Pizza purists might get cheesed off by the latest pastry mash-up to hit the streets, but the pizza profiterole actually has a storied history.
Matteo Aloe, co-founder of Radio Alice Pizzeria, and Roy Levy, head baker of Gail’s Artisan Bakery, have joined forcesbvto reclaim the profiterole and return it to its Italian roots. Pizza profiteroles are a historical legend, according to the duo, as they were originally created by Chef Popelini in a Florentine kitchen in the 16th Century.
Now, the bakery chain and restaurant are determined to bring the pizza profiterole into the modern day. Levy has whipped out his pastry skills to work with Aloe’s signature sourdough recipe, which uses organic flour, mother yeast and 24-hour fermentation. The pizza dough encases vanilla ice-cream from The Parlour in Chelsea and is then topped with organic chocolate hazelnut sauce and crunchy peanut butter.
The sweet treat will be available in Radio Alice’s restaurants in Clapham and Hoxton throughout summer and at its new Canary Wharf site when it opens at the beginning of July.
Emma King, co-founder of Gail’s, previously teamed up with the brothers behind Radio Alice, Matteo and Salvatore Aloe, to help bring their sourdough pizzas from Italy to London in 2016.
“I’ve been lucky enough to work with both Roy and Matteo, who are hugely talented and have such a passion for sourdough; they find authentic producers and then create something really unique,” she said.“It was a lot of fun getting them together over a few negronis and plenty of profiterole tasting.”
Forget the traditional
It’s not the only area that pizza has been infiltrating, with people keen to riff off the popularity of the Italian staple. Over in China, a couple of expats teamed up with bao specialists to create the ‘baozza’: a fusion recipe combining the steamed bun and pizza.
Unlike the chopped fillings that stuff authentic bao, the ingredients are layered by hand to mimic pizza, with flavours including margherita, pepperoni and Hawaiian. Diners can opt to have their choice steamed in the traditional style, toasted or coated in melted cheese.
People have been pushing the boundaries of savoury pastries for a number of years now. Recently, we’ve seen the advent of the crossushi – a croissant stuffed with sushi ingredients such as salmon, wasabi, pickled ginger and nori seaweed– and the tacro: a croissant filled taco style with ingredients like pulled pork and pineapple, chicken and avocado, and barbecue jackfruit.
Even scones can’t escape food meddling. In what might shock UK traditionalists, the restaurant Frenchie is opening a bacon scone pop-up in Covent Garden Market from June to October. It will serve its smoked bacon and maple syrup scones with clotted cream – available ‘to go’ for the first time – along with a vegetarian update of the classic scone, a goat’s cheese scone served with clotted cream and banoffee scones for dessert.
So is Sparkie up for a pizza profiterole party?
This feels like something I'd have to try in order to give an honest opinion on, but I’m not sure this one would really hit the mark. I have seen a lot of sweet interpretations on pizza and it’s very rarely good. A lot of places use the same pizza dough as their savoury options, putting far too much salt into a dessert.
Profiteroles rely heavily on the light, airy texture that choux pastry brings, which is the main reason I am not convinced that a pizza dough will make this nice. I am still of the mindset that consumers are starting to move away from the ‘Franken-foods.’