Eat Evolved

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You are what you eat. Eat what you've evolved to eat.

Pizza de queijo

May 29th, 2012 at 18:33

This is, no lie, one of the best food experiments I’ve ever made. Mind you, it’s so borderline Primal that I debated including it on this blog. It has a lot of dairy, it’s not exactly low-carb, and it might induce SAD cravings. That having been said, it’s delicious, and will be something special once I perfect it.

Of course, there’s a backstory. At the beginning of this month, I went to a conference in Dearborn, Michigan with a few of my favorite coworkers. We went out to a local pizza place called Buddy’s one night, and I decided to try their gluten-free personal pizza. Its main ingredient was tapioca flour, and it was incredible. I didn’t miss wheat at all.

It reminded me of one of my favorite recipes from my Brazilian great-aunt, pao de queijo. This translates roughly to “cheese balls.” They are little crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside balls of pure joy. Every time she made a batch, they’d be gone before they cooled down. Once, I took a boyfriend to meet the extended family, and he said that they’d go perfectly with spaghetti. At the time I thought he was insane, but I remembered his comment when I had Buddy’s gluten-free pizza…and in the immortal words of Gru, “light bulb!”

To start, put 4 cups (or 500 grams) of tapioca flour in a large metal or otherwise heat-proof bowl. In a small saucepan, heat 2/3 cup of a neutrally flavored oil with two cups of milk until it boils. Watch this carefully, because it goes from boiling to boiling over in ten seconds or so! Once it’s boiling, pour it into the tapioca flour and stir with a wooden spoon or heatproof scraper until it’s all absorbed into a sticky ball.

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Add two beaten eggs and a cup and a half of grated Parmesan cheese. You may want to knead it in with your hands–it should have cooled off enough by now.

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Wait for about 10-15 minutes, then oil your hands and press the dough into a pan. I’d do two things differently next time–I’d lightly grease the pan, and I’d use a half-sheet pan instead of a round to make the crust thinner. If you were making the cheese balls here, you’d instead roll it into golf-ball sized spheres and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

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Bake the dough for 25 minutes, then put it under the broiler for a couple of minutes to brown the top a bit.

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Top with pizza sauce (make sure to check your labels as most contain sugar–Whole Foods makes a good sugar-free version in their prepared foods section), and whatever toppings you desire. I used Italian sausage and onions.

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I’ve tried lots of pizza clones–meatza, pork rind crust, cauliflower crust…and this is the first one that didn’t make me feel like I was missing out at all. It is just plain awesome. Sometimes you just have to have pizza, and no bizarre substitute will do. Husband’s exact words after taking his first bite were “I don’t think I’ve ever loved you as much as I do right now.” I think that’s the best endorsement I could get.

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