Thursday, January 14, 2010
Calzones-Meatless Sausage and Kale
The boys said the kale and cheese filling was indistinguishable from spinach, which is great because it is much less expensive than spinach. The fake sausage meat was a big hit, but not the sort of thing I typically buy. I had half a bag of fake meat crumbles left from making Danny "meatballs" yesterday, so I browned it up and tossed it in the leftover spaghetti sauce.
Neither of these fillings follow anything approaching a proper recipe, and as always I encourage you to use what you have on hand. Frozen spinach? Great. Ricotta? Cottage cheese? Doesn't matter. You get the idea. Instead, I'll give you the recipe for the dough which will make eigh large calzones, and some pointers for assembling and baking them.
First, it helps if you're resigned to the fact the calzones will leak fillings. They always do, at least a bit and yeah-the pan is a pain to clean. That's the price you pay for baking with cheese. Try not to over-fill them and they will leak a bit less, but they will spill fillings onto the pan-they just will.
Your first calzone will look like crap. Again, no one will care. Pinch the dough together and proceed with the rest. Subsequent calzones will improve in appearance.
The dough needs an hour to rise and fifteen minutes to rest after being punched down. Use this time to prepare the fillings. If you time it correctly the whole thing can be done in a couple hours. If you're really on the ball, fillings can be prepared ahead.
You can either toss cornmeal on the pan or grease it lightly with oil. I used oil today, but I don't really have a clear preference. They are both equally difficult to clean.
When they are finished baking, remove them to a rack set over a baking sheet (the leak issue again) and let stand a few minutes before serving. They re-heat well in an oven next day, less well in a microwave.
For the dough:
2 cups warm water
3 teaspoons granulated yeast
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3-4 cups bread flour
Dissolve the sugar and yeast in warm water in a large bowl. When foamy, stir in salt and flour adding only enough flour until dough can be kneaded and is no longer sticky. Knead until smooth. Place in a generously oiled bowl and let rise, covered for 1 hour. Punch down, divide into 8 pieces and let rest fifteen minutes, lightly covered.
Roll out each piece into a square. Place filling in centre and fold. Pinch shut and place seam side down on sheet. Cut a slit in top. Brush with an egg wash of 1 egg yolk and 1 tablespoon water. Bake at 350 degrees F. for about 45 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.