Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pizza that is still good for you!

I feel I have been holding back a golden gem - and that is my pizza crust made with spelt flour.  Having just made it again this weekend, I was totally blown away with how spectacular the pizza tasted and my family agreed.  I load ours up full of veggies and home-made sauce too so it still classifies as a healthy meal to enjoy.  And yes, it does have cheese but a mix of mozza and Sheep Feta.  Mmmm...I could eat this every day!  Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

The Foundation: Spelt Crust
This recipe was influenced from "Benefit of the Dough" in Eat, Shrink and Be Merry.
1 1/2 cups spelt flour (plus more for rolling out the dough)
1/2 tsp xanthan gum*
½ tsp salt
2 Tbsp ground flax
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast (or one packaged envelope)
2/3 cup warm water
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1-2 Tbsp cornmeal (optional but recommended)*

Combine the first 5 dry ingredients in a glass bowl and mix well. Create a hole in the middle of the dry mixture right to the bottom of the bowl and add in the water and oil. Knead the dough a few minutes by hand or stir as much as possible. Allow the dough to rest and rise for about 20 minutes or more in a warm place. I often will let mine sit for an hour or more and it is still great.  For my “warm place”, I preheat my oven slightly to warm it up, turn the oven off and then leave the light on (keep it warm) and place the dough inside.

Makes a great crust for a pan measuring 10 x 15 inches. If using the cornmeal, sprinkle it on your pan before rolling out the crust. Roll out the dough directly into the pan on top of the cornmeal using extra flour as needed.

For rolling on the counter: you will definitely need extra flour as the dough is very sticky. Once rolled out, put the cornmeal on the pan and lay the dough on top.
Pre-bake the dough undressed for about 10 minutes at 400F to ensure no soggy crust.

Once it has baked, you could allow it to cool and freeze it for future use. Otherwise, load it up with your sauce and toppings and bake again for 8 – 10 minutes.

The Middle Sauce:
1- 5oz can tomato paste (make sure no sugar is added in the paste)
5 oz water (just fill the can previously holding the paste)
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
3/4 tsp salt
1 clove garlic - crushed
1/2 tsp pepper
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and layer on pizza.

The Top Stuff:
Our pizza usually contains a combination of the following: Artichokes, zucchini, pepper, sun dried tomatoes, tomatoes, olives, red onion, chicken, feta, and mozzarella.

Cook’s notes:
Xanthan Gum: This ingredient is key to making a stronger dough as it creates a glutenous property to the dough. You can make this dough without the xanthan but the crust will be more crumbly and softer. With the Xanthan gum, you get a fabulous crust every time!  I purchase Xanthan at a bulk food store or health section of a larger grocery store.

Cornmeal: this little bit of cornmeal at the bottom of the pan helps your crust to bake better from the bottom. It actually allows the hot air to flow between the dough and the pan allowing the crust to crisp up better than without. Worth a try and super cheap to buy.

Rolling out the dough: I do this right in my baking pan which is a Pampered Chef Large Bar Pan. Why not save a step and have less to clean up.