Spinach-Ricotta Calzones

Tarts

Why This Recipe Works: What’s not to love about calzones, with their cheesy filling encased in a crisp and chewy crust? Nothing, if this is always the reality. Unfortunately, bad calzones, with wet fillings and bready crusts, are found at most pizzerias. In our experience, the only calzone worth eating is one made at home. To develop our version, we started with the dough. Pizzerias use their pizza dough for the crust, but when we tried using the dough for our Thin-Crust Pizza, we got bloated, misshapen calzones with unacceptable air bubbles. Our Skillet Pizza dough is less hydrated and was a much better choice; it was easy to shape around the filling, and it baked up chewy and crisp. For the flavorful filling, we used a base of spinach and creamy ricotta to which we added an egg yolk to thicken the mixture, a bit of oil for richness, and two more cheeses, easy-melting mozzarella and nutty-tasting Parmesan. We spread the filling onto the bottom halves of two rolled-out pizza dough rounds and then brushed egg wash over the edges before folding the top halves over and sealing the dough so they’d stay closed as they baked. Cutting vents in the tops allowed excess moisture in the filling to escape during baking so the crust didn’t become soggy. After the calzones baked for just 15 minutes, we let them cool briefly on a wire rack to keep the bottoms crisp.

Serves: 4
Resting time: 2 minutes
Rising time: 1½ to 2 hours
Baking time: 15 minutes
Total time: 2¾ to 4¼ hours, plus 10 minutes cooling time
Key equipment: rolling pin, pastry brush, rimmed baking sheet

Serve the calzones with your favorite marinara sauce.

DOUGH
2 cups (11 ounces) plus 2 tablespoons bread flour
1⅛ teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
¾ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
¾ cup (6 ounces) ice water

FILLING
10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
8 ounces (1 cup) whole-milk ricotta cheese
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (1 cup)
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (½ cup)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large egg yolk
2 garlic cloves, minced
1½ teaspoons minced fresh oregano
¼ teaspoon salt
teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water and pinch salt


The Perfect Crust
1. For the dough:
Pulse flour, yeast, and salt in food processor until combined, about 5 pulses. With processor running, add oil, then ice water, and process until rough ball forms, 30 to 40 seconds. Let dough rest for 2 minutes, then process for 30 seconds longer.

The Perfect Crust
2.
Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and knead by hand to form smooth, round ball, about 30 seconds. Place dough seam side down in lightly greased large bowl or container, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in size, 1½ to 2 hours. (Unrisen dough can be refrigerated for at least 8 hours or up to 16 hours; let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before shaping in step 4.)

The Perfect Crust
3. For the filling:
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 500 degrees. Cut two 9-inch square pieces of parchment paper. Combine spinach, ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, oil, egg yolk, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper flakes in bowl.

The Perfect Crust
4.
Press down on dough to deflate. Transfer dough to lightly floured counter, divide in half, and cover loosely with greased plastic. Press and roll 1 piece of dough (keep remaining piece covered) into 9-inch round of even thickness. Transfer to parchment square and reshape as needed. Repeat with remaining piece of dough.

The Perfect Crust
5.
Spread half of spinach filling evenly over half of each dough round, leaving 1-inch border at edge.

The Perfect Crust
6.
Brush edges with egg mixture. Fold other half of dough over filling, leaving ½-inch border of bottom half uncovered.

The Perfect Crust
7.
Press edges of dough together, pressing out any air pockets in calzones. Starting at 1 end of calzone, place your index finger diagonally across edge and pull bottom layer of dough over tip of your finger and press to seal.

The Perfect Crust
8.
Using sharp knife or single-edge razor blade, cut 5 steam vents, about 1½ inches long, in top of calzones. Brush tops with remaining egg mixture. Transfer calzones (still on parchment) to rimmed baking sheet, trimming parchment as needed to fit. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking. Transfer calzones to wire rack and discard parchment. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.


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