Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pepperoni Calzones

Being on vacation, I was looking to make a dish that I normally wouldn't have time for during the week. Not necessarily something difficult, but something that would be time consuming- that's when a fresh-baked bread of some sort came to mind. The dough was incredibly easy (and virtually fool-proof). Just add a few ingredients into the stand mixer and let it "knead" with the dough hook attachment for 10 minutes, followed by a few hours to allow the dough to rise and double in size. The filling is a mixture of cottage cheese (CI recommends ricotta cheese), mozzarella, and Parmesan that is infused with a garlic-red pepper oil. Do not skip this step- it's what sends the flavor of this dish over the top. It provided excellent seasoning and a great base. I added a package of pepperoni slices and omitted the salt. This calzone was creamy, gooey, and so flavorful. I especially liked the crust to filling ratio- I tend to shy away from eating calzones at restaurants since most times, the calzone dough is so thick that it overwhelms the filling inside. But not this one- this has the perfect amount of filling and a tender, fluffy, yet not-so-thick crust... and will make your kitchen smell heavenly of fresh bread.

CI note: To make this recipe, you will need a pizza stone, stand mixer or food processor, and parchment paper. The stone must heat for an additional 30 minutes once the oven has come up to temperature; if your oven heats slowly, begin heating it about an hour into the dough’s first rise. Leftover calzones must be refrigerated; to reheat, heat the oven with the pizza stone just as you did when making the recipe, then set the calzones on the hot pizza stone for about 10 minutes. A simple tomato sauce is a nice accompaniment to the calzones.

For a quick meal, I usually keep Pillsbury's Thin Crust Pizza Dough on hand. The filling recipe will make enough to fill (2) cans. I bake them as directed on the package- 400 degrees for 15-17 minutes on a greased baking sheet. Yield: 8 calzones

For the Dough
4 cups bread flour (22 ounces) plus additional for dusting work surface
2-1/4 tsp instant yeast or rapid rise yeast(1 envelope)
1-1/2 tsp table salt
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/2 cups water plus 1 Tbsp, 105 degrees
Cooking spray
Plastic wrap

For the Filling
3 medium cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press or minced (~1 Tbsp)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
15-oz whole-milk ricotta or cottage cheese (Used fat-free cottage cheese)
8 ounces shredded fresh mozzarella (2 cups)
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
8-oz pepperoni slices, chopped into quarters
1 large egg yolk
1 Tbsp minced fresh oregano leaves (Used 1/2 Tbsp dried oregano)
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing shaped calzones
Kosher salt for sprinkling

For the Dough
1. In bowl of standing mixer, whisk flour, yeast, and salt to combine.
2. Attach bowl and dough hook to mixer; with mixer running at medium-low speed, add olive oil, then gradually add water; continue to mix until mixture comes together and smooth, elastic dough forms, about 10 minutes.

3. Lightly spray large bowl with nonstick cooking spray; form dough into ball, transfer it to bowl, cover bowl with plastic wrap lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, and let rise in warm spot until doubled in size, 1-1/2 to 2 hours.

For the Filling
1. While dough rises, stir together garlic, olive oil, and red pepper flakes in 8-inch skillet over medium heat until garlic is fragrant and sizzling and mixture registers 200 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 1-1/2 to 2 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and cool until warm, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
2. In medium bowl, stir together cheeses, pepperoni, egg yolk, oregano, black pepper, and cooled garlic-pepper oil until combined; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
3. Adjust oven rack to lowest position, set pizza stone on oven rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees.
4. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and spray parchment lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
5. Turn risen dough out onto unfloured work surface. Divide dough in half, then cut each half into thirds.
6. Gently reshape each piece of dough into ball. Transfer to baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Let dough rest at least 15 minutes but no more than 30 minutes.
7. Cut (8) 9-inch squares of parchment paper. Working with one piece of dough at a time and keeping other pieces covered, roll dough into 9-inch round. Set round onto parchment square and cover with another parchment square; roll out another dough ball, set dough round on top of first, and cover with parchment square. Repeat to form stack of 3 rounds, covering top round with parchment square. Form second stack of 3 with remaining dough balls and parchment squares.

8. Remove top parchment square from first stack of dough rounds and place rounds with parchment beneath on work surface; if dough rounds have shrunk, gently and evenly roll out again to 9-inch rounds.
9. Place scant 1/2 cup cheese filling in center of bottom half of dough round. Using small spatula, spread/press filling in even layer across bottom half of dough round, leaving 1-inch border uncovered.

10. Fold top half of dough over cheese-covered bottom half, leaving 1/2-inch border of bottom layer uncovered.

11. With fingertips, lightly press around silhouette of cheese filling and out to edge to lightly seal dough.

12. Beginning at one end of seam, place index finger diagonally across edge and gently pull bottom layer of dough over tip of index finger; press into dough to seal. Repeat until calzone is fully sealed.

13. With very sharp paring knife or razor blade, cut 5 slits, about 11/2 inches long, diagonally across top of calzone, making sure to cut through only top layer of dough and not completely through calzone.

14. With pastry brush, brush tops and sides of calzones with olive oil and lightly sprinkle with salt.
15. Trim excess parchment paper; slide calzones on parchment onto pizza peel or rimless baking sheet, then slide calzones with parchment onto hot pizza stone, evenly spacing them apart.
16. Bake until golden brown, about 11 minutes; use pizza peel or rimless baking sheet to remove calzones with parchment to wire rack. Remove parchment, cool 5 minutes, and serve.
17. While first batch bakes, form second batch and bake after removing first batch.

Yield: (6) 9"x4" calzones

Source: Adapted from Cook's Illustrated


Maria said...

Mmmm...this looks great! My son would love this!!

kitchen koala said...

Mmm...calzones! Pizza I can eat while driving :)

Jen said...

This looks so good! I will definitely have to make this!

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