I hope you are with me on the cold pizza train, because that's kind of the vibe of this one! I remember when I was a kid at birthday parties and family reunions my mom's signature dish to bring was cold pizza made with Pillsbury Dough as the crust, cream cheese, and raw veggies on top. And it was SO good! And that was my attempt to convince you on the cold pizza thing! Seriously trust me.
My initial idea was to get creative with some beet crystals, and I got to thinking about their sugar content. I add them to my water pretty often and they're surprisingly sweet. It got me to thinking that the natural sugars of the beets could play a role in bread making, as yeast feeds on sugar. It took me a couple of tries but I think I've nailed down a really simple, airy and crusty pizza dough! The taste of beets don't play a huge role in the overall flavour profile, but what really stands out is the light sweetness and faint remnants of one of my favourite root veggies.
Summer Beet-za Recipe
Makes: two 8-10 inch pizzas
1 package of plain cashew cream cheese (offers a sweetness to the pizza)
1 bunch of asparagus
1 ripe pear diced
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 fennel root, lightly oven-roasted
Plain goat’s cheese
1. | In a medium sized bowl, add the lukewarm water and sprinkle the dry yeast on top. Add in the beet crystals. The yeast will react with the sugars in the crystals. Leave for 5 minutes until the yeast begins to bubble to the top.
2. | Stir in the flour and salt using a spatula. Stir to combine until it resembles a dry dough.
3. | At this point, you can continue in one of two ways.
Bread Maker Method:
Add dough and olive oil to a bread maker, set it to the dough setting and leave it for about 90 minutes.
Transfer dough to a floured surface and fold between your fingers for about 5 minutes. The dough will become more malleable in your hands. Coat the ball of dough with the olive oil and transfer to a clean mixing bowl. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap or a lid to prevent air from coming in, and to keep moisture in the bowl. Let the dough rise for 90 minutes.
4. | About 45 - 60 minutes before the dough is done rising, preheat your oven to 475 F and place a pizza stone inside. You want the oven to be very hot when you put the pizza inside.
5. | Remove the dough from the bowl/ bread maker and lay it on a floured surface (you may want to use a cutting board as it's easier to transfer the dough when it's shaped to the oven). Cut the dough into equal halves and set one aside. To work with the dough, coat the side you want to be the bottom with flour, then hold it above the surface and allow gravity to pull on it from all sides, stretching it out. When it's about half the size you want, lay it down again and gently push all of the air and extra dough to the outsides, so that the crust receives some air and is visibly larger than the inner crust. Once its shaped, carefully transfer to the pizza stone without removing it from the oven.
6. | Cook for 8-10 minutes. Remove and let it cool.
Allow the pizza crust to cool for 5-10 minutes, then spread a generous amount of cashew cream cheese over the entire pizza. Add the pears, tomatoes and fennel. Lay 5-6 raw asparagus spears over top, then crumble goat's cheese over the pizza and drizzle with balsamic. Eat right away or chill in the fridge!
*I haven't tried this crust using gluten free flours as of yet