The Best Desserts Are Roasted In A Pizza Oven, Obviously

A pizza oven is good for so much more than just making pizza. Whether you have invested in a top-of-the-line backyard setup fit for a professional pizzaiolo — that's Italian for pizzamaker — or you got crafty and built your own brick pizza oven, make sure you're taking full advantage of this incredible piece of equipment by expanding your pizza oven activities from simply savory into the world of sweets.

Plenty of bakers have discovered the brilliance of baking a loaf of bread in a wood-fired pizza oven, but you can maximize the energy put into pizza-making (both your personal energy and the wood or propane used to fuel the oven) by making all kinds of baked goods in your pizza oven both before and after cooking your pizza. Because these ovens can reach high temperatures of almost 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, your dessert will be ready in just a matter of minutes! That's perfect for busy weeknights or lazy weekends when all you want to do is have something sweet — and fast.

The one tool you need to satisfy every sweet tooth craving

In addition to your usual pizza oven tools, all you need is a cast iron skillet in order to bake infinite different desserts. From cakes to cookies to pies to pastries of all kinds, there are skillet recipes for every craving, ranging from chocolatey to fruity to nutty and beyond. If you want to start with something simple, try baking a chocolate chip cookie, citrus galette, or a classic chocolate cake in your cast iron skillet.

Baking a skillet dessert is also an excellent way to enjoy whatever fruit is currently in season. In spring, you may want to try a strawberry shortcake, and in summer, a blueberry pie. Autumn is the ideal moment to make an apple crisp (or a more elaborate tarte tatin) while winter is the perfect time for a sunny citrus cake. For a little something lighter, you can also bake or poach your fruits (such as pears) in mulled wine right in your pizza oven.

Making the dessert pizza of your dreams

For the truly pizza-obsessed, you can choose to follow up your main course pizza with a dessert pizza. As with savory pizzas, the sky's the limit when it comes to sweet varieties. When considering how to craft your dream dessert pizza, remember that you can experiment with all three parts of the pizza: the dough, the sauce, and the toppings. When you're just starting out, you might want to stick with a classic pizza dough recipe, but if you're ready to try something new, you can incorporate cocoa powder, citrus zest, or spices, like cinnamon, into the dough.

Certain cheeses make a great addition to dessert pizzas, especially soft and sweet cheeses, like ricotta and mascarpone. These can sometimes act as a kind of sauce on their own or be used as a topping over your favorite creamy spreads, like Nutella, chocolate ganache, or your favorite nut butter. Nuts are a great addition if you want a little something crunchy while fresh fruits and herbs, such as mint or basil, add a lovely, brightening flavor.