When in December the first news clip leaked that Pizza Hut in China was launching a durian pizza, I was staying with my friend Megan in San Francisco. Megan is a vegan chef with a great recipe Youtube channel. She’s the one who came up with my all-time favorite durian ice cream recipe.
“Congratulations, San Francisco, you’ve ruined pizza.”
The character was not discussing the merits of adding durian to pizza, but I was having similar inhibitions.
Durian is already so perfect, but on pizza? Were we about to ruin a good $9.95 packet of durian, or make a pizza ten thousand times better?
In honor of San Francisco and taking creative leaps, we made our durian pizza like this.
Neither durian nor broccoli ruined the pizza. In fact, durian may be the key pizza ingredient we vegans have been missing.
Roasted durian added an amazing caramel smokiness, sweeter than roasted onions and creamier than cheese. And the stringy fibers I usually complain about in frozen durian gave it the oozing, hot, pull-the-toppings-off deliciousness of the real cheese pizza I stopped eating so long ago. It was stretchy.
Combined with a salty layer of vegan cashew cheese, it was a heavy, rich, and immensely satiating.
It was also, possibly, too alternative for even San Francisco. I mean, the joke about the broccoli pizza is funny because there’s so many yuppies and health food freaks in the area.
Not that I don’t %100 fit the stereotype, but still.
Our pizza had homemade, vegan, cashew cheese on it.
The crust recipe is not only gluten-free, it has a base of zucchini. Is that even worse than broccoli?
Pizza Hut would so not approve.
Ingredients for San Francisco Durian Pizza:
- 1 pizza crust of choice (my recipe below).
- durian flesh, mashed
- Vegan Cashew Cheese (cashews, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, sun dried tomatoes)
- Broccoli, spinach or other pizza ruiners
How to make a healthy durian pizza
The Chinese recipe, as far as I can tell, is simply to add a fat layer of durian flesh under your cheese and selected toppings. So that’s what we did.
1. Make or buy a crust, possibly one that involves gluten and yeast and attempts to twirl it on your forefinger. You’re also welcome to try mine, which I love because it’s spongy and bready whether you bake it or dehydrate it.
My pizza crust recipe:
- 2-3 cups grated zucchini
- 2 cups buckwheat flour
- 1/8 cup flax meal
- Herbs and pizza seasonings
Grate the zucchini and press gently to reduce the water content. Mix with flour, flax meal, herbs and salt, until it’s a dry, slightly crumbly dough. The key here is getting the moisture content right — wet enough for the flax to absorb water, but dry enough that the dough doesn’t stick to your fingers. It should look kind of like this:
2. Press onto a round pizza pan and crimp the edges to create a crust. Bake crust for 20 minutes until browned and dried. The crust should not stick to the pan.
3. While you’re waiting for the crust, mash the durian flesh and remove any hard or rubbery particles. Attempt to save some for the pizza. It’s such a risk, I know.
4. Smear with a fat layer of durian flesh. Add your cheese of choice on top, followed by any vegetable toppings.
5. Bake at 400 F until browned on top.
6. Slice and admire the layer of durian flesh, and then consume straight off the pan, hot from the oven, nearly burning your fingertips while you blog on it in a vain attempt to protect the roof of your mouth.
Oh so so sweet and cheesy. Congratulations, San Francisco.
How will you make your durian pizza?