Socca Pizza {gluten-free}

Socca Pizza

I have a slight obsession with socca, the flatbread made from chickpea flour. There’s something really satisfying about chickpea flour used in this way – it’s somewhat bread-like, but not in the dry, puffy sort of way. The socca has a unique, and as Shane observed, almost potato chipish flavour; my favourite part is the crispy, crunchy, burnt edges. With these savoury qualities of socca in mind, it isn’t a big stretch of the imagination to think of using it as a pizza crust. The chickpea flour crust makes a great gluten-free alternative to a regular pizza crust because it’s already delicious in it’s own right; it’s not trying to be something it’s not.

There are lots of socca recipes floating around, as versions of it have been around in France and Italy for ages (in Italy it’s called “farinata”). Wikipedia says it originated in Genoa, Italy. The batter tastes better if it’s allowed to rest for at least an hour before cooking, but I usually decide to make it when I’m already hungry, so I don’t wait…and it’s still good. I’ve also made a double batch of the batter and let half of it rest in the fridge up to two days, and this works well (with the bonus that you don’t have to wait at all to make your socca when the batter is ready-made).

Ingredients:

(for two individual pizzas, or one larger pizza that serves 2)

1 cup (130g) chickpea flour
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup (250ml) water
olive oil
Your choice of pizza toppings (I made a Margherita pizza this time, with fresh mozzarella, sliced tomatoes and fresh basil)

Instructions:

Preheat oven and a cast iron frying pan (at least 10″ in diameter if making two smaller pizzas, and at least 12″ if making one large pizza) in a 500°F oven, on the lowest rack. The lower rack should be at the lowest level, and the upper rack should be about 6 inches away from the broiler element.

In the meantime, blend the chickpea flour and salt, then gradually whisk in the water to form a paste, and whisk to remove all lumps, then slowly add the rest of the water, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, blending well.

When the oven has reached 500°F, using oven mitts, take the pan out of the oven, and set on a heat-proof surface (I just use the stovetop).

Change the oven setting from 500°F to the broiler.

Pour about 1 tablespoon of olive oil on the pan. Very gently swirl this around to evenly cover the pan, and then pour half of the chickpea batter onto the pan if making two smaller pizzas, or all the batter for one large pizza, tilting a bit to distribute in a roundish shape.

Put the socca back into the oven, on the upper rack this time, and bake for about five minutes. It may take a bit longer if you are making one larger pizza. The bottom of the crust should be golden and crispy, and the top should be getting some browned spots on it.

Once this happens, remove the skillet from the oven, and place back on heat-proof surface. If I’m making two individual pizzas, I’ll put a cookie sheet in the oven on the lower rack once the first pizza is baked to keep it hot while the other one bakes under the broiler.

Add your toppings, and then place the skillet back into the oven, this time on the upper rack (which should be about 6 inches away from the broiler – if it’s too close to the heating element, it will start to smoke and burn your toppings).

Socca Pizza in the Oven

Keep checking the pizza to see when the toppings are browned as much as you like, usually this takes about five minutes, a bit longer if you have more toppings, so this probably isn’t a good time to start checking Snapchat…

When the cheese is bubbly and browning, and the socca has crispy burnt bits around the edges, it’s ready!

p.s. if you want to just make socca, you can just heat the pan under the broiler on the upper rack, and skip the first step where you heat the pan at 500°F on the lower rack…I like to preheat on the lower rack when making the pizza because it makes the bottom of the crust a bit crispier, which holds up better to the cheese and tomato toppings.

*Total oxalate content for this recipe is about 9mg.

Printable version:

Socca Pizza {gluten-free}

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 2 individual pizzas, or one larger pizza that serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 cup 130g chickpea flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup 250ml water
  • olive oil
  • Your choice of pizza toppings I made a Margherita pizza this time, with fresh mozzarella, tomato sauce, sliced tomatoes and fresh basil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven and a cast iron frying pan (at least 10" in diameter if making two smaller pizzas, and at least 12" if making one large pizza) in a 500°F oven, on the lowest rack. The lower rack should be at the lowest level, and the upper rack should be about 6 inches away from the broiler element.
  2. In the meantime, blend the chickpea flour and salt, then gradually whisk in the water to form a paste, and whisk to remove all lumps, then slowly add the rest of the water, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, blending well.
  3. When the oven has reached 500°F, using oven mitts, take the cast iron skillet out of the oven, set on a heat-proof surface.
  4. Change the oven setting from 500°F to the broiler.
  5. Pour about 1 tablespoon of olive oil on the pan. Very gently swirl this around to evenly cover the pan, and then pour half of the chickpea batter onto the pan for two smaller pizzas, or all the batter for one large pizza, tilting a bit to distribute in a roundish shape.
  6. Put the socca back into the oven, on the upper rack this time, and bake for about five minutes. It may take a bit longer if you are making one larger pizza. The bottom of the crust should be golden and crispy, and the top should be getting some browned spots on it.
  7. Once this happens, remove the skillet from the oven, and place back on heat-proof surface. If I'm making two individual pizzas, I'll put a cookie sheet in the oven on the lower rack once the first pizza is baked to keep it hot while the other one bakes under the broiler.
  8. Add your toppings, and then place the skillet back into the oven, this time on the upper rack (which should be about 6 inches away from the broiler - if it's too close to the heating element, it will start to smoke and burn your toppings).
  9. Keep checking the pizza to see when the toppings are browned as much as you like, usually this takes less than five minutes, so this probably isn't a good time to start checking Snapchat...
  10. When the cheese is bubbly and browning, and the socca has crispy burnt bits around the edges, it's ready!
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