All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013
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If you read this blog with any regularity, you know I am obsessed with cauliflower. It can be used to replace or replicate so many things and is inexpensive & free of so many things many people are trying to avoid, like carbs, calories & gluten. This pizza crust was not my first attempt at using cauliflower as a base for pizza but, the last time I tried it, I wasn’t blogging so the results were never made public. The results were that it tasted good but I thought it used too much cheese & felt like it was worse for you than regular pizza dough.
This crust is lighter & smelled incredible cooking, but it was a tad moist for my taste & didn’t set together as well as I’d hoped. In fairness, no cauliflower crust is going to fool anyone into thinking they are eating a standard issue pizza on dough but this one still isn’t perfected. I did dump a lot of wet ingredients on it (sliced tomatoes & fresh mozzarella) and that definitely contributed to the moisture factor. Still, I could pick it up & eat it like a slice – just not a crispy one.
The cooking time on this one will likely vary for everyone – depending on the calibration of your oven & how much moisture you manage to squeeze out of the cooked cauliflower rice & how thick you make your crust. I kept going in five minute increments from the initial 25 minute cooking time I guessed at until it looked like this:
I then transferred it (and tore it in the process) to this wire pizza rack thing I have – hoping the vented rack would allow the oven to dry the crust out more. It looks like this:
It didn’t really help. Next time – I might start with the wire rack & cook the dough on parchment atop that & see if it impacts the crispness of the crust.
All that said – this pizza crust was very tasty & even my dogs gobbled up the cauliflower crust I gave them. That might seem obvious to you but my Dexter is a very finicky eater. So – I do not want to discourage you from trying this. The spices I added were sort of random. You can use the ones I did or not – or you can add some of your own. Rosemary might be nice!
The pizza you see here that I made is finished with a tomato sauce, fresh tomato, fresh mozzarella & basil on one side & my Chard Pesto (which I recommend VERY highly) on the other. You can top your crust any way you like.
Cauliflower Pizza Crust
1 medium head cauliflower
1 egg – beaten
4 oz. goat cheese
1 TBS dry oregano
1 TBS dry parsley
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
Heat your oven to 400 degrees.
Chop your cauliflower & then either pulse it in your food processor (or, as I did, use the grater blade) and reduce the cauliflower to a rice-like consistency. A regular cheese grater will work, too, but one of the drawbacks to cauliflower is that it pops everywhere when you cut it raw & it gets messy. Still – the rice cauliflower can be achieved with just a regular cheese grater.
Boil about an inch of water in a large stock pot. Boil the cauliflower for about 5 minutes. Drain it through a fine mesh sieve. Cool it with cold water & then, in batches, wrap it is a clean kitchen towel & twist it tighter & tighter – squeezing out every bit of water you can.
In a large bowl, beat the egg then add all the remaining ingredients, including the cauliflower. With your hands, completely blend the ingredients into a moist dough.
Line your pizza pan with parchment paper or REALLY grease it. I suggest the paper – but in a pinch – grease will work. I just fear it will stick to the pan on you. No need to grease the parchment, though. Press your dough into your pizza’s shape – even creating the deep crust on the edges, if you like. Your pizza dough should be about 1/3 inch thick or so in the flat part.
Bake this for about 30-45 minutes – watching it carefully because it will go from not done to burned in a flash. When it reaches a nice golden color take it out of the oven. Top it with your toppings & cook until your cheese is melted. Voila!