Thursday, February 21, 2008

Worth Buying - Or Not?

Calzone is a folded pizza, what could be called an Italian version of a Cornish Pasty and can make a filling meal in its own right. If making enough to feed several (and it always costs less per head the more you feed) it could well fit in to a 50p per head 'challenge'. Fillings can vary, a good guide is anything that would normally top a pizza, even just grated cheese mixed with beaten egg so the final cost depends upon personal choice, but if using foods that some people (but not us) normally throw away (chicken scraps from a carcase etc), then this will help to keep the cost down. The recipe given is cheap enough. Using this as a guide, then do what you will with it. I begin with the recipe for pizza dough which makes plenty, any surplus balls can be frozen after the knock down stage, then left to rise again once thawed. Also the dough could be made in a bread machine, which saves having to knead it by hand.
Pizza dough: makes 4 x 9"(23 cm) pizzas, or 6 calzoni (F)
2 lb (5oog) plain flour
half tsp. salt
1 1/2 oz (15g) dried instant yeast
approx 8 fl.oz (250ml) warm water
pinch sugar
4 tblsp olive oil
Sift the flour and salt together. Stir in the yeast and the sugar. Add 3 tblsp oil and enough water to make a firm dough. Knead well for at least 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Pour a drop or two of oil into the bowl and roll the dough into it to prevent a crust forming (or if making the dough in the machine, put the oil in a clean bowl, and add the dough to that and roll in the same way). Cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise in a warm place for about an hour or until doubled in bulk. Knock it back and knead for a few more minutes by hand (can be formed into balls and frozen at this point), then roll in the remaining oil and leave to rise again for 10 minutes. Divide into four balls, and roll them out thinly to a thickness of 1/4" for pizzas.

Calzone: makes 6
one batch pizza dough (recipe above)
a little juice from a can of chopped tomatoes (from a can)
1 1/2lb (750g) ricotta or home-made curd cheese
12 oz (350g) mozzarella cheese, grated
salt and pepper
4 oz (100g) thin sliced ham, cut into strips
Divide the twice- risen dough into 6 balls and roll each out into a circle as thin as possible. They should each be at least 9" 23cm) in diameter. Place on several oiled baking sheets. Mix the filling ingredients together and share between each calzone, spreading the filling over half the dough, leaving the edge clear. Moisten the edges with water and fold the uncovered half of the dough over to make a half-moon shape, pressing the edges firmly together. They can be twisted or pinched if you wish, as you might when making a pasty.
When all are finished, moisten the top of each calzone with a little of the tomato juice, and bake on a high shelf in a really hot oven 240C, 475F, gas 9 (drop to 220C etc if a fan oven) for about 20 minutes or until the calzone is crisp and brown. Eat hot.