I've mentioned it before in passing, but my little guy has High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder.
He is awesome. He's sweet, cuddly, hilarious, and can both read and write (well beyond his comprehension of language) already despite having just turned 3 last week. He appears to be hyperlexic, which is crazy fun to observe. That being said, he obviously has some issues and his sensory issues are probably second only to functional language delays.
He's slowly improving when it comes to tactile sensitivities, but he has so many weird issues with foods he can't/won't eat. I'm constantly trying to figure out ways to sneak extra nutrients into the foods he will eat. Lately he's been stuck on pizza.
Like STUCK on pizza. He walks around asking for it all of the time.
Pizza isn't exactly known for it's nutritional value, and I can't just load it with veggies because he will only eat cheese or pepperoni pizza.
That leaves me with crust and sauce to play with.
I started with the crust- I've had success working sweet potato puree into other foods for him before (I have to say, sweet potato grilled cheese sandwiches are absolutely amazing!). I think next time I might branch out and try pea puree or spinach in the crust, but I wanted to start with baby steps for my son.
Anyway, I started looking online for sweet potato crust recipes and didn't really find any that were what I wanted. I saw a lot that weren't yeast-based, and I wanted a "normal" crust that my son would be interested in eating- just with sweet potato worked in.
When the internet fails me, it's time to get to work being creative, so off to work I went!
|The dough ready to shape|
I started with 3 large sweet potatoes. I added them to boiling water and let them cook for about 20 minutes. Then I peeled them and shredded them in the food processor until they were almost entirely smooth.
I came up with a pretty basic pizza crust recipe using that puree, then allowed it to slow rise overnight in the fridge. This morning I took 1/3 of that dough and made it into an awesome pizza! The other 2/3 of the dough I shaped into 2 dough balls, wrapped in saran wrap, and threw in the freezer for later.
This turned out so well, I'm really excited! It has a slight sweet potato taste, but not enough to throw off my son (or sweet potato-hating husband, for that matter!). I think next time I'm actually going to make up little serving-sized pizzas ahead of time and freeze them so they're ready to go for little man!
This is a great way to work a few extra nutrients into an otherwise not so healthy meal. Between the sweet potato and the whole wheat flour, I feel much better serving it to my son.
|After first bake|
Makes 3 medium-size pizza crusts
1 C lukewarm water
1 Tbsp yeast
1 Tbsp brown sugar
4 C sweet potato puree
1/4 C vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
3 1/2 C all purpose flour
2 1/2 C whole wheat flour
1. Combine water, yeast, and brown sugar. Allow yeast to bloom, approximately 5 minutes. Mix in sweet potato puree, oil, and salt. Slowly add both all purpose and whole wheat flours, using a mixer with a dough hook to kneed until smooth. The dough will be slightly sticky, but not so much that it can't be handled. Turn dough into a greased bowl and cover with saran wrap. Allow to rise overnight.
2. Remove dough from refrigerator, form into 3 dough balls. At this point, dough may be frozen for future use. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly dust pizza stone with corn meal. Flatten dough ball and shape to approximately half of final size. Allow dough to rest for 10 minutes. Roll out dough to final size and bake for 15 minutes. If dough isn't done, place crust directly on oven rack and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
3. Remove crust from oven. Top with sauce and desired toppings. Return to oven, placing directly on oven rack, and bake for 12 minutes or until cheese is golden.