Just when you think Italians could not possibly top their most famous export, pizza, enters a magnificent parcel of folded, slow risen dough, filled with oozy ricotta, oven-roasted cherry tomatoes and freshly picked basil leaves, coated with a shiny drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.
As you cut the bronzed crust open, watch the filling slowly and inexorably spill out onto the cutting board, as you salivate yourself into oblivion…
My very personal tip to successfully reproduce this very humble joy of the palate is to use the freshest ingredients, never be tempted to stuff it with low-fat ricotta and allow for the dough to prove slowly, in the fridge for a minimum of 24 hours.
It is the slow rising of the dough that will provide that essential light and crispy crust. Not to mention easy to digest.
Even the fiercest ‘I don’t eat wheat’ person will have to reconsider….
The recipe for the dough is the same as the one I use for Pizza
Ingredients for the dough (makes 2 large calzone of 4 smaller ones)
3 1/2 cups 00 type flour (or plain)
1/2 cup wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon of dry yeast
1-1/4 cup lukewarm water
1/2 teaspoon of sugar
2 teaspoons of slat flakes
Extra-virgin olive oil, to grease the bowl and to drizzle on top.
Dissolve yeast and sugar in water. Stand for 5 minutes or until frothy.
Place flour in a large mixing bowl, add the yeasted water and mix for 1-2 minutes, then tip the dough onto a floured surface, add the salt and knead vigorously for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Shape it into a ball.
As all flours tend to differ slightly, you may have to add a little more water of a little more flour in order to have the perfect dough. You want a soft, pliable dough, but not too sticky.
Rest the dough in an oiled bowl, covered with a tea-towel for 30 minutes, then lift it out, place it back onto a floured surface, stretch it with your hands and fold it into three and then back into a ball. Put the dough back in the bowl to rest for another 30 minutes, then stretch and fold again.
As tedious as this process sounds, this is paramount for obtaining a light, crispy and easy to digest base.
After the second stretch-and-fold, place the dough in a large oiled container fitted with lid (like a Tupperware one). Place in the fridge (with the lid on) and slow-prove for a minimum of 6 hours, up to 36 hours.
When you are ready to make you pizza, take th enough of the fridge and place it in an oiled bowl and cover it with a tea-towel. Rest at room temperature for 30-45 minutes.
Your dough is now ready to be stretched, topped, folded and baked.
For the filling
2 cups of cherry tomatoes, halved
3 tablespoons of extra-virgin oil + some for drizzling
2 tablespoons of white balsamic vinegar (or regular)
1 scant tablespoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt flakes
1 garlic clove, cut into half
a little freshly ground white pepper
1 spring onion, chopped up
1 cups of full cream ricotta
1 cup of bocconcini
freshly picked basil leaves
Place the tomatoes, oil, vinegar, garlic, spring onion, pepper, salt and sugar in an oven tray lined with baking paper. Roast on a medium oven for 45 minutes or until the tomatoes are slightly blistered and juicy.
Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
Increase the oven temperature to high. If baking using a baking stone, put in the oven to heat up now.
Roll the dough to the desired thickness ( I always prefer a thin base, but over to you and your personal taste) and shape into two large (or 4 smaller) disks.
Fill one half of each disk with the roasted cherry tomatoes, 3-4 table spoons of ricotta, a few bocconcini and and basil leaves. Top with the other half of the disk and seal the edges by pinching them with your fingers. Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil, a tablespoon of the cherry tomato juices and a pinch of salt.
Place the calzones on baking paper. Dust the baking stone with corn flour and place the calzones with the baking paper on top of the stone. Bake for 15 minutes, then slide off the paper to allow the base to crisp up.
In not using a baking stone, simply line an oven tray with baking paper, place the calzones on top and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is bronzed and nicely puffed and the bottom is crispy.
Serve hot, with cold beer and a green salad.