This post was sponsored by Jarlsberg. If you’d like to go straight to the recipe? Click here to go to the gluten-free socca pizza recipe. But if you want a few little tips, keep reading!
My favourite go-to snack in the late summer months is Jarlsberg and orchard fruit. They make a great pair. The late summer fruits are sweet, and Jarlsberg is nutty, and the combination makes me happy. I’m not exaggerating when I say I eat a lot of this cheese: I buy big hunks of Jarlsberg at Costco! So I thought why not transform my favourite snack into a proper meal? And that’s how this socca pizza with Jarlsberg cheese and nectarines was born.
What is a socca?
Socca is a chickpea pancake made from equal parts chickpea flour and water (cup-for-cup, so equal parts by volume not by weight!). A socca is so versatile. It makes a great gluten-free pizza base that you can top with all kinds of your favourite cheesy, fun ingredients. It’s basically a blank canvas that you can use to make so many tasty things.
I love to bake and experiment with “alternative” flours, or flours other than the beloved all-purpose that we are all so accustomed to. Of course, baking with a new ingredient can present some challenges. Take chickpea flour. I first bought chickpea flour for a Jamie Oliver gluten-free bread recipe that was packed full of “superfoods,” good-for-you stuff, and of course, chickpea flour. The bread I pulled out of the oven was gorgeous. Unfortunately, the strong flavour of the chickpea flour had rendered the bread quasi-inedible if you didn’t slather it in salted butter and honey. Not exactly the result I was looking for. Don’t get me wrong: I adore slathering bread with salted butter and honey, but usually I do this with breads that I can eat plain. This bread was a little tough to swallow on it’s own, so to speak, because it had such a strong, bitter vegetable flavour.
What you need to know about chickpea flour
I’ve since learned that there are two kinds of chickpea flour that you can buy: chickpea flour is either made from raw chickpeas or roasted chickpeas. So when you purchase chickpea flour, it might be of the roasted variety, with a mild flavour. Depends on the brand. But if you happen to buy raw chickpea flour, like I unknowingly did, the flavour is strong, teetering towards a bitter vegetable flavour that is hard to describe and not the most pleasant if you aren’t used to this flavour. The good news is, there’s one thing you can do when you bake with chickpea flour to compensate for that bitter flavour: use more salt!
Add salt to mask bitter flavours in cooking and baking
You probably do this without even knowing it, like when you cook with eggplants. A lot of eggplant recipes begin with salting the vegetable. Most will say it draws out the bitterness from eggplant but actually, salt draws out moisture and masks bitterness. Salt doesn’t get rid of the compounds that give certain eggplant varieties that bitter flavour. Salt is used to distract your taste buds from the unpleasant bitter flavour. Salt suppresses bitterness. So, when you happen to bake with chickpea flour, if you taste the batter and you’re left with a bitter, less than palatable taste in your mouth, add more salt! It really helps. Trust me!
Now that we know how to handle certain types of chickpea flour, we can make awesome gluten-free dishes like socca. For this late summer socca pizza, I thought that sweet nectarines would be the perfect topping for socca pizzas with lots and lots of Jarlsberg cheese—my go-to snack of fruit and Jarlsberg transformed into an awesome meal. Is there such thing as too much cheese? I think not! In the late summer months, I’ll be making this recipe with peaches and nectarines, and in the fall and winter months, ripe pears would be a real treat with Jarlsberg. The apricots of late spring would also make a great topping in this recipe. You are going to love this recipe for gluten-free socca pizzas topped with Jarlsberg cheese and your favourite fruit. It hits all the salty, savoury, sweet notes that we all love.
Gluten-free socca pizza with Jarlsberg & nectarines recipe
Socca pizza with Jarlsberg & nectarines
Make a socca pizza with Jarlsberg & nectarines. This gluten-free pizza is made from chickpea flour and baked in a cast iron skillet. This recipe would work with peaches or even pears.
- 188 grams chickpea flour 1 1/2 cups
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- Freshly ground pepper
- 375 mL water 1 1/2 cups
- 2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for oiling the skillet
- 3 small nectarines or peaches, sliced
- 120 grams shredded Jarlsberg cheese 1 cup (feel free to use more!)
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- Finishing salt & freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 450ºF.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the chickpea flour, salt, sugar, and some freshly ground pepper.
Form a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, and pour in a little of the water. Whisk the water into a little of the dry ingredients to form a thick paste in the centre of the bowl. Repeat with a little more water, whisking every time until you have added all the water and you have a smooth batter. Whisk in the olive oil. Let rest on the counter for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat three (3) small 7-inch seasoned cast iron skillets or one large 12-inch seasoned cast-iron skillet in the hot oven for about 10 minutes.
Quickly slide the pan(s) out of the oven, drizzle with a little olive oil and brush it all over the pan, then pour one third of the batter per 7-inch skillet or all the batter into the larger oiled, hot pan. Put the pan(s) back in the hot oven.
Bake the socca pizza base for 10 to 12 minutes for small pizzas, or longer for larger pizzas. The socca will look set and will be firm when baked (see photo).
Remove the pan from the oven and top with sliced nectarines, lots of shredded Jarlsberg cheese, fresh thyme leaves, honey, salt, and freshly ground pepper.
Bake for another 10 minutes or so, or until the cheese begins to brown. For more colour, you can turn the broiler grill (top oven element) to 450ºF and move the pan(s) to the top rack and leave the oven door open a crack. It will only take a minute or two for the cheese to brown so keep an eye on it!
Serve the socca pizza with more honey, fresh thyme leaves, and a sprinkling of your favourite finishing salt and pepper.
This post is sponsored by Jarlsberg. I was compensated monetarily. Thanks for supporting the companies that allow me to create content for Kitchen Heals Soul. As always, please know that I wouldn’t work with a sponsor nor recommend a product if it wasn’t worth it.
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