Pizza Made with Cauliflower Crust
I love pizza! Rich tomato sauce, gooey cheese, thick or thin crust and toppings galore! Given I’ve eaten pizza since childhood and the fact that I live in NYC where I believe the best pizza is made, my palate is definitely discriminating!
Recently, I have become curious about cauliflower pizza crust (CPC). Does it hold up like a flour dough and what does it taste like? After some research and in consultation with a friend who has tried multiple brands, fresh and frozen, I settled on “Rustic Crust” found in Walmart. The CPC is low calorie, low carb, and high fiber. It has a mild taste of cauliflower, but, when acting as the vehicle for the toppings, it is barely perceptible.
The first pie I made using the CPC included two cheeses (gruyere and mozzarella), grilled pineapple, crispy pancetta and arugula. Before I tell you about my thoughts on the taste sensations, I have a memory to share with you. In the early seventies my best friend went off to college in Eugene, Oregon. Back in those days, we wrote letters to each other. In the first letter she wrote about her arrival, the dorm, the new friends she made, and the pineapple pizza! As a New Yorker, she was quite shocked when she ventured out with her dorm friends for pizza, only to find patrons were ordering and eating pineapple pizza. I don’t recall how long it took her to taste pineapple pizza, though I know she finally did and enjoyed it.
I was pleasantly surprised at the wonderful taste sensations of the pineapple pizza I made. First off, the CPC browned nicely due to brushing the crust with olive oil. The cheese was spread on the crust, followed by the rings of grilled pineapple, topped with crispy pancetta. Once out of the oven, I added arugula on top. The final product was sweet, salty, creamy and spicy, thanks to the arugula. I would definitely make it again! For the fun of it, I sent a text to my friend with a picture of the pizza and we both had a good laugh at the decade-old memory.
My next attempt was a pesto pizza. I brushed olive oil on the crust, topped it with pesto, and followed that with grated mozzarella and fontina cheeses. I then topped the pizza with thinly sliced zucchini, cherry tomatoes, sliced shallots and fresh basil. Once out of the oven, it was picture perfect and delicious!
The last pie I made was special given that I used heirloom tomatoes as the star. I brushed the crust with olive oil, then spread softened cream cheese all over, then topped that with dollops of ricotta cheese. I baked it for about 15 minutes. Once it was out of the oven, I placed the sliced heirloom tomatoes on top along with fresh basil. I’m sure you would agree with me, that it would have been sacrilegious to bake the heirloom tomatoes. This pie was creamy and sweet!
All in all, the cauliflower pizza crust pie slices stood up to being hand-held just like a regular slice of pizza and they were delicious because of their toppings. However, my discriminating palate prefers pizza dough, as it gives you that extra something to bite into! By that I mean the crust, which, whether it be thin or thick, adds an element of textural pleasure.