This week I reached out for something old made new again — the Ultimate Cheesy Crust Pizza — from the ultimate king of pizza, Pizza Hut with 6,300 locations across the U.S. and another 10,000 restaurants around the world. Quite simply, Pizza Hut makes, sells, and delivers more pizza than anybody else. By far.
It's something old because the Hut introduced a similar product called Crazy Cheesy Crust Pizza back in 2013. So the name is new, Ultimate Cheesy Crust Pizza, and thanks to Pizza Hut's new "oven hot delivery system," the pizza arrives on your doorstep 15 degrees hotter than in 2013. Global warming — bad. Pizza warming —yum. There's also new Pizza Hut swag, including holiday cards, pizza mugs, pizza strings lights, and pizza blankets that customers can win by tweeting to Pizza Hut with the hashtag #TisTheCheesen.
Here's the Ultimate Cheesy Crust Pizza breakdown: a large one-topping pie surrounded by 16 pockets stuffed with a blend of five cheeses.
Total calories: 350 (per slice of pepperoni pizza). Fat grams: 13. Sodium: 920 mg. Carbs: 28 g. Dietary fiber: 1 g. Protein: 14 g. Manufacturer's suggested retail price: $12.99. Your mileage may vary.
The gimmick is the ring of cheese pockets, each looking like a mini-bread bowl bubbling with a gooey blend of five cheeses: mozzarella, provolone, white Cheddar, asiago, and fontina. Do five cheeses combine for a better pizza flavor than just reliable, plain old, time-honored mozzarella? Would anybody notice if the Hut left out fontina or asiago? Probably not, but I've never torn apart a 5-bean salad to make sure kidney beans were there as advertised, even though I don't like kidney beans. They sound too anatomical.
The cheese pockets detach from the pizza with a gentle tug. There are 16 pockets, two per slice, plenty for everybody. But like crowded tourist attractions, beware of pickpockets. There's one in every family, you know, baby brother who'll grab the last slice with no remorse or conscience.
You can either eat the pockets first, or last, or save them for later. The pockets surround the pizza like cheese poppers. They don't sit on top of the crust - they are the crust. So there's no crust for finicky children to throw back into the box. If you're a crust scavenger, you're out of luck. Note, the one-topping you choose does not cover the cheese pockets, just the inner circle.
Ultimate Cheesy Crust Pizza only comes in large — one size fills all. A Pizza Hut large pie is 14 inches across, cut into eight slices. Pizza Hut introduced Stuffed Crust Pizza in 1995, and cheese fanatics delighted. Critics thought, "that's it" — no way could the Hut top Stuffed Crust for sheer cheese tonnage. Now comes the Ultimate, with even more of the gooey treasure, a remarkable a-cheese-ment any way you slice it.