Last Monday night's dinner was supposed to be a pizza braid, but that morphed into personal calzones since I was working with sticky dough and wasn't sure I could pull off the cuts and braiding. No worries, mate, it was still a tasty meal, and the best part was being able to personalize the fillings in each one. Tiny Tot #1 wanted cheese only, Tiny Tot #2 wanted pepperoni and cheese, and Buppy and I each had sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, sauteed onions, black and green olives and cheese. Lets just say the kids' calzones were much easier to seal than the adult ones.
The hardest part (if you can call it that) about this recipe is sealing the edges of each calzone. The dough didn't really want to cooperate, but I showed it who's boss, and only a little cheese managed to escape from one of the lesser-filled ones.
I used this pizza crust recipe made in my bread machine (does it get any easier?) to start with. Once it was done, I plopped out the dough, kneaded it a little (with oiled hands because it was sticky), then divided it into 4 equal portions. I rolled each portion out as best I could to look like a little mini pizza, then topped with sauce, each person's requested fillings and cheese. For a calzone, you basically just fill up half the mini pizza with your toppings/cheese, fold the empty half over and do your best to seal the edges. Hence Tiny Tot #2 calling dinner 'pizza folded over'. I did the 2 for the kids first, and while they were baking made mine and Buppy's. I made sure to poke a few holes in the first batch to allow some steam to escape, but that was unneccessary in the bigger ones because I tore the dough a bit. I'm gonna say I did it on purpose so I wouldn't have to go through the hassle of poking the holes. Believe what you want.
The first pan (which had 2 calzones on it) baked for 15 minutes. They were just slightly undercooked when we cut them in half, so we let the larger ones on the 2nd pan bake for 17 minutes; they were perfect.
Give calzones a try sometime. They're a nice twist on the original pizza and could easily be stuffed with whatever you want. Be careful with super wet ingredients though, because if too much water cooks out of something (i.e. raw veggies), your dough will get soggy. I suggest sauteeing fresh veggies before cramming 'em in.
Lastly, to those of you who have asked about finding inexpensive bread machines --- there were 3 at my local Goodwill last time I checked (2 weeks or so ago). Good luck finding one in your area!
*Linked to Miz Helen’s Country Cottage Full Plate Thursday, 4/28/11.