I know it’s been a while, but at long last I’m excited to share a new “Veganize It!” recipe with you. This one appeared in the July+August 2011 issue of VegNews Magazine, and if you missed it on the newsstand, you can find the recipe in the Recipes & Writings section of our website (while you’re there check out what’s new in the vegan bakery world, too). I’d never made or even eaten deep-dish pizza before, plus I’m really not a baker (this was the first time in my life I’ve used active dry yeast), so I didn’t really know what to expect from this recipe. I was surprised by how well it turned out and I love that it leaves a lot of room for creativity in the toppings department.
Divine Deep-Dish Pizza
Make 2 pizzas, serves 8
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
4 1/4 cups white spelt flour, divided
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
4 teaspoons salt, divided
1 teaspoon agave nectar
2 cups raw cashews
3/4 teaspoon dried dill
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup water
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in lukewarm water and let stand for 10 minutes. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, 1/4 cup oil, 2 teaspoons salt, agave, and yeast mixture. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. Continue to mix well until dough comes together completely and stir for 10 minutes to knead (the dough will be somewhat soft, unlike bread dough). Cover the bowl with a damp dish towel and allow the dough to rise in a warm area for 45 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. In a blender, process cashews, dill, lemon juice, vinegar, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 cup water until smooth.
3. In two 12-inch cake pans, spread 1 tablespoon olive oil evenly over bottom and sides of each pan. Divide dough in half and press each half into the bottom of each pan and slightly up the sides so that the thickness is consistent throughout each pan. Spread 1 tablespoon olive oil onto the dough in each pan. Add your choice of sauce and toppings, and then pour cheese sauce over the top. Bake for 18 minutes.
All my rice vinegar was seasoned (sweetened) so I used apple cider vinegar instead.
One pie was plenty for my small family, so I froze half of the dough in a sip-top plastic bag for later use. This step tested the strength and stamina of my small immersion blender, but it worked well enough.
Pushing the dough up the sides of the pan did not work for me, it just slid back down. My pie turned out great, though. I didn’t spread my ingredients all the way to the edge so there was some crust to hold onto. For my toppings I chose a variation of my childhood favorite from our local pizza place: pesto (homemade and vegan of course), steamed spinach, artichoke hearts, sliced green olives and pine nuts. Red sauce, faux meats, black olives, and even pineapple would all be great options also. If you choose to use red onion on your pizza, coat the slices in olive oil to keep them from burning as Allison suggests in her recipe tips.
My pizza came out of the oven hot and just perfectly browned. Delicious! The thick crust reminded me of pizza I ate in Italy, made on focaccia bread. SO good!
(If you want to be really decadent, follow your pizza dinner with some fair-trade chocolate for dessert like I did.)