Monday, March 11, 2013

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

The first time I heard of cauliflower pizza crust I could not believe it. Too divine to be true! For me, pizza is all about the cheese; the dough is merely commentary. Therefore, to be able to consume my dairy goodness without the hundreds of calories from a superfluous crust? Redemption!

Problem: The majority of the recipes provided by Google called for a cup of cheese. Um, I'm trying to make my pizza less sinful. How is a cup of cheese in the crust, plus whatever goes on top, helping matters? 

With a little more scouring I was able to dig up a few that were cheese-free.

To the kitchen! 

First, to grate the cauliflower, or (which makes a lot more sense) pulse in a food processor until it takes on a grain-like consistency (not mush). Next, to suck the water out of it. Some say to wrap it up in a dish towel and squeeze, but that seems rather messy to me. Alternately, steam. Can do. 

Now, to make the "dough." The recipe I was relying called for one egg, and some seasonings. Oven at 350. I hummingly popped it in. 

Flop. The crust fell apart beneath the slightest pressure, merely a glorified kugel. My nieces, who had been looking quite expectant, flashed me rather dirty looks.

For a week I obsessed over where I went wrong. Every recipe makes it sound effortless! My dreams were haunted by cauliflower florets, cackling. I could barely contain myself for the next attempt.

Beneath a cauliflower crust recipe on a blog, a commenter left her method, which is to put the cauliflower "rice" into a dehydrator for a few hours. To dehydrate anything, the oven on the lowest setting is a viable alternative. The lowest my oven can go is 170 degrees. 

What I realized is that the cauliflower needs the water sucked out, rendering it dry instead of cooked. In order to have a compact pizza slice that can stand on its own two feet—as Jon Stewart insists, pizza MUST be eaten with hands, rather than a knife and fork—all dampness should be eradicated.

I got the original recipe idea from a few online recipes, but this one was very helpful. 

Cauliflower Crust Pizza  

1/2 cauliflower head
1 egg
Seasonings (pepper, salt, garlic power, etc, etc, even sauteed minced garlic)

1) Roughly chop of cauliflower and put it in the food processor, pulsing until like fine grains, but not mush (one can also hand-grate it).

2) Set oven on lowest possible setting (mine is 170 degrees, but 200 should be fine). 

3) Evenly spread the "riced" cauliflower on a pan (I put mine on parchment paper atop a baking sheet) and place in the oven. 

4) Open the oven from time to time to release steam, and stir the "rice" once or twice so it will be evenly dehydrated.

5) After an hour or so, the "rice" should be dry-ish. Remove from oven and place in a bowl. 

6) Raise oven to 400. 

7) Add the egg and spices to "rice" and stir. (I use my hands) 

8) Grease a pan (good ol' Pam) or parchment paper (atop a baking sheet). Now, one can choose to make a large pizza or keep them personal-sized. Shape the mixture hands into circle, square, rectangle, breadsticks, what have you. Flatten to desired thickness, but not too thin. 

9) Pop in the oven for 15-30 minutes. About 15 minutes through, it will probably be cooked thoroughly enough that can be flipped over and remain one piece, but that shouldn't be necessary.       

Now, a crust to love whatever way you will! 

In the below photo, I had finely chopped mushrooms, sauteed them with alfalfa sprouts, topped with cheese, and broiled it in the oven for a minute. Bee-you-tee-full.   
AND, the crust was firm enough to hold in the hand, meeting Jon Stewart Criteria

A few other recipes I had found called for Greek yogurt as well to be in the crust mixture; if one feels so inclined, lob some in there.

Another perk? It's Pesach-dik!


Mighty Garnel Ironheart said...

Pizza is the perfect food. With veggie pepperoni on top it has all 4 food groups.

FrumGeek said...

Meh. I'll only eat plain pizza. Won't even have whole wheat if I can help it. (and it's weird, bc for sandwichs and hot dogs and the like, I prefer whole wheat.)

Princess Lea said...

Can't I get a GIRL to comment and squeal, "OMG, this sounds awesome"? Cha, men.

The Beckster said...

Princess Lea: I'm THAT girl coming to the rescue! This looks ah-mazing. Would love to try-especially for Pesach.

Princess Lea said...

THANK you! Why am I getting male comments on dietetic food?

Unknown said...

Yeah, why should MEN be commenting? Men can't want to have a healthier diet but also have a crippling love affair with pizza!

Also, doesn't matter what people actually think. I need a WOMAN to vacuously squeal with delight at my post before ever even trying it!