Monday, 23 March 2015

Sneaky Pizza

I love to sneak healthy stuff into my food. Does that even make sense? We already eat an incredibly healthy diet--a whole food diet, a real food diet, a vegan diet--but there is always room for a bit of extra nutrition. Mission nutrition means that we add an extra dose of healthy to our already healthy diet. So if you are out there and wish you could add a bit more of the good stuff into your diet (or need to sneak some vegetables into your picky eating  toddler or spouse’s food) then this is the pizza crust for you.

You heard me…pizza crust just got healthier.

 In the Spider household, we are pizza fiends. Ever since I bought that cookbook by Julie Hasson called Vegan Pizza we regularly have pizza. Mmm…pizza. As I have a wheat intolerance I chose it’s lower in gluten cousin spelt flour for our flour of choice and saved my gluten free flours for other baking treats. We choose wholemeal spelt because it happened to be cheaper and is definitely healthier than plain ole white spelt (or any white flour for that matter) but for this recipe regular wholemeal wheat flour would work.

 I got the idea from this blog: (Never) Homemaker.  They use pureed veg as part of the liquid substitute in their crust. They started off with canned pumpkin puree which I am sure was dynamite but we can’t find pumpkin puree in a tin other than Libby’s brand which is owned by Nestle (Or Nasty as I like to call them. Go here if you want to read about the questionable ethics of Nestle Yeah, I know you could gut a pumpkin and roast it or steam it or whatever but who has that kind of time? I wanted something quick. Bish, bash, bosh. Done.

This recipe calls for pureed chickpeas and carrots as part of your liquid substitution. So you get a protein and veg boost in your crust. Also it has the added bonus of making the crust moist and chewy as opposed to heavy and dry as wholemeal baking can sometimes be.

First open a tin of chickpeas and a tin of carrots and drain them and rinse well. Again if you have the time you could steam your own carrots but I am going for quickness and cheapness. A tin of East End chickpeas sells for about 37p and a tin of carrots about 19p.

Then blend them all in a food processor. If you are like me and your food processor died and went to Silicone Heaven, they puree up very well using an immersion blender and some ingenuity. Now you have a beautiful orange puree. Next divide in half. Did I forget to mention that the puree makes enough for four pizzas???? Their recipe said it made two 1 cup portions. My tin of carrots is a little small so it makes two ¾ cup portions. Whatever. Still works. Save one half for this batch and then store the other half in the fridge if planning to make more pizzas in a few days or do like I do and freeze the other half. Then defrost overnight in the fridge and take it out a few hours before you want it to come to room temperature. Easy peasy. 

Their directions were more standard where you mix the yeast with the water and let it froth and then mix it into your flour.

I do it the lazy way and it has never failed me. Three cheers for the lazy way! 

 Sneaky Pizza crust

 3 cups wholemeal flour (or 3 and ¼ cups if using wholemeal spelt)

1 packet instant yeast

1 heaping teaspoon sugar

1 tsp (sea) salt

¾ to 1 cup sneaky orange puree

1 and ¼ cups (plus a bit more?) quite hand hot tap water (about 110 degrees)  

Put your flour in a bowl. I don’t even bother to sift. Lazy way strikes again.

Sprinkle over the sugar salt and yeast but don’t stir it yet.

Mix the orange puree in a pyrex cup or small bowl and add your hot tap water. I let my tap water get as hot as it gets for this. About 110 to 120 degrees. I checked it obsessively with a thermometer the first few times but now just let my tap water get hot.

Mix the wet into the dry and stir until combined (you may have to add a few more slops of hot water) and then knead a bit with your hands--maybe 5-10 scrunches. Then cover the bowl with Clingfilm and let it rise for 3 hours or so in a warm place. We pop it on a small heat mat made for the spiders.

Then when it has risen, divide in two (I weigh it but you can just eyeball it.) Then you can roll one out now and make the pizza or do as I do and wrap in Clingfilm (re-use the Clingfilm that you used to cover the bowl for one of them) and then pop in a ziplock bag and into the freezer. Defrost in the fridge overnight before you want it and then on the counter for a few hours before the meal.

 To bake:

Preheat oven to 250C/500F

Roll out the dough and bake for 5 minutes then add half a cup of sauce and toppings of your choice and bake for another 10-12 minutes. Then let it rest for 5 minutes (if you can stand it) and slice and eat.

Literally it is that easy.

Here’s one I made earlier:

It has a smoky cream sauce made from cashews, nutritional yeast, liquid smoke and *love* plus caramelised onions and mushrooms and chestnuts. I got a load of chestnuts for pennies around Christmas time and we are still reaping the benefits. I only used half the pack so we will have chestnut risotto soon to use up the rest. Two meals from one packet--bonus!

This crust is delicious and healthy with the wholemeal flour, chickpeas and carrots.

Go and make it now, dude!

1 comment:

  1. a cooking method inspired by Ms Fronie! "I can give that child a popcorn popper if I want to!"