BY JEN KENT | PHOTO BY DAVID SZYMANSKI
Like many of the pies on Wy’East’s menu, the deschiutto is named for a landmark within the Cascade Range. “The name ‘deschiutto’ is a play off of the Deschutes River and (the word) prosciutto,” explains Ann Brock, who co-owns the pizzeria with her husband, James Durawa. The pair opened Wy’East in May 2016, three years after relocating back to Milwaukee from Portland, Ore.
Served only on Wednesdays and Sundays, the deschiutto is the proverbial “wild card” on Wy’East’s menu — an opportunity for Brock and Durawa to experiment with new meats and ingredients. Its composition changes seasonally, but the summertime version, shown here, is topped with creamy Montchevre goat cheese, salty prosciutto imported from Italy, a sprinkle of fresh pea shoots and SA Braai chutney, a Milwaukee-made blend of dried fruit that adds a touch of sweetness. Come fall, the deschiutto will likely transform into a prosciutto and pear pie, notes Brock.
The true star of the pie, however, is its foundation: the crust. Much of its flavor is developed during the dough’s 16-hour fermentation period, Durawa says. “The yeast is slowly converting those sugars and flour to carbon dioxide,” he adds, “and all the magic happens in the fermenting process.”
Once assembled, the pie is slipped into Wy’East’s gas-fired, 800-degree oven, where it cooks for up to five minutes. The heat caramelizes and chars the dough, creating a perfectly chewy yet crunchy crust that can stand on its own or host a handful of toppings. 5601 W. Vliet St., (414) 943-3278, wyeastpizza.com