These are so delicious I don’t even have words for them. It’s like a miracle.
• ¼ c warm water
• 1 pkg active dry yeast
• 2 tsp sugar
• 1 lightly beaten egg
• 2-3 tsp olive oil
• 1 c milk
• 1 tsp salt
• 3 c unbleached all-purpose flour
• 1 c whole-wheat flour
• 1 egg (optional)
• 1 ½ tsp water (with egg, about 1 T water without egg)
• 1/3 c mozzarella cheese
• 2 T ricotta cheese
• 1-2 tsp olive oil
• pepperoni, chicken, sausage, green peppers, pineapple, sardines… whatever you love on pizza
Okay. The ingredients above for the dough make six, count ‘em six, calzones. Since nobody eats six calzones at one time (although you’ll probably want to once you taste how amazing these are), you can divide the dough into six balls and then freeze however many you aren’t going to make immediately. For those of you bad at math, that means you can freeze four balls of dough if you’re only wanting to make two calzones.
Prep a little bit ahead of time with the dough, because it’s a yeast dough. You can’t decide at 6pm that you want calzones in a half-hour, unless you’ve already frozen and dethawed some dough or you’re planning to get take-out from Domino’s. Here’s what you do.
Put the warm water in a mixing bowl, and make sure it’s warm like hot and not warm like lukewarm. A good thing to do is boil some water, turn the heat off and let it sit for two minutes, then take the 1/4 cup out of there and put it in the bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the water and let it sit for a minute or two. Then add the sugar. Let it sit for 3-4 minutes. It should start to foam and make crazy, science-project-like bubbles and movements. If it doesn’t, you’re screwed and you’ll need to start over. Your yeast dough absolutely must rise or the recipe won’t work.
Assuming your mixture has foamed, add your egg, half the oil, the milk, and the salt. Mix that stuff up. Put in a cup of the unbleached all-purpose flour and mix it in, either by electric mixer or hand and spatula. Add the rest of the flour in 3 or 4 cycles and mix after each one. It doesn’t matter when you put in the whole-wheat flour, as long as you put it in eventually. Whole-wheat flour isn’t even required for this recipe; it just makes it healthier and (in my opinion) tastier.
Now knead the dough for about four minutes. You can do this by fancy electric mixer if you have a dough hook, but if you’re a common person like me you can just knead it like they did before electricity existed. When you’re done, wash out the bowl you mixed the dough together in and pat it dry. Grease the bowl with your remaining teaspoon or two of olive oil and drizzle some olive oil over the ball of dough for good measure, too. Then drop that sucker in the bowl and cover it up. Let it rest for an hour and a half at bare minimum, and up to three or four hours.
Now, after it’s risen, the opportunity is ripe for you to divide it into six balls of dough. Wrap up and freeze whatever you’re not using, and prep the ones you are using by dabbing them with flour and coating a work surface with a thin layer of flour as well. Get out the old rolling pin and pat your ball of dough into a disk with your palm. Then roll it out until it’s about 8 or 10 inches in diameter.
Mix up your filling ingredients, minus the egg and water. Good things to stick in there, I’ve found, include basil and ground turkey that you’ve lightly stir-fried beforehand. Tomato sauce or pizza sauce is not necessary, and you probably won’t even miss its presence, but feel free to put some in if you want it to taste more like pizza. It won’t, but you might feel better about it anyway. Around the time when you’re preparing your filling is also a good time to preheat the oven, to 450.
Now, about the egg and water. You’re supposed to whip up one egg, combine it with about a teaspoon of water, and use that mixture like cement to seal your calzone. This is both unnecessary and wasteful, however, because you won’t use even a quarter of the egg mixture and you don’t need an egg to seal the thing. If you have an extra egg and you can save it to use in a different recipe later, then by all means go for it. If you don’t, though, you can just use plain old water to seal the calzone. Put your filling in half of the circle, coat the whole circumference of the circle lightly with water or the egg mix, and then pull the unfilled half over the filled half and push down all around so it seals. I like to pinch up and fold over along the whole half-moon border so it won’t start to leak in the oven.
Fill your other calzone the same way and seal it. Then brush a cookie sheet with olive oil and place the raw calzones on it. Stick them in the oven for 30 minutes and you will find pure beauty and deliciousness when you open it up again.
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