founder Drew French created the Peach Prosciutto Pie, which earned him a spot on the U.S. Pizza Team (sidenote: dream team?!) and he competed at the 2016 World Pizza Championship in Italy. His Peach Prosciutto Pie pays homage to Georgia’s famous fruit; it’s got olive oil and ricotta cheese spread over hand-tossed dough and is covered with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. It’s topped with thinly sliced prosciutto, fresh peaches and chopped basil. The pizza is drizzled with a housemade Honey Balsamic Glaze.
“The Hawaiian is the classic answer to the fruit-on-pizza argument, where the combination of sweet and salty bring out the best of the two toppings,” McCormick says. “Historically, cheese and fruit have successful marriages.” He points to apples and pears with brie or pomegranate and berries with goat cheese.
OK, we absolutely knead to know: What are your thoughts when it comes to fruit on pizza?