by Sean Peltier, Chef, CMH McBrideI am a huge pizza fan. Huge. It would be safe to say that I eat pizza about twice a week. I always make my own as it is such a great vessel for all the vegetables that grow in my garden. Pizza is comfort food for me that screams summer al fresco dinning.
The winter is a whole different beast and most definitely after a long day of heliskiing in neck-deep powder something that is warm and crispy and easily accompanies a bowl of hot soup is usually what I'm looking for. Not to mention that anything with a lot of carbs and protein will help your aching muscles recover. Sure pizza would be good, but for me the real ticket is the calzone. Or simply a pizza folded over before it's baked.
What I love most about a calzone is that it seems to lend itself to a much larger spectrum of toppings than a pizza. A personal favorite of mine involves Salmon or Ling Cod, some sauteed cabbage, a really great tomato sauce and some crumbled goat cheese. Now if this sounds a little too risque for you and your fellow skiers than stick to what makes you warm and fuzzy inside like pepperoni and mozzarella.
One of the other great advantages of the calzone is that if you make them the night before and keep them in the fridge until you get in from your day of slicing up fresh tracks of champagne powder, they work even better. Letting the dough sit in the fridge overnight makes it a lot crispier when baked.
Here is the bomb proof, fail safe pizza dough recipe. Fill it with what ever makes you smile!
3 cups flour (preferably bread flour, but all purpose works just fine)
1/2 cup water (luke warm or room temperature)
1/2 cup white wine (or if you don't have the wine...ya right...just use 1 cup of water)
7 grams of instant rise yeast (1 packet)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp honey
a pinch of salt
In a bowl combine the flour, yeast, honey, water and wine. Mix all this together until the liquid is absorbed and then add the salt. Add the salt later because if the the salt comes into direct contact with the yeast it can kill it. Then add the extra virgin olive oil. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 8-12 min or until a smooth and elastic dough has been formed. Place the dough in a well oiled bowl and cover with a towel or plastic wrap, set the bowl in a warm place and allow the dough to double in size. This can take anywhere between 1-2 hours depending on the temperature of the room and the temperature of the water that was used. Once the dough has doubled, turn it out onto your counter and divide it into 4 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a round pizza shape.
Now it's time to put in your filling. Make sure that you don't over fill them. Place all the ingredients on top of one another in the center of the dough and then fold the dough over top, pressing down on all the dough to seal in all the goodness. They can be baked now or refrigerated up to 24 hours before baking. Bake at 450 degrees for 15-20 min or until nicely golden. I like to slice mine before they go into the oven so that the steam can escape while baking, I find that the dough doesn't get as soggy that way. Once they come out of your oven all cooked to perfection and such, give them a brushing of olive oil. Give them a few minutes to cool down a little so you don't burn the roof of your mouth.
Serve this with a hot bowl of soup and I promise that you will be making this an apres-ski tradition.