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Making cheeseless pizzas

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I just got a 14" Cuisinart pizza pan and will be making pizza for the very first time. Unfortunately I don't eat cheese. Is there anything special I should know when making cheeseless pizza? Does the cheese typically provide some sort of necessary sealing / steaming? Might the toppings get charred if I don't use cheese? The toppings I'd likeliest use, apart from tomato sauce and herbs, are probably prosciutto, sausage, onions, peppers, and mushrooms. Thanks!

PS: I'd also welcome any ideas for non-pizza uses of this pizza pan!

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  1. No worries, your pizza won't burn without the cheese. I've done it tons of times.

    As for other uses, there's always the giant cookie...

    1. I think as long as you have some kind of a sauce on the dough you should be fine!

      2 Replies
      1. re: wino22

        Even without sauce you should be fine. Brush olive oil on the the crust and top with herbs to make a delicious pie, or use tapenade. The out of print, but available through Amazon and other sources, "Italian Cooking at the Academy" from the late lamented California Culinary Academy has a marvelous recipe for a clam pizza sans cheese. I would also recommend Peter Reinhart's exquisite tome "American Pie" for a plethora of cheeseless pizza recipes (full disclosure, which may result in this post getting axed - he is an old friend - nevertheless its a great cookbook). IMHO crust is the secret to great pizza. You don't need cheese for that.

        1. re: ebethsdad

          Thanks to all so far for the helpful and assuring replies. The clam pizza recipe -- as well as Peter Reinhart's collection -- sound wonderful, and I can't wait to track them down!

      2. Use the pizza pan to make free form tarts as well... savory (caramelized onion yum) or sweet (apple, pear, rhubarb, etc.).

        2 Replies
        1. re: Emme

          That sounds delicious. Would you recommend that I use puff pastry in that case, or something else? It'd be considerably flatter than anything in a tart pan, right? Would the result be something like flat-bread?

          1. re: sequins

            You could easily use puff pastry, or a savory shortbread type dough, or a straight up pie crust type dough.

            A sweet use would be a big pizookie (like BJ's)... chocolate chip or white chocolate chip or peanut butter cookie dough spread out and baked... top w/ ice cream and whatever other toppings you'd like.

        2. Pissaladiere is excellent; my mom regularly makes potato and rosemary pizza and zucchini and onion pizza, sliced tomatoe, oregano and black olive. Olive oil is good. When not using sauce or cheese, I find you need to press down on the ingredients a little.

          2 Replies
          1. re: itryalot

            Potato and rosemary... yum. A bit extra pressure sounds like good advice. Maybe I'd need to prick some pinholes into the dough?

            1. re: sequins

              I don' t know about pinholes; if you brush on some olive oil, it may permeate through and the dough may become greasy. I think dimpling the dough with your fingers is good though.

          2. roasted chicken, rosemary, black olives, purple onion and roma tomatoes diced and topped over pizza dough that has been crushed with garlic infused olive oil is a regular around here.

            I use my pizza pan for all types of bread baking and as a reheating pan.

            3 Replies
            1. re: HillJ

              Thanks for that tantalizing suggestion -- and pardon me while I drool....

              1. re: sequins

                I think original pizza was cheeseless and had no tomato sauce. You could look for recipes for Lebanese pizzas (I think google manakeesh or mana'eesh) cuz Lebanese have loads of cheeseless kinds of pizza. A favorite of mine is with this salted thyme,sesame seed, and sumac spice mix called za'atar.

                1. re: luckyfatima

                  Thanks, luckyfatima -- I'd love to make non-Italian(esque) pizzas. Had thought of Armenian pizzas, but not Lebanese ones. Your version sounds incredibly aromatic! There's a superb spice shop in my town so I look forward to compiling these ingredients.

            2. So what does the Cuisinart pizza pan do? Is it just a pizza pan?