Thursday, January 30, 2014

Cauliflower Crust for Pizza


Have you been noticing that there is a lot of buzz about alternative pizza crusts? Gluten free, whole wheat, cauliflower, zucchini, and spinach are a few that I have seen recently and have thought about trying. Now I haven't even made traditional pizza crust yet since I love the pizza we get from our local place, but it's on my list. But first I wanted to try a cauliflower crust pizza.

My sister made a cauliflower crust pizza the week before I did and had some good tips to share, so I followed the recipe she recommended. Her tips are noted throughout this post.           
One thing we both agree on is the use of the word pizza when talking about this "crust." If you think about this being like a pizza, or the perfect substitute for traditional pizza dough, you will be disappointed. The crust does crisp up a bit, but not enough to trick you into thinking you are holding a piece of pizza. The consistency and texture, to me anyway, were more like that of these polenta tartlettes.
Making these does take a lot of time, but the steps are simple ones. Basically you run your cauliflower through a food processor to rice it, cook it, drain it, squeeze out the liquid (and there will be a LOT of liquid), mix it with eggs and cheese, form the crust, bake, add toppings, and bake again. Time consuming but easy.
Now, my husband completely disagrees with me (completely!), but I was happy with these. I think I could have shaped them a bit better, and maybe kept them thicker on the edges, but overall I liked the flavor. I think I was happier with my crust because I didn't stick to sauce and cheese as my toppings like he did. This isn't a traditional crust so using traditional toppings wasn't appealing to me. Instead I used caramelized onions, sautéed spinach and tomatoes, and a bit of mozzarella.




If you are curious about these, definitely give them a try. While they won't completely satisfy your pizza craving, they are fun and different. And to get everyone in your family into trying them, make individual crusts instead of one large crust so each pizza can be individualized. If you make them, please let me know what you think!

Cauliflower Crust
Ingredients
  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup soft goat cheese (chevre) (I used shredded mozzarella)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • pinch of salt
Directions (In my own words)
  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a cookie/baking sheet with parchment paper. Don't go without the parchment paper!
  • Wash the cauliflower and chop into florets. "Rice" it in batches in a food processor; see pictures above for the consistency.
  • Once you have riced all of the cauliflower, fill a large pot with 1 inch of water and bring it to a boil. Add the cauliflower and let it cook 4-5 minutes. Drain it through a fine-mesh strainer and then transfer to a clean dish towel.
  • This step is very important - the cauliflower rice will hold a lot of liquid. Wrap the towel around the cauliflower and squeeze to get rid of the extra water. I squeezed for a good 2 minutes.
  • Transfer the cauliflower rice to a large bowl. Add the egg, cheese, salt, and oregano. Mix well and a dough will begin to form (I started with a wooden spoon but then used my hands - it's unlike any dough you've ever worked with).
  • Once you get the dough consistency you want, press it onto the parchment paper. You want the crusts to be 1/3" thick. As the original author recommends, you can raise the edges a little so it looks like a real crust.
  • Bake 40 minutes until it is golden brown and crispy.
  • Remove from the oven, add your toppings and bake for a few minutes until your cheese is melted and the toppings are hot. Serve immediately.
 
 
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1 comment:

  1. So glad you liked it!! I've also read that using a bit of almond flour (which you can make by putting almonds in the food processor, or buy it at Trader Joes) can give the crust slightly more of a bread flavor.

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