Neapolitan Pizza's Origins As A Dessert Pie

Before the early 1900s, "pizza" didn't refer to the crust, tomato, and cheese combo. It broadly defined flat, baked, and flour-based foods in Italian. Cheese pizza was originally a street snack and popular among the poor since it was cheap. The rich disliked it because the poor ate it. 

Because of its Naples origins, pizza had many detractors. In the mid-1800s, Naples was overcrowded and full of trade, making cholera spread swiftly. Other Italians disliked the city's reputation, and pizza was included. 

By the mid-1800s, there were many low-cost, local alternatives to dessert custard, including tomatoes (thanks to the colonisation of the Americas) and basil, garlic with lard, horse-milk cheese, and even small fish like anchovies and sardines.

Despite sharing a name, the sweet dessert pie and the Neapolitan pizza we love are unrelated. The major thing they share? Using local ingredients.

Italian Neapolitan pizza features a chewy, almost burnt crust due to baking procedures. These pizzas are baked at 900 degrees Fahrenheit for about a minute and a half, so the heat is noticeable. 

Neapolitan pizza makers emphasise dough. One Los Angeles chef and Neapolitan pizzeria owner told Smithsonian Magazine, "Everything is about the dough." This dough only requires water, salt, yeast, and wheat flour.

Neapolitan pizzas frequently have tomato sauce, mozzarella pieces, and basil leaves because the dough is so important. Pizza and all its toppings are enjoyed worldwide, not just in Naples.

Sticklers argue only Neapolitan pizza made with the newly conventional methods and ingredients is authentic pizza—the original custard pie with the same name doesn't qualify.