Thursday, September 2, 2010

In The 'Zone

Before end of summer's tomatoes are gone for good, I decided to utilize them in a dish that is one part fresh, one part comfort, and one part fun. For those of you who are not aware, I am altogether charmed by anything that can either be put on a stick or wrapped in a pastry of some sort (as it adds instant whimsy to most anything, making it even more delicious), and these lucky tomatoes were given a taste of the latter. Caprese Calzones, stuffed with ripe tomatoes, fresh ball mozzarella, torn basil, and drizzled simply with olive oil, sea salt, and pepper, were a big hit. Josephine (3) was anointed my sous chef and gladly assembled the little pockets, taking special pride in being trusted to crimp the edges with a fork. The best part about this recipe is the wonderfully versatile calzone dough, which can be filled with any number of imaginable fillings, whether traditional (Italian sausage, tomato sauce, mozzarella) or something completely new (broccoli, cheddar, and potato anyone?), and work great as a pizza dough as well. And because the dough has to be made ahead (to allow time to rise), all you will have to do at dinner time (or any time), is roll out, assemble, and bake.

*more photos at Confections & Confections facebook page

Calzone Dough

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1 packet active dry yeast
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 TBS olive oil

Pour the water into a large mixing bowl, stir in the yeast, and set aside for 5 minutes to dissolve
With a wooden spoon, mix in the wheat flour, cornmeal, and 1 1/2 cups of the all purpose flour, and beat vigorously for about a minute
Cover the bowl and set aside in a warm, draft free spot (so not under an AC vent!) for 10 minutes
Stir in the salt, olive oil, and the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, until you have a soft kneadable dough
Turn the dough onto a floured work space and knead for 8 minutes (another kid friendly job), until you have a soft, smooth, elastic dough (sprinkle with extra flour while kneading if dough seems too sticky)
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat, cover, and let rise one hour until doubled
Roll out and play!

Bake with whatever filling you are using at 450 until golden, about 20-25 minutes (obviously any meats or veggies need to be cooked before going in the oven).

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