Okay, so Pizza Friday really originated from the fact that my dear BF, Alex, and I had an insatiable craving for pizza every Friday night. We played the, “What do you want for dinner?” game for quite some time before we were just honest with each other and acknowledged that pizza was truly the only answer. Our relationship hit the next level when we came to this mutual understanding.
Living a gluten-free life provides its challenges, but pizza really is not one of them. The world must have also recognized the necessity of Pizza Friday and has supplied us gluten-intolerant beings with a multitude of options. Having taste-tested my way through the majority of chains and local joints, I have found a few favorites.
If you’re saying, “I’m FREE, get me out of the house/office/clutches of the ominous email ding!”:
1. Me-N-Eds Pizzeria (perfect thin-crust pizza with lots of flavor)
2. California Pizza Kitchen (mushroom, pepperoni, sausage and goat cheese FTW)
3. Blast 825 Pizza (their taps are self serve, super awesome)
If you’re saying, “I’ve been home for 5 minutes and these sweats are not turning back into publicly acceptable pants for the rest of the weekend.”:
1. Fresh Brothers (if you’re cool with square slices)
2. Domino’s (extra sauce is a must)
3. Udi’s Frozen Pizza (stick that on a pizza stone for super crisp crust)
And you can’t have pizza without beer. No really, there are some great gluten-removed beers out there right now and several major brands are coming out with new options as we speak. Here are my favorite gluten-reduced beers at the moment:
1. Omission Pale Ale (the one with the blue label)
2. Stone Brewing Delicious IPA (light with a hoppy face punch)
3. 101 Cider House IPC (technically not beer, but completely gluten free with a hoppy taste for that beer feel)
So what if you’re in the mood for a game night in with your friends and a desire to build your own unique (and too complicated to ask the pizza guy to do it) pizza combo? That’s where this gluten-free pizza crust recipe comes in. Prep ahead and freeze or get the recipe going while your friends are on their way. This recipe will please even your gluten-everything friends.
This recipe is from The How Can it be Gluten Free Cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen. I have tried many recipes out of this book and have yet to find a dud. Similar in texture to a wheat-based crust, this tender and airy on the inside, crispy on the outside crust makes the perfect base for any authentic homemade pizza.
A newcomer in this recipe is powdered psyllium husks. You can find this in the supplement section or bulk section of your health food market. If it is not powdered, you can stick it in a coffee grinder, food processor, or Magic Bullet to create a finer texture.
While a friend mentioned to me that she and her husband use psyllium husks occasionally to stay regular, I can assure you that is not its purpose in this recipe. The psyllium husks act to strengthen the protein in the dough so it can hold onto the gas and steam during baking, providing the light, airy texture to the final product. It also adds a bit of chew and earthy flavor to the crust.
This “dough” will not look like your typical pizza dough. It is more of a spreadable batter that is shaped using a rubber spatula and parbaked to hold its shape.
Since going gluten free, I have missed the smell of yeasted dough. This will take you back to the days of baking fresh bread with Grandma. You’ll want to bottle this as room freshener.
To shape the dough, lightly spray parchment and a rubber spatula with oil. I like to flip my cookie sheets over for this because it makes spreading the dough easier and gives you more room to expand.
Divide the dough in two and spread with sprayed spatula. When you have formed a thick crust, lightly spray the dough with oil and place plastic wrap on top. Use the plastic wrap to evenly spread out the dough to a thin crust, about 1/4″ thick.
For added flavor, I like to sprinkle my crust with Italian herbs like rosemary and thyme, and a little bit of kosher salt, before I bake.
This recipe makes enough for 2 pizza crusts. Clearly not enough for a game night and four friends. Our simple solution is heading to the nearest pizzeria and purchasing a few balls of dough. Your friends can then shape and top their own personal pizzas. Insta-pizza party.
We were feeling the creativity this Friday and opted for mango, jalapeño, prosciutto; pepperoni, olive, roasted red pepper; and the rest of the kitchen sink, topped with arugula for a refreshing bite.
Pizza Friday would not be complete without a game or two. On the docket tonight, Exploding Kittens and hours and hours of Canasta. “Play Canasta; play, play Canasta!” Pizza Friday doesn’t get any better than this.