My husband has decided to forego flour products. I know you may be thinking, "Ugh, another gluten-freek." I agree that the gluten frenzy is heightened, and it has earned a fair share of guttural utterances from me, but I am starting to think that wheat may truly be out to get us. It could be the fact that I just read that the wheat's genome is more complex than a human's or our friend's repeated mention of Grain Brain (which I want to read), but I have my eye on the DNA-hefty grain.
Of course, skipping flour means missing out on many dishes of devotion, namely pizza, so, in an effort to preserve the moments of pie bliss we embarked on a bean-flour-crust experiment. We have been eating chickpea flour pizza crusts for approximately one week with smiles. For other gluten-free pizza lovers I thought I would share what we've learned so far in our efforts to make pea-zza. If you have ever made pizza dough you may doubt the simplicity of what follows, but its ease is just another reason to love it despite its imposter status. Note: we like thin, crunchy pie.
Here you go, a recipe for gluten-free, bean flour pizza crusts:
Ingredients for three 9-inch crusts
1 cup of chickpea/garbanzo bean flour (You can buy this at natural food grocers such as Sprouts, but it is more economical if you have an Indian grocer nearby. Look for the row of gram or besan flour. We purchased 4-lbs for $3.99 at Rani's.)
1 1/4 cup of water
1 tbsp olive oil
Dash of garlic powder (You can skip this if you do not have handy.)
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp corn meal (to prevent sticking)
Toppings of your choice, including tomato sauce and cheese
Whisk all ingredients except the butter, corn meal and toppings in a bowl until clumps have disappeared. Store in the refrigerator until needed.
Lightly oil a 9-inch cast iron skillet (probably any oven safe skillet would do?) and place on the center rack of the oven. Preheat the oven to 525° F with the oiled skillet inside. When the oven reaches 525°, place the tablespoon of butter in the skillet and return to the oven until the butter has fully melted. When the butter has melted, remove the skillet and pour 1/3 of bean batter into the center of the skillet. It will sizzle! Pour and slightly swirl to ensure that the batter spreads to the edges. Return the skillet to the oven and cook for approximately 10-12 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and the batter has stopped bubbling. If big bubbles develop during cooking, pop 'em with a knife or other clean, sharp object.
When the crust is golden brown (again approx. 10-12 minutes), remove from the skillet from the oven. Careful! It will be hot. Remove the crust from the skillet and place on a surface with a pinch of corn meal to prevent sticking. You can repeat the above steps to make two additional crusts. After you are done making crusts, reduce oven temperature to 450°.
To top, remove the crust from the skillet. We place the crust on our pizza paddle with a pinch of corn meal. You will be returning the crust to the oven rack, so just be sure you have a plan. (Honestly, if you did it right, the crust should be sturdy enough to just pick it up and plop it back onto the rack.) Top with sauce, toppings and cheese as you desire, and return to the center oven rack for approximately 3-minutes at 450°, until the cheese is melty.
If you happen across this recipe and give it a whirl, let me know how it works out. It took us a handful of pies to work it out because we tried different oven temperatures. We're still experimenting with the goal of getting the crust more like a cracker thin crust.