Here’s an interesting twist on the normal bread crust pizza… use cauliflower in place of the bread dough.
While the idea of a cauliflower pizza crust is not new; I didn’t like the recipes that I found. They tasted like cauliflower baked with eggs, and most were pretty bland.
So, off to the test kitchen, and eight hours, and six attempts later, I came up with this one. It holds together quite well, and the flavor of the cauliflower compliments the toppings you choose to add.
1Place a pizza stone in the lower position, or use a baking sheet if you don't have a pizza stone, and then preheat oven to 450f (232c).
2Clean your cauliflower in the sink, and then dry as much as possible.
3Cut the florets from the head, leaving as little of the stems as possible.
4Chef’s Tip: Cauliflower stems are great in a lot of Autumn soups and stews, so you might want to reserve them for another use.
5Add the florets to a food processor, fitted with an S-blade.
6Give the florets about 6 to 8, 1-second bursts at high speed until you get what we call, cauliflower snow (finely chopped cauliflower).
7Chef’s Note: You should have about 3 cups of cauliflower.
8Chef’s Tip: We need to get rid as much of the moisture from the cauliflower as possible. So, use a steamer to steam the cauliflower for about 4 minutes.
9Chef’s Note: I tried doing this in the microwave, but it changed the texture of the cauliflower in a way that I wasn’t happy with.
10Place the steamed cauliflower in the center of a nice clean tea towel, and the squeeze until you get all the water out.
11I got almost a 1/4 cup of water out of the cauliflower.
12Chef’s Tip: Let the cauliflower cool a bit before doing the squeezing… unless you like third-degree burns.
13Chef’s Note: I found that by squeezing out all that additional moisture, you will get a chewier crust. So, don’t skip this step.
14Gather your ingredients.
15Add the squeezed cauliflower to a bowl, and then add the cheeses, salt, basil, oregano, garlic, egg, and crushed red pepper. Add some freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Mix thoroughly.
16Chef’s Note: The egg was a bit of a problem. Most recipes called for two eggs, but that left the final crust tasting like egg. I tried two yolks, but that wasn’t much better. I finally settled on one medium egg. That held the mixture together, without overpowering the crust with egg taste.
17Make the crusts 3 inches in diameter, and I used a stacker press to achieve that goal.
18Chef's Note: If you're not looking for appetizers, then this mixture should make one 12-14 inch pizza crust.
19Add the crusts to a piece of parchment paper.
20Chef’s Note: The thickness of the crust made a big difference. If I used 2 ounces of mixture to make the crust, it was too thick and overpowered the pizza. I tried 1 ounce but that didn’t give me enough crust to hold together. I found that if the pizza round is 3-inches in diameter, then 1.5 ounces is the best.
21Chef’s Note: If you’re doing this by hand don’t make the crust any thicker than 1/4 inch.
22Slide the parchment paper with the pizza crusts onto the hot pizza stone, or the baking sheet, and then cook for about 11 to 14 minutes.
23Chef’s Tip: Don’t go by oven time… instead, take them out when they are starting to turn a nice golden brown.
24They should look like this.
25Add some sauce to the browned crust.
26Chef's Tip: I found out (about the 4th try) that brushing the crusts with a bit of extra-virgin oil, really helped with the flavor.
27Add some cheese, or any additional toppings.
28Return to the oven and cook for 8 to 12 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and starting to brown. Enjoy.