Cute doesn't begin to describe these adorable little Valentine's Day edibles.
You know what says “Valentine’s Day” to me? Pizza. Specifically, mini pizza cakes. Even more specifically, mini heart-shaped pizza cakes. Am I right?
If you're going to layer delicious dough, sauce, cheese and toppings in cupcake form, shaped like a heart just for me – I know it’s love.
The inspiration for this romantic gesture is this fantastic pizza cake. Each can of Pillsbury pizza crust makes three pizza cupcakes.
Preheat your oven to 400ºF. Open the Pillsbury pizza crust, unroll it and use your fingers to press the dough flatter. I placed a piece of parchment paper under the dough so it wouldn’t stick. The finished rectangle should be about 16 x 8 inches.
Cut out 6 circles on one side of the dough. Keep the circles close together, because you’ll need the other half of the dough, too. My ramekins are 2 3/4 inches across on the bottom, so I used a circle cutter just smaller than that, 2 1/2 inches. You can also use a glass to cut the dough if you don’t have a circle cutter, or make a paper template 1/4 inch smaller than the bottom of your ramekins and cut out circles with a sharp knife.
And here’s a tip to cut out that stretched dough: Press the cutter firmly on the dough, then, while pressing against the counter, rotate it quickly back and forth. Save the dough scraps -- you might need them later.
Once you have your 6 circles, cut out small triangles to make a wedge opening in each circle. You’ll have cute little Pac-Mans™. Place these on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake in the preheated oven for 8 minutes. Let them cool enough to handle. But don’t turn the oven off just yet!
Meanwhile, prepare your ramekins. Take a piece of foil about 8 inches long. Roll it up and fold it over a couple times, then smush it a bit with your fingers to make a wedge. Place it against the side of a ramekin and spray the inside of the ramekin with cooking spray, foil and all.
Use a pizza roller (hey, that’s fitting!) to cut a strip from the dough about 8 inches long by 2 1/2 inches tall. Or, a couple inches longer than the circumference of your ramekin and an inch taller.
Wrap the strip around the inside of the ramekin and around the foil. It might seem awkward, but get in there with your fingers and smush that dough up against the sides of the ramekin to make your heart shape. Fold the top of the dough over the top edges of the ramekin. Repeat with the other two ramekins.
Now you’re ready to fill! Take a baked circle – it will probably be misshapen from the oven, don’t worry about that – and jam it into the bottom of a ramekin. Seriously, just jam it right in there.
Top with a heaping teaspoon of pizza or pasta sauce, cover with a big pinch of shredded mozzarella cheese, and add any toppings you like. Now, repeat: Jam another circle in there, top with more sauce, cheese and toppings. Then repeat with the rest of the ramekins.
And here is the tricky and somewhat unpredictable part: making sure these look like hearts. I had a lot of trial and error here, and the best way is to simply take the excess dough around the top of the ramekin and do your best to roll it, pinch it, and shape it into a heart.
If any part of the edge is too thin, you can take a bit of the dough scraps and add some more. Just be flexible and work with it!
Place the ramekins in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the sides are cooked. They'll each turn out a bit different from each other – rustic and imperfectly adorable – just like true love.
Serve 'em up while they're nice and warm!