Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sweet Potato Gruyere Pizza and Pizza Makin' Tips

Here is my "Thanksgiving Pizza," originally conceived by Sweet Potato Man, but modernized and executed by moi.

Sweet Potato Gruyere Pizza
Organic, Spiced Sweet Potato Puree, Caramelized Fennel, Shaved Garlic, Homemade Cashew Gruyere (Hard and Soft varieties), Basil Chiffonade, Chopped Hazelnuts, Home Dried Sage on a Rosemary White Whole Wheat Crust.

To make your own Thanksgiving Pizza, make your favorite pizza dough recipe and add 1 tsp of dried Rosemary.  You can add other spices or herbs to your dough as well (oregano, sage, thyme, cinnamon, nutmeg) but I just wanted rosemary as some other spice elements were present in my other ingredients.  I also like using King Arthur's White Whole Wheat flour, it is a whole grain and tastes great as a pizza dough.  Turn your dough out into a well oiled bowl and let your dough rise (usually about 1.5 hours for me).

While your dough is rising, prepare your toppings.
Hard and Soft Gruyere Cashew Cheeses (lighter cheese is the soft gruyere, darker cheese is the hard), Sweet Potato Puree (with added Cinnamon--Penzeys Vietnamese, a very strong and spicy cinnamon, salt, pepper, olive oil and garlic powder), Caramelized Fennel, Shaved Garlic, Home Dried Sage, Basil Chiffonade, and Chopped Hazelnuts.

I like to have my toppings all ready to be placed on the dough.  There's a spoon already in the Sweet Potato Puree.  Each loose topping gets it's own  spice bowl.  The cheese has been sliced and set out ready to be placed.

Elements I chose not to add were nutmeg, thyme or oregano, hot pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, etc.  I didn't want the spice elements to overwhelm, but any of those flavors would be great depending on what type of pizza you are going for.

Get your pizza peel ready by dusting with cornmeal.  I just use a cookie sheet, this one has two raised sides (so you can pick it up off the counter and out of the oven) and is flat on the other two sides so you can slide the pizza onto the stone/griddle.

In the last forty minutes or so of your dough rising, turn your oven to 500 degrees F (take your dough out first if you were proofing it in the cold oven!!).  Put your pizza stone or your magical Double Burner Cast Iron Griddle in the oven, too.  Once you are preheated to 500, allow the stone/griddle to heat up for 30 full minutes.  

When your dough is done rising, punch it down in the bowl.  Then, instead of "rolling it out," and dealing with sticky dough everywhere, I use a trick to shape my dough into a pizza.  I actually just push it into a pizza crust right in the bowl it rose in.  I use my fingers to push the dough right into the bowl, making a rough oval with even thickness. Don't worry that it is curved like the bowl, just get it to be an even thickness and the shape that you want.  (I should have taken a picture of this, sorry guys.  I will add one the next time I do pizza.)  Then I take it out carefully (It looks like a concave dough oval) and lay it on my prepared cookie sheet, and just using my hands/fingers, I continue to press it out into the perfect oval (my griddle is rectangular, so I don't do circle pizzas!).  The concavity resolves itself immediately once you lay it flat.  So easy!

Add your toppings.  

Work fairly quickly since if the dough is thin, the wet toppings can start soaking through and your pizza will stick to the peel.

Make sure your pizza slides around on the pan when you shake it gently.  If it doesn't, carefully lift it around the edges and push more cornmeal underneath it (the cornmeal acts as ball bearings for the dough to roll off the pan when you slide it).  You may have a stuck spot somewhere, I had one today close to the center.

Once your pizza is loaded with toppings and can slide left to right (towards the raised edges) and a bit back and forth (towards the open edge) you are ready to go.  Remove your hot stone/griddle from the oven.

Slide your pizza out the open edge and onto your (now very hot) stone/griddle.  Bake for 10-12 minutes in your (very well) preheated oven.  

When your pizza is done (it will be golden on the bottom, toppings will be cooked and starting to brown), remove it from the griddle using two heat proof spatulas.  

Or, at least, that's how I do it.

Put it back on your cookie sheet, and let it cool just a little bit.  
Lydia says now she's ready to serve!

Serve with Cranberry Sauce or Mushroom (or any other!) Gravy for dipping.

What kinds of pizza dreams do you have?


  1. Did you make the Gruyere from the new Artisan Vegan Cheese cookbook? I just got it. I have a pizza recipe (of course!) in my upcoming pie book. Can you believe I don't have a pizza stone?

    1. Yup, the cheese was from my T-day leftovers.

      I don't use a pizza stone, either (or a pizza peel!). I use a double-burner cast iron griddle to make pizza (you can see it in the middle pic of this post) and I use a rimless cookie sheet as the peel. The cast iron griddle stays really hot, pizza comes out rockin', and you can use it for other stuff besides!

      Can't wait for your pie book!! XOXO

  2. Yeah for you! You got your Thanksgiving pizza ! It looks very good! I like the idea of the sweet potato layer. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving....I made the very same pumpkin cheesecake pie for our dessert...no one knew it was vegan...shhh !

    1. So glad you made Susan's pie for dessert! Isn't it the best?

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks! It really was delicious! And, I have some frozen organic CSA sweet potato puree in my freezer, maybe it's time for another one of these? :-))