Monday, June 25, 2012

The Holy Grail of Keto:Low-Carb Pizza Crust

Let's face it: Americans love pizza.  And it's not just a summer fling; we have a vigorous, healthy, long term relationship with that crispy, melty, saucy little pie of savory goodness, and it doesn't look like it's going to end any time soon.

But with all the carbs in the crust, what's a ketoan to do?  Well first of all, don't despair: the toppings are usually very keto-friendly.  Remember how your mom always yelled at you for eating the toppings off the pizza?  Now you get to do it, guilt-free!  I've gotten so good at this trick that it seems a strange, distant memory that I once too noshed on pizza crust.  (The only downside is having to consume half a pizza's worth of topping to be full and risking the ire of little old ladies' sense of culinary thriftiness.)

However, there is an alternative.  Inventive keto eaters have been experimenting with everything from cauliflower to ground beef to come up with a low carb crust; and after trying several recipes I think I've hit upon the best of the bunch.  As a bonus, it's also gluten free!


Holy Grail Pizza Crust
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (a mixture of mozzarella and cheddar is best)
1 dollop of cream cheese (1-2 Tbsp)
3/4 cup plus or minus 1-2 Tbsp almond meal
1 egg

Preheat oven to 425 degres.

Place the cheese in a med bowl; microwave till melted.  LET IT COOL enough to handle with your hands; be patient, or you'll burn yourself (ask me how I know this.) 

Once you can handle it safely, add the cream cheese and egg and almond flour; mix with your hands until it forms a ball.  This will be quite sticky at first; almond meal varies from batch to batch, so add carefully until you get the right consistency.  If you've ever made pizza dough, you'll be surprised how much like flour dough it feels - and tastes!  If you've never made dough before, don't worry, you'll get the hang of it. 

Set the dough aside.  On a cookie sheet, spread a sheet of parchment paper.  Carefully spread the dough out on the parchment paper; don't worry too much about making it fit the cookie sheet, just spread it out fairly thin and even.   Place in oven and bake till edges start to turn golden brown.

Remove the cookie sheet from the oven; top with your favorite toppings.  (Be careful not to glop on too much tomato sauce, it's fairly high in carbs).  Load on the meat, veggies and cheese, baby!

Return to the oven on the top rack till cheese is melty and the edges of the crust brown nicely.   I don't need to tell you what to do with it from here; I'm sure you can handle this part.



This dough seriously tastes amazing, and it reheats well too.  At last, we can have our pizza and eat it too!  (Cue the romantic music.)

30 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Have just got mine out of the oven ... it looks great and tastes great too. Going to try it out on friends and colleagues :D God bless you.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It's pizza! It's hold it in your hands, chewy crust pizza! We've done the meat crust, the cheese crust, the cauliflower crust...never again. They just don't cut it. This is it. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Loved this crust. The cream cheese really adds to the texture and flavor. I also threw in a couple of tablespoons of golden flax meal, when I found the dough to be a little wet. Came out great. Roommates also loved it! Thanks for posting this!

    ReplyDelete
  5. How exciting! Ill have to try this soon! Thanks for sharing....I saw ur signature...my number one passion is God too :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. We...had...pizza! Even the kiddo was happy with this. I made a goof. When I read "dollop of cream cheese" my brain was sure it said sour cream. Realized I'd gotten it wrong after adding. So I decided to add the cream cheese also (2 oz, I buy blocks). It took a little extra almond flour, but the resulting crust was a-mazing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did the sour cream work ok? I can't have cream cheese. :(

      Delete
  7. This is awesome! Thanks so much for sharing! I found a way to make it a little easier to roll out--tuck a big sheet of plastic wrap over a cutting board, place the dough in the center, then cover with another sheet of plastic wrap. Then, just roll!! The top sheet will peel right off, and then press the parchment paper to the rolled dough, and carefully flip it onto a cookie sheet. Finally, simply peel off the bottom sheet! Worked like dream, and no messy hands!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Holy Grail? Yep, yep, yep. I have made this twice now and it is divine. Hand-holdable? yep, Crispy, yep. Bready? yep. Just do it. You can kneel at Cooky's altar afterwards. I'll see you there. Thanks Cooky!

    ReplyDelete
  9. This is FANTASTIC!!!! Can't say enough good things about this crust. Finally after months of dreaming about keto-safe pizza, I found it. Thanks so much!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. This Pizza Crust is by far the best LC pizza crust I've ever had! I positively love it. I try to keep a couple of balls in the fridge ready to roll out and use. I've also baked them and froze them between parchment paper for a quickie dinner. My next venture is going to be to try it as a Pot Pie crust. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful Holy Grail!

    ReplyDelete
  11. This looks so good!, I love pizza & cheese!.

    ReplyDelete
  12. It's so good! Thanks for the recipe.

    ReplyDelete
  13. This is delicious. I let the melted cheese sit too long so I did have chunks of cheese in the dough. I was thinking that instead of melting the cheese, to just mix shredded cheese with the other ingredients and bake as shown. What do you think???

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've wondered this too. The only problem I can see is that I don't know how the "dough" will hold together without the cheese being melted first; a lot of why this works is that the oil comes out of the cheese and moistens the mixture. You might have to play with the egg and cream cheese proportions if you don't melt the cheese, but by all means give it a shot - and let us know if it works out. I wouldn't mind skipping that step too, it's a bit tedious and I tend to end up with chunks of cheese in the final product as well.

      Delete
    2. I used all mozzarella for the shredded cheese, and it definitely helps to use the finely shredded cheese, and also to find the mozzarella that has the higher fat content. (Go for the 2% if possilble and avoid the all skim kinds.) Helps with the melting. I also have put it back in the microwave for a bit after mixing it all together.

      Delete
    3. Yes, the fat is essential. It's actually a key part of keto: high fat, moderate protein, and minimal carbs. I'm a huge fan of full-fat cheeses. I'm sure the skim varieties wouldn't work out well at all.

      Thanks for your tips!

      Delete
  14. Hi there! Was wondering if you think this would work with completely using flaxseed meal instead of almond? I'm new to keto (day 5) and I've only made a couple muffin recipes, all using almond flour/meal. Not sure how flaxseed meal works. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Sadie! Welcome to keto! Flaxseed meal has a very different texture from almond meal. You could probably substitue at least part of the almond meal with flaxseed, it would give it a more "eggy" consistency and add more fat, but then I'm not sure how well the crust will hold together. I would start with just a tablespoon or two of the flaxseed in place of the same amount of almond meal and see how it works for you.

      Good for you for looking into flaxseed, it's a bit of an acquired taste but I love it now and it's so nutritious and keto-friendly! Don't be afraid to play around with it, especially as an egg substitute.

      Delete
  15. Cooky, I have to take my hat off to you. I LOVE this crust recipe. I'm a thin and crispy kinda girl, and this is just perfection! Made a pizza last night on my Pampered Chef pizza stone and it was so delicious. I like making these for individual personal sized pizza's too. It freezes well and being a single person, I can have a quick pizza any time I want! all I can say is thank you thank you thank you!!! and add to that a big healthy SMOOCH!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why, thank you! So glad the recipe suits you so well, it's an enduring favorite of mine. I do need to try it on a pizza stone though, I'm sure that would add to the crispy texture. I love love LOVE making extra ahead of time and sticking it in the freezer; we single gals have to get creative. ;)

      So happy to share!

      Delete
  16. I made this last night and it was delicious! I had to use a full cup of almond flour to get it dough-like, but that's no big deal :] even my non-keto parents raved about it!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thanks for this amazing recipe and your awesome blog! Could I use cream cheese instead of mozzarella for the crust? I'd like to increase the fat in this and decrease the protein content. Think this would work?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Jerry! Glad you liked the crust! I don't think it would work to skip the mozza, though; it's what holds the crust together. I think with straight cream cheese it would just crumble. But you could try using whole fat mozzarella instead of the usual part-skim; you might need extra almond flour for the extra moisture, but it would increase the fat content. Not sure how to decreased the protein...if you have any other ideas I'd be happy to hear them!

      Delete
  18. Made this last night. Hubby was impressed (but still likes my homemade traditional crust best). I thought it was amazing! I haven't had a traditional crust for a very long time :) I noticed that it even smelled like yeast (from the cheese) when making the dough. I used ultra fine almond flour which is a very fine powder, not like meal at all, and it was great. I mixed it to a dough ball in my food processor then kneaded it a bit by hand. It wasn't sticky at all and rolled out nicely just on top of a piece of parchment which I then transferred directly to my baking sheet. Rolled out the next piece and when the first one was done baking, I took it off the sheet and transferred the next one directly to the baking sheet, parchment and all. Great system! To make it clear tho..Is the cheese packed in the measuring cup to 1-1/2 cups? or is it loose to 1-1/2 cups? or is it melted to measure 1-1/2 cups? Sorry, it just occurred to me whether I did it right or not. Also, for @JerryGreen, I don't think you can just use cream cheese. I think the dough needs the stretchiness of the mozzarella (which I used 100% without cheddar for the crust). My suggestion for increasing the protein content is that maybe you could replace 1Tbsp of flour with same of unflavored whey protein powder? Worth a try I guess. Sorry so long...Just really really like this! Will be my go-to recipe from now on!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your thoughts Cathy. Last night I made the crust with 1 cup of mild cheddar and 1/2 cup of mozzarella. The crust turned out great. I think you may be right about the crust needing the cheddar and mozzarella cheese, but maybe I should try it with mild cheddar and cream cheese just to see what happens! Also, I am trying to DECREASE the protein content and INCREASE the fat content. Keeping protein in MODERATE amounts and carbs LOW is the key to a properly formulated ketogenic diet. :)

      Delete
    2. Also, I eat this whole pizza in one sitting because it's so good. If I wasn't eating the entire thing in one sitting I probably wouldn't be concerned about the protein content!

      Delete
    3. Glad you like it, Cathy! As for your cheese question, the 1 1/2 cups cheese is grated and moderately packed - not loose, and not jammed in there. And definitely not melted, I can't imagine trying to get that goo in and out of a measuring cup! Great questions though, thanks. The recipe can stand a certain amount of "tweaking," so don't be afraid to play with the proportions a bit. I won't be offended. ;-)

      Delete
    4. And Jerry - you're right, on its own the pizza is not a perfect keto meal as far as macros go. But it's so darn good, I just try to make up for the proportions is other ways throughout the day. I'm just thrilled to have pizza!!

      Delete
    5. Ha yeah I was really missing pizza being on keto! I think I will try the crust with more cream cheese and less mozzarella. If I do I will let you know how it turns out! Love your recipes and your blog site!

      Delete