There are few meals I make on a regular basis these days as I am constantly trying new things. Calzones are an exception and they are likely to feature every second weekend in our house. When we were vegetarians, I used to cook pizza for the man and I, but my son always preferred a folded pizza so I would make him a calzone instead. I was always keen on calzones but the man has only jumped on the bandwagon since we went vegan.
I wrote a brief post about calzones last year and never felt that I did them justice as I didn't post my full recipe. It's interesting that I haven't changed the filling much since this post although I have changed other things a few times before settling on a final recipe. This formula has been devoured by the man and son so often, they will instantly detect if an ingredient has been forgotten or if anything has changed.
The pizza dough I used previously was a quick recipe which didn't require an hour to prove, however I was never that keen on using 20g of salt. There is more than enough salt in the calzone filling from the pizza sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, olives and tofu bacon, although my attempts to cut back on the salt from this dough meant that the texture suffered. My latest attempt used a Jamie Oliver pizza dough and I was very pleased with how it turned out so I'll be sticking with this one from now on.
Tofu bacon is the only facon I am allowed to use in these babies as my attempts to try out tempeh bacon and more recently coconut bacon have resulted in unhappy diners all around. It was the first time I had attempted to make coconut bacon and I opted to use a quick method which may have been it's undoing.
After the dough has been rolled into a oblong shape, the centre of the base is spread with a combination of a store-bought pizza sauce mixed with home-made basil pesto.
Chopped baby spinach leaves, red onion, mushrooms, roasted red capsicum and sun dried tomatoes are layed out across the centre.
Followed by tofu bacon, chopped olives and cubes of cheezly. I used to add grated cheezly but it seemed to get lost in the filling and was barely detectable. Cubes of cheezly results in a melted gooey surprise every so often.
The dough is folded over and sealed ready for baking.
After about 15-20 minutes in a very hot oven, the calzones are ready!
The recipe below makes three enormous calzones. We usually eat half for dinner and heat up the left-overs for lunch the next day. My son doesn't like all of the fillings so I make his without pesto, sun-dried tomatoes and olives.
Pizza dough (Adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe)
7g dried yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons raw caster sugar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
325ml lukewarm water
400g Tipo '00' flour
100g fine semolina
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
extra Tipo '00' flour, as required
Combine the yeast, caster sugar, olive oil and water in a jug and stir well. Set aside for a few minutes or until the yeast starts to look a bit frothy. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, semolina and salt and then make a well in the centre. Pour the contents of the jug into the well and using your hands work the dry ingredients into the wet until everything is combined together.
Transfer the dough onto a clean bench dusted with flour and knead for about 5-7 minutes, adding more flour as necessary. The dough should be smooth and have a springy texture. Place the dough into a bowl dusted with flour, sprinkle some more flour on top and cover with a tea towel. Allow to dough to rise in a warm spot for about an hour or until it has doubled in size.
Turn the dough onto your bench and punch it down to remove the air. Knead for a minute and then divide the dough into 3 or 4 pieces. Roll each piece of dough out to a thickness of about 0.5cm using more flour if the dough is sticky.
Calzone filling and assembly
1/3 - 1/2 cup Leggos pizza sauce with herbs
2 teaspoons basil pesto
100g baby spinach, roughly chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
200g mushrooms, chopped
150g roasted red capsicums, chopped
100g sun-dried tomatoes, drained of oil and chopped
15 kalamata olives, sliced
200g cheezly, cut into 2cm cubes
18 strips tofu bacon, chopped
Preheat the oven to 230C.
Spread a mixture of pizza sauce and pesto on the centre of a base, leaving about 2-3cm around the edges plain. Add some chopped spinach, red onion, mushrooms, roasted red capsicums, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, cheezly and tofu bacon. Grab the edge of the dough that is furtherest from you and carefully roll it over the top of the filling. Starting at one end twist the edges to seal up the calzone. Repeat for the remaining calzones.
Gently place the calzones onto large baking trays sprayed with olive oil. Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes until the tops have browned.