Saturday, February 12, 2011

Pizza My Heart

My husband loooooooves pizza, so I try to make it on Fridays for an end of the week treat. Depending on how my week has gone and how tired I am when I get home from work, I'll either make the crust or use a purchased crust (go Udis!). This time, though, I wanted to make something special, something a little different than the usual.

Ever since falling in love with Cecina, an Italian flatbread made out of garbanzo flour, I've been toying with the idea of making a Cecina pizza. (If you've never had Cecina, you've got to try it!) I love the texture - somewhat similar to polenta in its density, with a nice crunch when its fresh from the oven. I love the simplicity of it - just garbanzo flour, water, and salt baked in an olive oil coated pan. I love that it's a healthy alternative to the typical pizza crust - grain free, high fiber, high protein - and really yummy! (Plus, my bank account loves the fact that its incredibly inexpensive to make!)

You can use any type of pan for this bread - a full jelly roll sheet, a pie pan, a 9 x 13, whatever as long as it has a flat bottom and sides that are at least an inch high. Since it was the Friday before V-day, and I just happened to have a heart-shaped pan, I figured I might as well put it to use. What's more romantic for Valentine's Day than sharing a heart-shaped pizza? (Might be corny, but that's okay with me :)

The traditional recipes I've seen for Cecina use 1 pound of flour to approx. 6 1/3 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of salt. If you're using a package of Bob's Red Mill, it makes it easy since the package holds 1 pound of flour. However, that makes an entire full jelly roll sheet which is way too much for my husband and I to eat (which is how I found out that Cecina does not freeze well, so only make enough to eat within a few days). Depending on the size of your pan, you'll have to adjust accordingly. Also, the ratio of flour to water varies among traditional recipes from as little as 1:1 to as much as 1:3. I guess the lesson is this: try it first, then adjust to suite your tastes.

Here's what the process looks like (recipe follows):

Soak the water, flour and salt.

Pour into a well-oiled pan.

Bake until crispy and golden. Eat Cecina as-is, or...

...add your favorite pizza toppings and pop back into the oven.

Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly (Daiya cheese on the left, but still tastes delish!).


Cecina (and Cecina Pizza)

Use the following chart as a guide to determine how much flour and water you'll need (this is not set in stone, feel free to adjust based on what feels right to you!):

Pan Size: 8 x 8 or pie plate
Flour: 1 cup
Water: 1 1/4 cups
Salt: 1 1/2 teaspoons

Pan Size: 9 x 13
Flour: 2 cups
Water: 2 1/2 cups
Salt: 2 1/4 teaspoons

Pan Size: Full Jelly-Roll Sheet
Flour: 1 pound
Water: 6 1/3 cups
Salt: 1 tablespoon

Mix the garbanzo flour, water, and salt in a bowl and leave to soak for at least an hour or as long as 8-10 hours (I mix it up before going to work so its ready to go when I get home.) It's very liquidy when you mix it up, but this is normal!

Once the Cecina has soaked, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Prep your pan by coating it with a healthy layer of olive oil (several tablespoons at least). Stir the Cecina to incorporate any flour that has settled to the bottom of the bowl. Slowly pour into the pan so that it floats on top of the oil.

Carefully put the pan into the oven, taking care not to tip it too much (especially if you are using a pan with low sides!). Bake until golden and crispy - about 30-40 minutes depending on the thickness of the dough.

If you decide to eat the Cecina as-is, it's ready to go! Try it with pesto or artichoke spread on top, or dip it into marinara sauce. You can also mix italian herbs in before baking for some extra flavor.

For the pizza, carefully flip the baked Cecina out onto a pizza crisper sheet if you've got one (or leave in its original pan if you'd rather not bother - we just like our crust as crispy as possible). Layer on your favorite pizza toppings. For this pizza, we used a garlic artichoke spread as the sauce, then layered cheese, GF pepperoni, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, olives, and more cheese! (My husband used the real-deal, but I used Daiya cheese - delicious either way!)

Pop back into the oven for about 12-14 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Slice, serve, and try not to eat the entire thing all by yourself (though don't feel too guilty if you do)!

Posted in participation with ATX Gluten-free's Pizza Fest 2011

Monday, February 7, 2011

"Super Sunday" Sweet Potato Pie

Our friends throw the most awesome Super Bowl party every year, complete with about 20 different soda options, cream-filled cupcakes that will knock your socks off, and a replica football stadium built out of snack foods, (wish I had taken a picture!!!) . Unfortunately, this being my first GF Super Bowl, I had to pass on most of it. However, I decided to bring a dessert that I could enjoy, and did I ever!

Imagine a creamy, rich sweet potato filling inside a golden brown roasted pecan crust... (drooling...) but no gluten, dairy, or refined sugar to ruin it for you. A pie nutritious enough to enjoy for breakfast even (which I did this morning!).

Thanks goes to the Spunky Coconut for her recipes. I modified her Spunky Pie Crust and her Butternut Pudding, put them together, and voila - Sweet Potato Pie that's gluten free, dairy free, and sugar free. If you don't have either of her cookbooks, you are missing out - I use them several times a week!

Super Sweet Potato Pie
gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free

Pecan Crust:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Using a food processor or chopper, pulse approx. 1 1/2 cups of pecans until ground into meal. Watch closely to make sure it doesn't turn into nut butter (helps to have the nuts in the freezer prior to processing). Set nuts aside.

1.5 T Chia seed meal (grind seeds in coffee grinder - can also use 3 T flaxmeal instead)
1/4 cup plus 2 T unsweetened apple sauce (or pear sauce or pumpkin or whatever you've got)
1 T apple cider vinegar
8 drops Vanilla Liquid Stevia
1 T honey
1/4 cup olive oil (or liquid coconut oil or whatever oil you've got - works with either!)

Mix together in a bowl until well incorporated, then add:

1 cup nut meal (from above)
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

Mix again until mixture forms a ball (I use my hands) then carefully roll out on parchment paper. Turn crust over onto a greased and floured pie pan then use fingers to pat into place and make the top pretty if you like. Bake for approx. 12 minutes then let cool down while making the pie filling.

NOTE: You can use a different type of nut in place of the pecans if you like, or use almond meal.

Sweet Potato Pie Filling:

Increase the oven temp to 400 degrees.

Bake one large or two small sweet potatoes until soft - enough to yield 2 cups of potato (I never think ahead enough to bake these prior to making my pie, so I usually microwave them in a towel until soft while the pie crust is cooking). Let cool for a minute then add the following to the blender:

2 T ghee
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 T xylitol or coconut sugar or a few drops of Vanilla Stevia (to taste, if it isn't sweet enough for you)
1 cup coconut milk
3 eggs
2 cups cooked sweet potato (no skins)

Puree until smooth, then pour into pie crust.

Bake at 400 degrees for 50 minutes until set. Let cool then refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.

NOTE: I've made this pudding/pie filling out of butternut squash, patty pan squash, pumpkin - works great no matter what, so use what you've got on hand!


Linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free
and Seasonal Sundays at Real Sustenance