Wednesday, July 18

A Couple of Calzone Ideas

Some days I feel like being creative with food; trying out new ingredients, flavour combinations and techniques. Other days I want something comforting; familiar; borderline junk food! A calzone is a folded pizza a bit like an Italian Cornish pasty. You can stuff them with all the usual pizza toppings and I have seen some versions where a tomato sauce is poured over the top. Unlike a standard pizza, it is customary to pack the Calzone with lots of filling. More topping/filling can only be a good thing - right?

I cooked my Calzone for longer and at a lower temperature than I would for pizza, this is to ensure the filling gets hot before the bread case burns. I put a Tweet out asking for unusual and seasonal pizza toppings and one response was 'haggis and baked beans' - not for me that one, but you lot feel free to experiment!  I'll just give you the recipe for the basic bread dough and tomato sauce here. I am sure you can come up with your own fillings of choice - just remember to pack the calzone with good stuff and bake long enough to heat through. I did two flavours: Garlic Mushroom and Dolcelatte & Salami Picante, Spinach and Mozzarella.

Basic Bread Dough:
Strong bread flour - 500g
Salt - 10g
Dried Yeast - 7g packet or 1 tsp
Tepid water - 350g
Polenta - 1 handful

Tomato Sauce
Quality tinned chopped tomatoes - 400g tin
Garlic - 4 cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
Olive Oil - 50ml
Crushed red chilli - 1 pinch
Sugar - 2 tsp
Red wine vinegar - 1 tbsp
Fresh basil - 1 small bunch, leaves only torn up
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make your bread dough, in a large bowl mix all the dry ingredients then add the water. Mix well with a knife or spatula until all the flour is incorporated. Tip onto the work surface and knead well. It will seem too wet to start with but keep working it and the dough will come together. Place the dough back in the bowl and cover. Leave to double in size. 

Meanwhile make the tomato sauce. Heat the oil and gently fry the garlic and chilli until the garlic starts to turn light golden. Tip in the tomatoes, sugar, vinegar and season lightly. Simmer gently and reduce by 1/3. Check the seasoning again and set aside to cool, then add the basil.

Set your oven to 200c. When the dough has risen, tip onto a board and knead a little more to knock all the air out of it. Divide into two and using the polenta to prevent the dough sticking, roll out two rough circles of dough the size of a large dinner plate. Put each circle of bread dough onto a heavy oiled baking tray. Place lots of filling on half the circle leaving a 2cm outside edge. Egg wash the outside edge and fold over the unfilled side encasing the filling in a 'half moon' shape. Crimp the open edges and brush all over with oil. Bake until the filling is hot and the bread dough is golden and crispy - approx 30 mins. Top with the tomato sauce that you have briefly reheated.

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