Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Made from scratch Calzones

I had my first Calzone at an authentic pizzeria run by an authentic Italian, that was operated in a huge Mall in Seattle. I never remembered the name of the Pizzeria, or the name of the big guy who took time to step out of the kitchen and ask at the tables how their order was. But after eating the Calzone, I was bowled over by how you could taste the crust, cheeses and the topping individually in this stuffed and sealed, hearty pie. I had a few more Calzones from various places but it was never the same...some were too stuffed with toppings, some just overpowered the palate with the strength of the sauce. We missed going to that mall for a couple years and finally when we went there, their lease had expired and a Villa franchise had taken its place.
But that delicious half-moon-ish stuffed pie got me tinkering in the kitchen coming up with a halfway decent recipe that my family likes and eats too. This recipe is the result of continued experimentation. My earlier recipe has been replaced with this improved and better recipe.

Pizza Dough:-
3 cups of sifted bread flour
1/2 cup warm water + more for kneading ( And when I mean warm, it HAS to be warm to touch. Not cold and your yeast will be and you will be committing a yeast massacre which will end up making your dough not rise at all!)
1+2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp of active dry yeast
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder or 2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp mixed Italian dry herbs( basil, parsley & oregano)/ Italian seasoning mix

1. Warm 1/2 cups of water and stir in 1 tbsp sugar and 2 tbsp of dry active yeast. Leave it to work its magic for 10 minutes.It should turn milky and frothy.
2. In a big bowl, add 3 cups of all purpose flour, 1 tbsp of sugar, 1 tsp of salt, 1.5 tsp garlic powder (or you could use 2 tbsp finely minced fresh garlic, 2 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp of mixed Italian herbs (basil, parsley and oregano). Mix everything gently. Into this mix, add the bloomed yeast mixture.
3. Knead the dough gently using the warm water only as needed, to form a sticky, warm dough.
4. Now apply a little olive oil in your hands and pat the dough into a round. Cover the bowl with a lid and keep it in a warm place for about 2-3 hours.
After the said time, it should have risen almost double.
5. Punch down the dough and cut into 4 parts. Apply a little olive oil in your palms and pat the dough balls down. Now, using only your fingers, flatten each dough ball on a floured, clean surface, pressing from the center in an outward direction. Stop spreading when its about 8 inch in diameter and leave it covered for another 30-45 mins until you get everything else ready.

Olive oil- to brush on the pizza crusts
1/2  cup of  sliced mushrooms, peppers, onions, chopped, cooked sausage/pepperoni or any meat of your choice

Veggie Calzone stuffing suggestions 

1 cup of grated, mixed Parmesan and Mozzarella cheeses
About 1 tbsp or more of Mamma's hearty sauce or any thick pizza sauce of your choice.

1-2 tsp of spice mix (oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, and crushed fennel seeds)
1 egg to make egg wash (optional)

Assembling the Calzone:-
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Transfer the pizza crust to a parchment lined baking pan, you will be baking it in.
On half side of the crust, apply a layer of olive oil, spread 1/2 tbsp sauce, add the veggies, sprinkle 1/4 the spice mix, sprinkle 1/4 of the grated cheese over it, and carefully fold the unloaded part over the loaded part and using a fork, press down the edges to seal. You can use an egg wash (whisk one egg and a tsp of water together and you've got egg wash!) to give a glossy, pastry-like look to the Calzone, or simply brush some olive oil on the top. Use the fork to puncture the top, for steam venting.

Shown here is my Pesto, Spinach and Ricotta-Mozzarella Calzones

3. Repeat the same process for the remaining 3 dough balls.

4. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until the calzone is puffed up,and is lightly golden brown all over the crust. the top should be slightly hard when tapped.

(Check occasionally to see if the edges are getting brown. Too brown, too fast is never good. It has to get cooked steadily, so reduce the temp 350 In the last 10 minutes)

5. Let it cool down for about 10 minutes after baking, then cut it in half if you need it to cool down fast. Enjoy!


  1. Looks great, My favourite Calzone filling is Smoked Salmon and ricotta with spinach.

  2. Thanks Nicky! I havent tried it with smoked Salmon, but I absolutely love it with Spinach, Ricotta and Bacon bits. :-)