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~ Mel's Great-Big Cauliflower Pizza Crust Experiment ~

IMG_8009In crust I trust, but, in the case of the two bloatedly-overpriced-at-almost-$9.00 cauliflower pizza crusts I purchased (on a whim just to get a taste-in-my-mouth for what all the buzz is about), I'd rather eat cardboard.  In my food world, in order to avoid eating compromising crap, I eat less of the things I love before cutting-back on carbs, or worse, cutting-out gluten completely.  "Once you get used to them, they're pretty good", is not a retort to my comments, so stuff it.  The only way to justify this type of ingredient-specific-deprivation requires a diagnosis from a doctor.

My great disappointment by the store-bought cauliflower pizza crusts should not be confused with a dislike for cauliflower.

I love cauliflower, I love it raw, steamed, mashed, broiled and braised.  I love its chameleon-like ability to adapt to almost any culinary application -- even roasting.  I make a sumptuous cream-of-cauliflower soup too.  I won't lie, when I started hearing about the growing popularity of cauliflower pizza crusts, I was (with good reason) skeptical -- as a very good and knowledgeable home cook, the concept of making a traditional pizza crust without flour and the requisite yeast, conjured up problems.  As one who makes plenty of pizza from store-bought flatbreads too (using bobboli, naan, pita, tortillas and English muffins), the "no wheat flour rule" is disturbing.  Why? With flour and yeast, cauliflower could be incorporated to make a remarkably good crust.    

Will it taste remarkably better if I make one from scratch?

IMG_8036It should, and I truly hope it will, but know I wasn't going to waste a lot of time and energy coming up with my own before doing some proper research, which revealed:  There are lot of recipes "out there", with the majority being gluten-free and no carb-too, which is indeed what all the buzz is about.  That said, comments on said recipes were riddled with complaints about recipes that were soggy or sticky, and, the all-important chew-factor results reported crusts that fell apart so badly they required eating with knife-and-fork, to, crusts that were overly-chewy and rubberlike.     

Then I came across one on -- a site I consider very reputable with well-written, kitchen-tested recipes.  I'm putting theirs to my test today.  Why?  Because it's not peddling a special-diet recipe, it's touting a great-tasting, easy-to-make cauliflower pizza crust with a texture resemblant of a traditional, yeast-based wheat crust.  It's a middle-of-the-road approach that, while gluten-free, adds just enough carbohydrates, in the form of corn flour, to produce a desirable texture.  It promised: a chewy, tender, breadlike-textured thin-crust pizza (meaning not light, airy) with a predominately dried corn-kernel tortilla-like taste.

Let's bake one & see (mostly their recipe w/a touch of a la Melanie):

IMG_79217  ounces cauliflower florets, weighed (about 2 cups), rough-chopped into 1/2" pieces

1/2  cup corn flour (masa harina)

1  large egg

2  tablespoons olive oil

1/2  teaspoon each: Italian seasoning blend, garlic powder, coarse-grind black pepper and sea salt

2  tablespoons cornstarch

4  ounces finely-grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 generous cup)

IMG_7927 IMG_7927~ Step 1.  Preheat oven to 450º with the oven rack positioned in the upper third.  Line a 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pan with parchment and coat the parchment with a layer of no-stick cooking spray.  Set aside. Using a microplane grater, grate a 4-ounce piece of Parmesan cheese, or, cut it into cubes and process it in the work bowl of food processor fitted with a steel blade, using a series of 45-60 rapid on-off pulses.  Set aside.

IMG_7923 IMG_7923 IMG_7932 IMG_7932 IMG_7932 IMG_7932 IMG_7932 IMG_7932~Step 2.  To prepare the dough, weigh cauliflower florets and rough chop as directed, placing in the work-bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade.  Add the corn flour, egg, olive oil and dry spices.  With motor running, process until a smooth, sticky purée forms, about 2 1/2-3 minutes, stopping to scrape down the inside of the work bowl with a large rubber spatula every 30-45 seconds.  Add the corstarch and process again for 30 more seconds.  Add the Parmesan. Using a series of rapid on-of pulses, process until incorporated into the mixture, about 8-10 pulses.

IMG_7950 IMG_7950 IMG_7950 IMG_7950 IMG_7950 IMG_7950 IMG_7950 IMG_7950~Step 3.  To form the crust, transfer  pizza dough to prepared baking pan and lightly-sprinkle top with some additional corn flour.  Using your hands and fingertips, gather dough together, then shape, pat and press into a 10" circle.  Using a small hand-held rolling pin, working from the center out to the perimeter, roll the dough into an 11" circle.  Using your fingertips, clean up any rough or ragged edges around the perimeter (and form a bit of a crust shape too if you like).  

IMG_7974 IMG_7974 IMG_7974 IMG_7974 IMG_7986 IMG_7986 IMG_7986~Step 4.  To pre-bake, top and finish-bake crust, bake the crust in preheated oven for 12-14 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool, in pan, 3-4 minutes.  Using a large pizza spatula,  transfer the crust to a large wire rack.  Discard the parchment paper from the baking pan, then place the pizza crust (on the rack) in the pan.  Top with your favorite sauce and cheese -- not too much, as this thin-crust pizza is best lightly-topped, not piled-high.  Reposition the oven rack from the upper third to the center. Place topped pizza, on rack in pan, in 450º oven and allow pizza to bake until cheese is melted and crust is crisped on bottom, 6-8 minutes.  Remove from oven, slice, and serve ASAP.

While it bakes up perfectly, it's not my cup-of-tea...

IMG_7999 2... but it is indeed exactly as promised & trendily yummy...

IMG_8020... so if you're so inclined, yes, give this recipe a try.

Mel's Great-Big Cauliflower Pizza Crust Experiment:  Recipe yields 1, 11" cauliflower pizza crust along with topping and baking instructions/6-8 servings.

Special Equipment List:  cutting board; chef's knife; kitchen scale; food processor; large rubber spatula; 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pan; parchment paper; small-hand-held rolling pin; large pizza spatula; wire cooling rack

6a0120a8551282970b01b8d25ed9bc970cCook's Note: Americans eat over three billion pizzas a year and that doesn't include store-bought frozen pies or those made at home.  That is quite a statistic, and, a testament to the love affair we have with pizza. From sea-to-shining-sea, every region of our country has developed their own "style of pie", and, pizza shops and home cooks all proudly prepare their own version of it. Try ~ My Guys Italian-American Sicilian-Style Pizza Pie ~.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2019)


Elaine -- I do not, and, Simply Recipes didn't provide any of that information on their version either. Sorry girlfriend! ~ Mel.

Do you know what the carb and fiber counts are for this crust, Mel?

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