Gusto Lytham serves a novel dessert
When it comes to a weekend treat, not much can beat the cheesy, doughy delights of a freshly baked pizza.
Whether your taste is American-style deep pan or classic Italian, wafer-thin base, everyone has their topping of choice.
But the nearest we get to something sweet on the top is the sometimes controversial pineapple of a Hawaiian, with ham.
So if you’re one of those who decries the fruity addition, look away now.
For one of the Fylde coast’s newest restaurants, Gusto in Lytham, is pushing the boundaries even further, with an unusual twist on the folded calzone pizza – think Cornish pasty with an Italian slant.
How does Nutella sound rather than the regulation tomato sauce, and creamy mascarpone instead of cheese?
Since the Cheshire-based brand arrived on the Fylde coast in April, the dessert dish Nutella and mascarpone calzone has got the tongues wagging.
Customers have munched their way through a 3kg tub of the delicious chocolate-hazelnut spread each week, restaurant bosses claim.
Gusto Lytham’s general manager Anna Whalan said: “Customers who have never tried it are intrigued.
“You can see them looking puzzled when studying the menu.
“They ask you what it’s like and whether we are joking, but once they have ordered it and tried it they are truly wowed.
“It has become a firm favourite here in Lytham.”
The dish was developed 11 years ago by Dylan Thomas, Gusto Didsbury’s head chef, and 400 to 500 are served up in their 15 restaurants each week.
Is made with Gusto pizza dough packed with Nutella and mascarpone and takes just three minutes to cook.
Intrigued Gazette entertainment writer Anna Cryer and Steven Croft, the Blackpool-born skipper of County Championship leaders Lancashire Cricket Club, decided to not only taste it but have a go at cooking their own.
Gusto Lytham chef Tom Woollam made it look so easy, working the smooth and proven dough out to make an almost paper-thin base for the dessert, teasing it ever thinner while using the dough’s own weight to stretch it over the edge of a cool marble worktop.
And thank goodness for that magical marble, as the job was being carried out in front of the restaurant’s stone pizza oven – raging at around 400C even at 10 in the morning.
Getting a neat circle for the base takes something of a knack, one I certainly didn’t grasp, but with the edges trimmed and sealed for a calzone it wasn’t too important that my own attempt wasn’t quite perfect.
Dolloping a generous spoonful – plus a little more for good measure – of both Nutella and mascarpone on to the base, I channelled my own West Country roots when it came to crimping the edges. Like I said, calzone’s the Cornish pasty’s Italian cousin and I’ve certainly studied enough pasties in my time to have an idea how to seal the deal.
Steven, meanwhile, it turns out, has past form with pizza, as a teenage waiter, so he was a dab hand at sliding the sweet treat into that furnace oven, and within moments the parcel was puffing up in the searing heat.
Chef Tom was impressed with our efforts too, claiming it had been a bigger success than the demonstration he had baked, as it puffed up thanks to the steam created within the parcel.
Plated up with some cool vanilla ice cream and drizzled with maple syrup – as if there’s not enough sweetness – the calzone really is delicious.
The chocolatey, creamy centre oozes when the light pastry case is cut open, but there’s enough of a tang to the mascarpone to stop it all being a bit much.
It’d take some doing to polish off a whole one after a meal, but that makes it a romantic option for couples or a fun nibble for friends.
Steven has also been won over.
“I was in Gusto with my wife a few weeks ago, saw the Nutella calzone on the menu and was intrigued,” he said.
“We ordered one and it was stunning.
“After seeing how it’s made, how simple it is, it’s really original – I’ll definitely being ordering it again.”