An Easy Recipe for work-ahead convenience
It is handheld comfort food. It’s a frozen convenience meal that everyone actually asks you to serve. Plan an 1 ½-2 hour session to make these ahead, and you can have as many as 4-5 separate dinners in the freezer! That’s a great return on investment for your time, and it’s peace of mind—because having something stashed away for that later-than-expected dinner means you are less likely to eat something you will regret.
You will need a Large Dumpling, Empanada Press. This thing is great for sweet & savory recipes. Who wants one more gadget? How about a better question, can you live without one?
Years ago an older Russian woman was convinced she would teach me how to make a piroshki (not too unlike the shape and size of a calzone, really). I frustrated her, she yelled in a language I did not understand, and my hands were smacked several times. In full disclosure, Wilson chuckled to himself because he had to put up with her every day since she was his teacher and he could understand all of her admonishments. I cried. I, a grown woman, cried over my piroshkies and was rather traumatized by the whole three-hour event. In fact, I was so traumatized by it that as I was crying, I fumbled with my keys and managed to lock my house & car keys IN my car & had to call the locksmith. True story. So for me, the answer is YES! Just get the press, already! Really, anything stuffed inside of a bread pocket is delicious, kid-friendly, travel-friendly, freezer-friendly, & convenient.
Your end result will be more visually appealing with the large dumpling (or empanada) press. The bigger problem for me when I’ve made them without the press is that if I tore my dough or did not seal the edges well, the contents would spill out. That makes pan cleanup a real chore, and ruined the prospect of eating them on-the-go (which is the best part of these—they are just as good cold, so take them camping or pack them for lunch).
I make two separate batches at a time. If I double this recipe, I will get 20 calzones for the freezer & a pizza crust for tonight’s dinner.
Use your favorite pizza toppings as the stuffing!
4 cups warm water
4 tsp. instant yeast
8 1/2 cups home-milled flour, an extra cup for dusting
4 tsp. sea salt
Pizza sauce (a double recipe takes 1 whole jar)
Toppings of choice
4 tbs. olive oil
1) Mix yeast into the warm water and let proof for 10 minutes.
2) Add flour and salt, barely mixing it until the dough is just sticky.
3) Cover and allow to rise for approximately 1 hour in a warm place.
4) After the dough has risen, separate into 8 equal halves, these should be balls that fit nicely into the palm of your hand.
5) Roll each ball into a flat circle and add flour liberally to keep from tearing the dough. Make the circle wide enough that it will stretch to the teeth of the dumpling press.
6) After you place the dough circle onto the dumpling press, add approximately 3 tablespoons of topping (do not overflow it, it might rip a hole into your calzone).
7) To close the calzone, fold both sides up simulatenously, balancing the center part of the dumpling press flat onto the table. This prevents it being pushed out the back of the maker. If you find this is happening, carefully push the calzone back through the opening to prevent ripping.
8) If there is too much dough on the edge, rip it off.
9) Brush olive oil liberally onto the top of the dough.
10) Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes on a greased and floured sheet.
All pictures are property of Pantry Paratus. Please feel free to pin or share them, but keep the original attribution. Thank you.