Vegetarian options are pretty limited in most of the Italian restaurants in Mombasa. Most of us prefer to order our regular popular dishes like pizza, lasagne, ravioli etc but once in a while would prefer to try out something different. So one day I thought I would try out a calzone. Much to my dismay there was no vegetarian calzone. Ordered a pizza and made up my mind that I would make my own at home. It is surprising how easy it is to make calzone and why the restaurant couldn’t comply with my request, especially when no special ingredients are required to make it. You simply need pizza dough and fillings that are used to top a pizza. Calzone is basically a closed type of pizza. A few days ago made some at home and enjoyed it with a salad. The fillings used for calzone are endless. Also use the cheese of your choice.
For the pizza dough :
3 cups plain flour
1 cup lukewarm water
2 tsps active instant dry yeast
1 tsp salt
½ tsp sugar
1 tsp dry mixed herbs
4 tbsps olive oil
For the filling :
3 cups of mixed chopped vegetables
1 cup cubed or crumbled cheese
½ to 1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper powder
½ to 1 tsp chilli flakes
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tsp of any dried herb or ½ cup fresh herb
extra flour for dusting and rolling
extra oil for greasing the bowl and baking tray
- Sieve the flour with salt and sugar.Add the herbs and mix well.
- Add the instant yeast. Mix. Using the lukewarm water make a dough.
- Use the measured oil to grease your hands if the dough is sticky.
- Turn out the dough onto a floured board or surface and knead the dough for nearly 10 minutes till it is soft,smooth and silky. Or use a dough hook and knead it in a food processor.
- As you knead the dough keep adding the measured oil.
- Grease a big bowl with oil. Form the dough into a ball. Place it in the bowl. Oil the dough. Cover and keep in a warm place for 2 hours or till it becomes double the size.
- Knock down the dough gently with your knuckles. Gather up the dough and divide it into 4 equal parts.
- Oil the dough pieces again and let it rest in the bowl or a tray for 30 minutes.
- While the dough is resting, prepare the filling. I used chopped onions, sliced mushrooms, halved cherry tomatoes, sweet corn and fresh basil. My choice of cheese was cheddar.
- Mix in the chopped garlic, salt, pepper and chilli flakes.
- Preheat the oven at 180°C.
- Take one part of the dough, roll it again into a ball and roll it out using flour. The circle was rolled out into a 6 to 8 inch diameter and half an inch thickness chappati.
- Place the filling on one half of the circle. Cover it with the other half. Press down the seam and make a crinkle pattern or press it down gently with a fork.
- Pierce the top with a fork in a few places to let the steam escape while cooking.
- Place on a greased tray.
- Repeat the procedure from step 11 with the remaining dough.
- Brush the tops with milk or egg wash.
- Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes until the top is golden brown.
- Serve with some salad.
- Egg wash is 2 tbsps of water added to an egg. This can also be used to seal the calzone.
- Some filling suggestions are normal tomatoes, spinach, peppers, zucchini, broccoli, olives, pineapple, rucola.
- Some cheese suggestions are cheddar, ricotta, mozzarella, feta cheese etc.
- The amount of salt used in the filling will depend on the cheese you use.
- Use half plain flour and half wheat flour for the dough.