Breakfast: great. Pizza: greater. Breakfast pizza: GREATEST. You guys have requested it, and we are SO glad you did. So today, the BREAKFAST PIZZA CHALLENGE is on! Bring it.
We've both got some pretty awesome flavors in the works here, and some pretty wacky recipes... What do you think? Who will earn the title of Breakfast Pizza Champion?!
Rules of the Challenge:
- Create a tantalizing pizza, made of the ultimate, delicious breakfast ingredients.
- Design your breakfast pizza with the other person in mind, considering their tastes and preferences. Alyssia has to make the greatest breakfast pizza for Christian, and Christian has to make the number-one breakfast pizza for Alyssia.
- Breakfast pizza recipes CANNOT be discussed with one another prior to cooking.
- Competitors have exactly ONE HOUR in which to complete their supreme breakfast pizzas.
- The winner will be decided by YOU: our fellow pizza freaks. Who made the more considerate pizza?! Votes are to be cast in the form of comments on the YouTube video.
Go watch the episode so you can cast your vote! Before you do, be sure to read each of our rationales that are shared below, explaining all of the considerations that went into our breakfast pizzas. You can also check out our recipes (or attempted recipes) if you’d like to try them out. Remember, base your vote on both:
- the perceived deliciousness of the pizza
- the competitor’s consideration of the other person
We love breakfast on a pizza, and we love pizza for breakfast. If you’re a true pizza freak, the notion of pizza for breakfast isn’t a new one—it’s a plain delicious one. Who can deny it? Pizza’s been enjoyed for breakfast (and lunch and dinner) for centuries! All the way back in ancient times!
Pizza: The Breakfast of Champions
The first meal after waking up in Ancient Greece was called akratisma, which included barley bread dipped in wine, maybe some figs or olives, as well as several pancake-like dishes. One of them, known as staititas, was made from a spelt flour dough, eerily like a pizza crust. And, to top it all off: it’s said that this ‘pancake’ was topped with honey, sesame…and cheese! Not only were the Greeks among the first to dabble in the pizza realm, but they were also having it for breakfast?! (AND with honey nonetheless?!) Nothing short of genius.
But, like we talked about last week, this wasn’t technically known as “pizza” yet. It wasn’t until the 16th century when pizza started making an official name for itself in Naples, Italy. Unsurprisingly, Italian pizza pioneers embraced pizza’s breakfast-friendliness. Though it was considered a “peasant’s dish” at first, pizza became so popular that it was soon sold on the streets round-the-clock—lunch, dinner, and breakfast.
Customer’s lined up to watch the pizzaioli (pizza bakers) shape the dough in their stalls. Slices were cut and served from a giant tray, community style, and the pies were most often topped with mushrooms and anchovies. Who cares if you had anchovy breath in the morning? Wash it down with some more pizza for lunch. That’d be our motto, anyway.
Breakfast Ain't What It Used to Be
In fact, breakfast used to be dinner! (Now there’s a mind melt for ya.) In Old English, the word for dinner—disner—means “to break a fast” and referred to the first meal of the day. But, in the Middle Ages that started to shift towards the much more literal term: breakfast. Why’d this happen?
Well, what we know as breakfast today was pretty nonexistent in Europe during medieval times. Generally, there were only 2 meals eaten in a day: at mid-day (a light dinner) and in the evening (a heartier supper). In fact, eating too early in the day was actually looked down upon as gluttonous and overindulgent. (“How dare ye eat the breakfast (pizza)?!”) If you were eating breakfast back then, you were either a child, sick, poor, or a laborer, and many people were ashamed to eat breakfast because it was seen as a sign of weakness.
That whole “most important meal of the day” spiel hadn’t quite come around yet… Eventually, breakfast became more common—first among workers, then among noble men, and then among the masses. Truth be told, Europe became a whole lot more open to the idea of breakfast by the 16th century, once caffeine in the form of coffee and tea came onto the scene! Since then, breakfast has taken on countless forms across the world, from the insanely scrumptious to the wickedly weird.
A World of Weird Breakfasts
Eggs and toast, cereal and milk, pancakes and syrup—these are classics in the Western world, but the world of breakfasts is vast and peculiar. Check out some of the crazy ways that we break the fast across the globe, some of which sound pretty pizza-licious…
- Bulgaria: Banitza—flaky filo pastry made with eggs and feta cheese! Sounds kinda like a breakfast pizza to us…
- Netherlands: Hagelslag—toast with a spread of butter, Nutella, speculoos, or peanut butter, that’s topped with SPRINKLES. We say: dessert pizza.
- Philippines: Pan de Sal—“salt bread,” that’s topped with butter, jam, or even Cheese Whiz! (Close to pizza-ish?)
- Mexico: Chilaquiles—tortilla chips doused in sauce, sprinkled with cheese, and topped with an egg. Breakfast nacho pizza?! We can dig it.
- Colombia: Pandebono—cheese bread! ‘Nuff said.
- Lebanon: Manakish—flatbread flavored with za-atar (a spice mixture), sometimes topped with cheese, and served with tomatoes. Now THAT’S pizza for breakfast, folks.
In the U.S., breakfast pizza is a full-blown phenomenon by now, and we couldn’t be happier about it. Check out our interpretations of this delectable dish, and see how we tried to woo each other with our pizza-fied breakfasts.
The Sausage-Pocket Waffle Pizza
Alyssia's Breakfast Pizza for Christian:
When I think about Christian and breakfast, biscuits and gravy pops into my head immediately, so I knew I had to incorporate it in my breakfast challenge pizza! I wanted to get creative with the crust—since I was already going the “biscuits & gravy” route, I decided to use the biscuits as the crust base, and went with Pillsbury flaky layers since they are Christian’s absolute favorite. I took it to the next level by adding a slice of Christian’s favorite sharp cheddar cheese, along with some of the sausage from the gravy, in between two flattened biscuits, and then using the waffle iron to cook! I guess I wasn’t as creative as I thought, because Christian ALSO used the waffle iron for the pizza base of his challenge pizza…
Admittedly, mine turned out to be a much more functional pizza. It did have the essential crust, sauce, cheese, and toppings components, but did it look like a pizza? Ehhh…more like a breakfast waffle. My pizza did taste delicious, and was perhaps more considered in terms of flavor profile, but I do ultimately wish the pizza I made had more of the crunch Christian’s pizza had—even if his was from burning the crap out of it! Breakfast is my favorite meal and pizza is my favorite food, so it would ultimately be very difficult to disappoint me with this challenge.
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 package (9.6oz ) Jimmy Dean original hearty pork sausage
- 1/3 cup flour
- 3-4 c whole milk
- 1/2 tsp salt
- pepper, to taste
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 can Pillsbury flaky layers biscuits (2 biscuits for the recipe)
- 1 slice cheddar cheese
- 2-3 Tbsp sausage from your sausage gravy
- sausage gravy as “sauce”
- shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- avocado slices
- fried egg
- tater tots, cooked as “pepperonis”
- First, make the gravy. Add sausage to a skillet and brown in a single layer over medium high heat until cooked through and no longer pink. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
- Gradually sprinkle on the flour and stir so that the sausage soaks it all up. Add the milk, stirring constantly as it thickens (the whole thickening process will take 10 to 12 minutes).
- Add salt and pepper to your liking and continue cooking until thick and delicious. If it gets too thick, add a splash of milk and integrate.
- Roll out 2 flaky layers biscuits, until they’re about 5 to 6 inches in diameter and around ¼ of an inch thick.
- Place a slice of cheese on top of one biscuit, along with a few tablespoons of the sausage from the gravy. Top with another flattened biscuit.
- Press the biscuit “pocket” in a preheated waffle iron.
- Top off your cooked waffle crust with sausage gravy “sauce” and your favorite toppings—I used shredded cheddar cheese, avocado, tater tots, and a fried egg!
The Crispy Cheesy Carb-o-waffled Pizza
Christian's Breakfast Pizza for Alyssia:
So my first instinct when crafting Alyssia’s number one breakfast pizza was… how much cheese can I use? Much like myself, she’s a big cheese freak. We’ve always bonded over breakfast food, so a breakfast pizza challenge was a great idea. The other main component I knew I’d have to have was good old hash browns, something the ultimate breakfast couldn’t be complete without. So my plan was to take bacon slices and lay them out into a grid and cook them up in the waffle maker. This part worked…mostly.
I also cooked up some cheesy hash browns which are REALLY hard to mess up, so that went smoothly. It all started to go wrong when I decided to cook the biscuits inside the waffle iron (an idea we both happened to come up with). So I threw some biscuits into the waffle iron, along with my bacon grid and cheesy hash browns. When I went to open it, it was all stuck to the iron and gross, likely because of the bacon grease. So I had to scrape it all out and finish it off in the oven, where it burned even more…
I topped it off with a fried egg, so I’d used all of Alyssia’s favorite breakfast ingredients, but the execution was not great. Alyssia made sausage gravy and her breakfast pizza was executed PERFECTLY. And that gravy was F&$%#@ delicious!!! I would make hers again every day if I could. Mine? Well, don’t try this one at home. But, in case you really want to, here’s the “recipe.”
- 1 Tbsp butter
- ½ package (10 oz.) frozen hash browns
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese—half for cheesy hash browns, half for topping
- onion salt, to taste (or your favorite seasoning!)
- 3 slices bacon, cut in half (to fit waffle iron)
- 4 Pillsbury flaky layers biscuits
- fried egg
- In a large pan over medium heat, melt butter. Add hash browns, spread out over pan, then add cheese. Season to taste.
- Allow to cook 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Pre-heat waffle iron.
- Cut your bacon slices to fit across your waffle iron. Spray surfaces of waffle iron with cooking spray, layer on bacon strips, and close the lid. Allow to cook 3-5 minutes. (Monitor to be sure they don’t start smoking!)
- Carefully remove bacon slices from waffle iron and place on a plate. Allow waffle iron to preheat again.
- Once preheated, spray BOTH SIDES of the waffle iron again (IMPORTANT!! I neglected this step…)
- Place 1 Pillsbury flaky layers biscuit onto each of the 4 quadrants of the waffle iron. Top with cooked bacon “grid” and cheesy hash browns. (You can top with more fresh cheese if you ‘d like, or check out the episode to see how that turned out for me…)
- Close waffle iron lid and allow to cook 3-5 minutes. Watch it closely to prevent it from burning!
- Once cooked, your breakfast pizza may or may not stick to the waffle iron and fall apart. If it does, I recommend scraping it free with a rubber spatula, then tossing everything back together on a pizza pan. Even if your waffle pizza doesn’t fall apart, I recommend putting it on a pan, topping it with fresh cheese, and putting it in the oven to broil for a few quick minutes!
- Once your cheese is melty, top that bad boy off with a fried egg, serve with ketchup, and enjoy eating the breakfast pizza!
- Admittedly, this recipe could use some work.