My Italian grandmother made me into a very picky pizza eater. The crust and the sauce are critical when trying to create an authentic pizza. When I realized the extent of the problems that I would experience after eating pizza, I knew that was one thing that had to be removed from my diet. That, my friends, was a very sad day – until we discovered yuca pizza dough!
If you are in the same boat as my daughter and I are, knowing that gluten filled pizza dough is a ‘no-no’ for you, then today is your lucky day. We have experimented with a lot of recipes to somehow regain the pleasure of pizza and find a piece of ‘normal’ in our dinners, and have finally come up with one that even the deep dish pizza lovers can appreciate.
Yuca is a staple in the diets of Costa Rica. Prior to living here, I had really never even seen it, or knew of it. Now, however, yuca and this yuca pizza dough has become a life-saver for us in our gluten-free, grain-free journey!
Yuca Pizza Dough
by Lindsey Burke
4 cups boiled yuca
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp olive oil
To use yuca, you simply peel the outer dark brown layer of skin off with a vegetable peeler. It can be pretty thick sometimes, but when it is, you can actually peel it off with a knife like you would a piece of tree bark. Make sure that you get all of the purplish skin residue off (it will cook softer without it).
Boil the yuca until it is soft. Make sure that it is translucent in the middle – if it is still pretty white, it won’t work well for the dough. Be careful not to over-cook it and have it turn mushy on you or you won’t get a good consistency in your yuca pizza dough.
Once the yuca is the right consistency, soft but not mushy, drain the water and let it cool. Pull out the center core string that runs the length of each yuca.
Place cooled yuca in a food processor, add salt, garlic powder, 1 egg and olive oil to yuca and mix on high until you get a puree of yuca. A puree is much easier to work with and spread, and less sticky when you are trying to lay out your pizza pie dough on your pizza pan. Don’t be expecting a dough ball – that’s not what you’re looking for. If the dough is not binding together well, you can add the second egg. (A second egg can also be added if you would rather have an airier dough rather than a thin crust.)
(The dough is not an exact science, so be patient and willing to experiment until it turns out the way you like it best for your desired thickness and consistency. Altitude, temperature and humidity can play a factor into how it turns out – it can be different for us every time depending on all of the variables. You can use coconut flour or almond flour to dust on the dough if it is too sticky.)
Place parchment paper on your pizza pan. Use a frosting knife to spread the yuca pizza dough over the pan until it is about 1/8 in. thick. The thicker the dough is, the ‘doughier’ and possibly mushier the crust can turn out after putting on your toppings. Spread the dough carefully to avoid getting holes in the dough spread. After you have the dough spread out and a thickness that you are happy with, poke a few holes with a fork over the dough to avoid bubbling and burning of those dough bubbles.
Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 20 minutes. At 20 minutes, check the dough to see how it’s doing. You may need to actually flip the pizza dough over and add a little more time to the bake on the other side if it is only seeming to cook on the top, or looks soft in the middle. Every oven will cook it differently, so you’ll need to play with it a little yourself.
When the dough looks evenly cooked and not mushy, take the dough out of the oven, add your toppings, and place back in the oven until the toppings are cooked.
Please don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t turn out perfect like you think your pizza should be the first time or two. After a few attempts, you begin to understand what consistency works best for your specific style of yuca pizza dough. You can experiment with all kinds of different toppings to please every pizza lover with their favorite. Keep checking back with me for our delicious gluten free, grain free, dairy free pizza recipes. Provecho! (Enjoy your meal)
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