Tuesday, 17 April 2012


I've mentioned before how my boys are great eaters in their own ways, but tend not to always like the same things. They are probably like 99% of kids - making their mother's lives more complicated than they need to be. This calzone/ "snack of the day" is a case in point. Both of my sons are mad about Italian food. They both love bread in all it's forms, they adore cheese (particularly the expensive stuff!) and pesto. However, one won't eat meat (unless it's in a burger or pie) and the other won't eat tomatoes. This is where my creativity is put to the test. To make calzones they will both rave about (after all that is the point, isn't it?), and not peer into with their noses turned up, picking the meat out or complaining about the presence of tomatoes, I have to work a little harder. I make them to suit my boys tastes - which is a cinch to do with this recipe. It's so flexible you can customise these snacks to fit your little darlings likes and dislikes. Choose filling ingredients that suit you and yours. The hard part is keeping track of what's inside these little surprise packages. If you look closely at the first photo you can see that I marked the baking paper with an L and a J to denote which calzone belonged to what child. It was a good idea at the time, but I mixed them up when they were put on the plates and I had to cut them open to work out whose was whose and what was what!...Best laid plans and all that.

adapted from Rick Stein's Mediterranean Escapes
Makes 6 large Calzones

For the Dough:
550g strong white flour, plus more for dusting
3 teaspoons instant dried yeast
2 teaspoons salt
350ml hand-hot water
4 teaspoons olive oil

Sift the flour, yeast and salt into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the water and olive oil and mix together to form a soft dough. Tip out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. Then return to the bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave somewhere warm for about an hour or until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C. Put a rack on the middle shelf and another rack in the top third of the oven. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it briefly once more until smooth. Divide into 6 pieces and keep the spare one covered with clingflim while you shape the first calzone.

For the Filling:
4 rounded tablespoons tomato sauce (I used about a cup of my Tomato Passata and reduced it in a pan until it was thick. You can use your favourite jar of tomato-based pasta sauce or marinara sauce.)
200g fresh mozzarella balls, cut into 1cm dice
100g fresh ricotta, crumbled
100g pesto
70g salami, chopped
70g ham, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper

Mix the tomato sauce and mozzarella together then add the ricotta (so as not to break it up too much) and season with pepper.

To Assemble:
Line two baking trays with baking paper. Roll once piece of dough out into a circle about 23cm in diameter on a lightly floured board. Dollop 3-4 teaspoons of pesto onto one half of the dough. Dollop one sixth of the filling on top of the pesto. Then sprinkle the ham and salami on top. Leave a 2.5cm edge and moisten on half of the edge with a little water, then fold the other side of the dough over the filling so that the edges meet. Press of crimp them together well to make a good seal. Dust the top with a little flour. Repeat to make all 6 calzones.

Place 3 calzones on each baking tray and bake for about 30 minutes or until golden and crisp. Swap the baking trays over half way through the cooking time to ensure even cooking/browning.

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