Pizza. How can one actually resist it? The big advantage of being vegan is that you are saved from frozen, junky versions and if you know that today is the day to make a pizza at home, you know that you’re up for a task and make it yourself.
Nevertheless, vegan pizza is tricky. So what, you’ll buy vegan “cheese”? I don’t believe in these industrial food-imitations. But what can come on a pizza which will be both stretchy and creamy? A home made cashew mozzarella.
The amounts in this recipe are for two large pizzas.
We shall start with the dough since it takes the longest.
We will need: 500g flour (if you have an Italian shop nearby, buy specialized flour, 00 type), 330 ml warm water, 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, 10 g dry yeast, 5 spoons olive oil.
In a bowl mix the flour and salt. In a cup mix the yeast and sugar into the water, and let them start working for around 5 minutes. Then, mix it all together, and knead for around 10-15 minutes, until gluten bonds are visible in the dough. It will be sticky – and that’s fine. After kneading, cover with a towel and leave in a warm place to rise for 2 hours. Then, punch to release the air, divide into balls in the desired and leave to rise again, for another 45 minutes.
1/2 cup raw cashew nuts, soaked in water for 6-8 hours, then sieved and blended to a fine paste; 1 tsp lemon juice; 1 warm cup water; 2 spoons tapioca flour; optional: 1/2 tsp xantan gum (if you really want it stretchy). Blend it all in a blender until it’s all fine and liquid, then start, while constantly mixing, to heat it over a medium flame. At a certain point it will start to become stretchy, then you know you’ve got yourself some mozzarella.
Here the options are endless, feel free to use whichever recipe you have in mind. I like using very ripe tomatoes, dice them, add them to a pot with olive oil and a branch of thyme and a broken clove of garlic, and cook until they all melt to a sauce. Then, I take out the thyme and garlic, add salt and reduce until the sauce is perfectly thick.
First, heat the oven to it’s maximum temperature. No fan or ‘turbo’ mode is needed. 300 C is wanted, 250 will do. If you only have 200 as maximum, leave an upside-down baking pan at the bottom of the oven. It will increase the heat in its proximity.
Flatten the dough with oiled hands (you can spread some semolina on the working tray for extra crunch) and leave the pizza over baking paper. Add sauce, toppings (not too much) and some drops of the cashew cheese. Place over the baking pan which is already in the oven. Bake until it is nice and brown (around 10 minutes). Enjoy, and don’t forget to start making the second round, since there’s always more room for pizza!