Socca or Farinata chick pea pizza's


I have become accustomed to doing crochet or knitting (or whatever is the 'sofa' project of the moment) whilst watching the telly. It means that I can a) crack on with something creative, and b) watch tv without feeling guilty about wasting my life. It does mean that I sort of dip in and out of some programs if I'm working on something that I need to concentrate on, and it's completely useless trying to do this whilst watching something with sub titles. Anyway, I caught a bit of an episode of 'eat well for less' and was really taken with the chick pea pizza's. I did some research (ie googling) and found that it has been around for ever as 'socca' in France and 'farinata' in Italy. You make a sort of pizza base from a pancake  using a batter made with gram flour (chick pea flour), olive oil, water and seasoning, which is then baked in the oven with some pizza toppings. I decided to have a go at making this when shopping at the local Co-op and found that both cherry tomatoes and mozzarella were reduced in price. I saw it as fate and made a roasted cherry tomato paste and chick pea pancakes using some dried chick peas that have been in the cupboard for.....let's say 'a while'. The chick peas were ground into flour very noisily by my flour mill, and after mixing into a batter and leaving to soak for a while, I set to with the pizza pancakes. I was not sure how thick to make them to start with and so the first was a bit thick and the second just right. Now to add the toppings and I opted for a simple margherita with the roasted cherry tomatoes all whizzed up into a paste and spread on the pancake with mozzarella scattered on top. I would have added some torn basil leaves, but I didn't have any. Oh how I miss my greenhouse!. The oven was preheated (with the welsh baking stone preheating too), so all I had to do was transfer the pizza pancake to the oven and leave it to bake. The first pizza l cooked for 10 minutes and the mozzarella was nicely melted and bubbling, but after tasting it I thought that it could have done with a bit longer, so the second I cooked for about 12 minutes and this ended up a bit crispier. The combination of a thinner pancake and longer cooking and it was just about perfect. And so healthy too, as the chick pea's apparantly count as 1 of the recommended 5 fruit/vegetables. Whatever. It tasted fab.  
Cautionary tale - the chick pea pizza's were delicious, but being a 'bean/pea' based product there were some after effects. Think baked beans. Need I say more?

My recipefor the tomato paste-
2 packs of cherry tomatoes
1 onion
3 (unpeeled) cloves od garlic

  • Slice the onion and add to the cherry tomatoes and garlic in a baking tray
  • drizzle with olive oil
  • roast in the oven at about 180C or gas 5 for about 40 minutes. The tomatoes will just be turning a little black. When cool, squeeze the garlic from the cloves and whizz the whole lot in a blender with a little seasoning. Add herbs if you want, although I didn't bother.

My recipe for chick pea pizza's

2 cups of gram flour with 2 cups water (approx 150g of each)'
1tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
some dried herbs. Fresh would be better if you have them. I used a mix of thyme, oregano, and parsley.

  • pre heat the oven to 200C. Pre heat your pizza stone if you have one
  • mix all ingredients with a whisk and leave to stand for about 1 hour, although you can prepare it the day before and leave covered in the fridge. Nb The batter thickens up as the flour soaks up the water.

  • heat your frying pan or skillet with a little oil. Pour half the batter and leave to cook. You know when to turn it over as the top of the pancake looks dry and set. Turn over and cook the other side
  • slide the pancake onto a plate and swirl the roasted cherry tomato paste over the pancake and then scatter mozzarella on top. You can add any toppings you like - go with the flow!
  • slide the pizza onto the baking stone. Alternatively, put the pizza on a oiled baking tray and bake in the oven for about 12-15 minutes. 
  • leave to cool for a bit if you can, otherwise blow on it before you eat it! Yum.