Cauliflower Pizza Crust
My cousin was working on cauliflower pizza crusts. I have made them before. It is a good alternative for people trying to cut some calories and fat or for people who need to watch their gluten intake. She was having some issues with the crust.
Having a little (OK, 25 years) of experience with pizza baking, I took a recipe and some cauliflower to work with me and availed myself of having access to professional grade pizza tools, and a general manager with some skills as well.
I started with the a Food TV Cauliflower Pizza Crust Recipe. Note number 1. The recipe calls for a total cooking time of over an hour. So, plan ahead.
I used Trader Joe's riced cauliflower. Not having a food processor at work, I was sort of stuck. This does make the crust about twice as expensive as cutting your own, but you could If you are dicing your own cauliflower, you want it a fine, even dice. You probably want to use a processor or buy it riced, not cut it with a knife. Even and small pieces is the goal.
I steamed the cauliflower in the pizza oven. It is going to be easier in a microwave. The goal is cooked almost to mushy. I added some water, don't add very much. You want steamed cauliflower, not cauliflower soup. I used the whole bag of cauliflower. Start draining. Wait for the now steamed cauliflower to cool, and then drain some more. I let it sit for about 30 minutes and then really squeezed to get more of the liquid out. Then I let it sit some more and squeezed again. It is possible I gave it a few minutes in the oven to dry some more. Note 2: When you think you have all of the liquid out, wait five minutes and try again.
I added the ingredients as listed. One recipe I read called for some corn meal so that went in. If you add corn meal, let your "dough" sit for about five minutes after mixing. You want the corn meal to absorb more of the liquid. You also want the "dough" cool enough to work with your hands.
Time to make a crust
I worked on a 12" x 12" piece of parchment paper on a 12"pizza screen (at Domino's we use a screen to cook pizzas on. Amazon has them for around $15 a set of six). If you don't have a pizza screen, use the thinnest baking sheet you have. My bag of cauliflower made a single 12" crust. I worked the crust to a very even 1/4" layer. Go ahead and work it carefully to an even, thin layer. OK, years of practice and a round screen make it look good. The parchment paper prevented it from sticking to the screen. It also prevented my finished pizza from browning like I wanted it to.
I then baked the crust. It did not reach the color I wanted so it went back in the oven. OK, I had access to a Middleby Marshall professional pizza oven. They run about $15,000 and need 100,000 BTU gas service. Oh, shipping weight is around 1500 pounds. They also carry one of my favorite warning labels, "Intended for other than home use." Spoilsports. It cooked a total of seven minutes at 465℉ on the first side. For a home oven, the best would be a pizza stone and the oven turned as hot as it will go. Next would be the rack in the lowest spot in the oven and then as hot as it will go.
My cousin wanted a browner crust. After seven minutes, the crust was cooked and firm, but not golden other than the very edge. I flipped it over (it is hot. Use mitts and a second baking sheet) and then gave it three more minutes.
My crust was now ready to make a pizza. I tossed the parchment paper and put the crust on a screen. One thing I did not count on was that it shrunk. My crust started at 12". My pizza is a shade over 10". Note 3. It is going to shrink. Plan for that.
I guess there was still more liquid to squeeze out.
The crust never did get a golden brown. I could have added more corn meal but I have a feeling enough corn meal to brown would be about 30% and I didn't want to go that far. The pizza as pictured is a Domino's Ultimate Pepperoni Feast with marinara sauce instead of the regular sauce, added onions, added Parmesan, diced tomatoes, and extra oregano. It tastes like...pizza! A really picky child might notice a slight cauliflower taste.