Strawberry and Pimm’s Dessert Pizza
Strawberries are quintessentially British. They always bring back memories of summers in my grandparents' garden: simply sliced and topped with lashings of cream. They’re a total classic. British strawberries are best from late May to early September. They take longer to develop because of the slightly colder climate, which means the sweetness has more time to intensify. When you get them in season, they’re beautifully intense and have a lovely freshness, which is perfect for dessert pizza.
Given how iconic they are, I wanted to share this recipe for an incredible dessert pizza inspired by the flavours of British summertime. It’s estimated that tennis fans at Wimbledon consume nearly 40 tonnes of strawberries — and 7,000 litres of cream — every year, in a tradition going back to the first tournament in 1877. I’ve combined these flavours with Pimm’s (our famous gin-based liqueur made with herbal botanicals), caramelised orange and warm spices to create a quick- and- easy homemade jam. Add fresh strawberries and a few other not-so-secret ingredients, and you get a truly memorable sweet custard pizza finale for any warm-weather meal. And because Pimm’s cocktail is a summertime classic, I think this pizza is best served with a Pimm's cup on the side.
Notes: If you want to taste strawberries at their freshest, buy local or go strawberry picking and eat them fresh from the plant! Please note in advance that this recipe requires vanilla custard. I like Judes Madagascan Vanilla Custard (available at Sainsbury's), but you can use your favourite — or make it fresh, of course.
— By Grant Batty, 31 May 2022
Grant Batty is a Cornwall-based recipe developer, sourdough bread baker, pizzaiolo and filmmaker. Follow him @grantbatty.
1 ½ hours
Ooni Pizza Dough Scraper
sugar thermometer (or digital probe)
Ooni pizza oven
Ooni Infrared Thermometer
Ooni Pizza Peel or Perforated Pizza Peel
Ooni Pizza Turning Peel (optional)
Ooni Pizza Cutter Wheel or Pizza Cutter Rocker Blade
4 x 250-gram pizza dough balls
For the Pimm’s Jam:
2 ½ cups (400 grams) of fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
1 ⅓ cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
juice and zest (reserve) from 1 lemon
juice and zest (reserve) from 1 orange
3 tablespoons (45 ml) Pimm’s No.1
2 cups (500 grams) vanilla custard (store bought)
1 ¼ cups (200 grams) fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and halved
1 ¼ cups (300 milliliters) double cream, whipped
1 teaspoon (5 milliliters) vanilla extract (optional)
zest of 1 lemon
leaves from 1 small bunch of mint
2 cups (200 grams) of shortbread biscuits, crumbled
2 tablespoons (32 grams) icing sugar (plus extra for dusting)
This recipe suits a range of pizza styles, but we think sourdough, neo-Neapolitan or classic pizza dough works well. Prepare your dough ahead of time to make sure it rises at room temperature before firing up your oven.
For the Pimm’s Jam:
To hull the strawberries, take a knife and cut a cone shape around the green part at the top of each strawberry (this will allow you to remove the top and stem). Place the hulled berries in a medium sized saucepan.
Add the sugar along with the lemon and orange juice. Using a potato masher (or the back of a large fork), press down onto the strawberries, allowing some of them to release their juice. You don’t want to mash all of them — you need just enough liquid to absorb the sugar.
Place the pan on your stovetop over a low heat and let the strawberries cook gently. Stir the mixture with a heat-proof spatula until the sugar dissolves and the strawberries are coated in a bright red syrup (about 3 minutes).
Increase the heat to medium/high and let the mixture bubble. Use a sugar thermometer or digital probe to check the temperature. Let it reach 221°F (105°C) (the setting point for jam), then continue to cook on a medium to high temperature for 5 to 10 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and let the jam cool for 30 minutes. If any foam has risen to the surface, skim it off with a spoon. Once cooled, add the Pimm’s, then stir to combine. Place the jam into a jar and refrigerate for later.
For the pizza:
Fire up your Ooni pizza oven. Aim for 750°F to 850°F (400°C to 450°C) on the baking stone inside. Use the infrared thermometer to quickly and accurately check the temperature of the middle of the stone.
Meanwhile, make the whipped cream. Whisk the double cream, vanilla extract, and 32 grams of icing sugar in a large mixing bowl until you get stiff peaks when you lift up the beater. Reserve the mixture in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.
Place a dough ball on your lightly floured work surface. Push the air from the centre out to the edge with your fingers. Stretch the dough out to form a 12-inch base, then lay the stretched dough over your lightly floured pizza peel.
Starting in the centrer and working your way out to the edge, spread 5 tablespoons of the custard on the surface of the dough, leaving ¼ to ½ inches (1½ to 2 centimeters) for the crust.
Slide the pizza off the peel and into the oven. Cook for 60 to 90 seconds, turning the pizza regularly to ensure an even bake.
Once the pizza is cooked, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool for a few minutes to prevent the cream from melting.
Use a piping bag or a teaspoon to pipe or dollop the whipped cream evenly on top of the pizza.
Top with freshly cut strawberries, crushed shortbread and spoonfuls of homemade Pimm’s jam, making sure to disperse all the toppings evenly.
Finally, add sprigs of mint, the zest of ¼ lemon and ¼ orange and a sprinkling of icing sugar.
Slice into four pieces, serve, and enjoy the classic taste of British summertime!