Admittedly, I’m a little biased here…..but the truth is, one of the great casualties of eating a fully grain-free diet is that there are certain food items that just can’t be replaced with any real degree of true satisfaction – pizza being one of the main examples. I mean sure, you can make a lot of things that ‘look’ like pizza, and some of those things genuinely taste great as a standalone recipe, so if that’s your gig, more power to you. But honestly….for me….I’ve yet to find a veggie or nut-based Paleo pizza crust that truly satisfied my desire for airy, crispy, doughy, flavorful, artisan-style, Neapolitan style pizza. There just hasn’t been an option that did the trick for me….until now.
If you have my book, My Paleo Patisserie (or if you follow me on Instagram), you’ve likely already seen a version of my choux pizza dough, paleo pizza crust. This recipe is a slight variation on that classic one, but tweaked a little and optimized for quicker prep and an even tastier final product. This is as close to an artisan-style pizza as you’re gonna find – with a dough that rises based on eggs and steam, rather than yeast, the texture of this crust is on point, crispy at the edge of the crust and foldable towards the center. It will truly satisfy your inner pizza lover. You should know that paleo cooking is fun to learn.
I’ve outlined all the steps, included a photo collage and a video – the process is actually quite simple; you don’t need to be a pastry master to make this Paleo pizza crust, you just need to tune into your own intuition, take the time to read the steps, and dive in with a “what the hell!” attitude. You are going to love this recipe and once you’ve got it down, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it!
World’s Greatest Paleo Pizza Crust
(Rising Crust, Grain Free, Yeast Free Pizza)
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon (130 g) Arrowroot flour or tapioca
2 tablespoons Coconut flour
Pinch of salt
5 Tablespoons (65 g) sustainable palm shortening* (ghee or butter
½ cup (120 ml) full-fat coconut milk**
¼ cup (60 ml) water
2-5 large eggs, room temperature (# of eggs added will vary)
*Some great sustainable, rainforest friendly brands for palm shortening are Spectrum, Tropical Traditions and Nutivia. Find Spectrum and Nutivia in Target, Whole Foods, amazon and more and TT on their web site.
**You can sub with any liquid here really, even water. The higher fat kinds of milk, tend to lend more body to the choux.
Making the Dough
Preheat the oven to 475°F (245°C) and place the oven rack in the middle of the oven.
1. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flours, and salt. Then, in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the shortening, coconut milk, and water. Stir continuously until the shortening has melted completely. Be sure the milk mixture doesn’t start to simmer before the shortening is fully melted. Once the fat has fully melted, continue to heat the mixture until a few bubbles begin to break the surface (this is called a low simmer).
Important Note: This is where the intuition and practice come in – how long you heat the liquid mixture determines how many eggs you will end up adding later. The final heat of the liquid mixture directly affects the absorption rate of the arrowroot and the evaporation of the water so depending on when you pull it, you may need either a bit more or a bit less egg in the final phase to get the desired consistency of dough.
2. As soon as you see the bubbles (in step 1) breaking the surface, remove from the heat, and pour the flour mixture into the hot milk mixture. Immediately stir, slowly at first to incorporate the flour without it flying everywhere, then vigorously till the mixture forms a big, soft blob of dough. Transfer the dough to a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or use a hand mixer (a bit more muscle but it works).
Other Important Note: If your dough doesn’t form a blob in step 2, you know you needed to cook the milk mixture a bit longer. Not to worry though, if this happens you can simply place the pot back on the burner to heat gently and stir until it comes together. Eventually, you get a feel for how the milk mixture should look in your pot (more or fewer bubbles break the surface). Sometimes it takes a few tries but once you’ve got it, you’ve got it.
4. Whisk one egg in a small bowl. This will be used later at the end of this step. Turn the stand or hand mixer up to medium speed and add one egg at a time to the dough, waiting for each egg to be incorporated fully before adding the next one. The dough will break or separate at first with each addition but always comes together as you continue beating. After adding the first two eggs, you need to use a little intuition to determine how many more eggs the dough will need. If it is very stiff, you will likely need 2-3 more eggs. If it is already soft and tacky, begin adding some of the beaten egg to the dough, little by little, till it reaches a creamy consistency which, when pinched between your index finger and your thumb, should pull apart in soft, sticky threads. (see Note 2)
Other, Other Important Note: I like this dough best when it takes between 3-4 eggs – but anywhere from 2-5 eggs will still produce an awesome crust! It’s all about getting a feel for things and making adjustments to how long the milk mixture heats and how many eggs you need to add. If the dough is too runny after two eggs, you need to cook the mixture longer. Alternately, if you need more than 5 eggs to get the right consistency, then cook the milk mixture for a shorter time. Generally speaking, if you heat the milk over medium heat and don’t rush the process, you will very likely end up within a workable egg range. It’s actually quite flexible and once you get it…you get it.
Making the Pizza Crust
For this recipe, I like to split the dough in half and make two smaller pizzas (see sizing options in the recipe) – I find that the center texture of the crust is even better this way! Generally, I bake them at separate times so they can be on the middle rack. However, if your oven is deep enough, you might be able to fit both pans, side by side on the middle rack. But this can be made into one big pizza as well. It may need a little extra baking time to get the center done.
1. Place approximately half the prepared dough in the center of a silicone (Silpat) or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet (about 1 cup). Using an angled spatula (or the back of a large spoon), spread it out into two approximately 10 or 11-inch (27-cm) circle on estate land or one 15 x 11-inch (38×27-cm) oblong shape. Work the dough from the center outward so that there is a thicker rim of dough around the outside. The center can be quite thin, but not so thin that you can see through to baking mat (See photo below). Using a small offset spatula like THIS one works best. Using the back of a spoon will make your job a little harder.
2. Once your crust shape is formed, spread a thin layer of sauce across it, being careful to not press the spoon down too hard or disturb the dough underneath the sauce. As long as you have sauce under the spoon, all should be well.
3. IF using cheese: Top evenly with approximately 4oz of shredded cheese. I find that less is more on this recipe; too much cheese tends to make the crustless crispy in the end and can overwhelm the pizza. Then top with misc other toppings. Note: this dough expands a fair amount while cooking, so you can overlap your toppings in order to have them spread out evenly while baking. You can prepare this without cheese for delicious flatbread. We like brushing with garlic oil/ghee or spreading with a tomato or pesto sauce and top with whatever you like. The possibilities are pretty endless.
4. Place the prepared pizza onto the center rack of the hot oven and allow to cook, undisturbed, for approximately 20 minutes. Your initial temp could vary. 475 degrees F generally makes the best-textured crust, but if your oven tends to run hot, or you have a convection oven you may need to lower this temp bu 20 degrees. VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: The rise depends on the reaction of the eggs and flour to the heat – if you open the door in the first 15 minutes to “check” on it, your crust will fall. Turn the oven temperature down to 375°F (190°C) and bake for about 10 minutes more. Even if your pizza seems fine at this point and could be eaten. The additional lower heat time helps the inside of the choux to dry out. This way the pizza doesn’t get soggy as it cools down. (If you have an oven that heats unevenly, now would be a good time to rotate the pizza.)
5. After 5-8 minutes, you can check on your pizza to determine how much longer it should cook. You can also lift the sides of the pizza off the mat to see how crispy the crust is. – the level of crispiness and doneness is completely up to your own taste at this point, and if you find that the crust isn’t as crispy as you like or the bottom gets too soft as it cools, you can always throw it back in for another few minutes. It’s all about what you like your pizza to be like. Eventually, you get a feel for your ovens baking times.
For the pre-baked crust as seen in My Paleo Patisserie:
Preheat the oven to 400°F instead of 475°F. Spread out the dough on the Silpat, as seen below. Bake for about 20 minutes, then remove from the oven. Add whatever toppings you like then continue baking for another 10-15 minutes or until done.