You’re becoming a pro with dough and are regularly firing up your pizza oven to impress your friends with your epic pizzas but suddenly someone asks if you can make them a calzone - but what is a calzone pizza?! If you’ve never attempted a calzone recipe before this might seem incredibly difficult! But it’s deceptively simple (and delicious!) as Gozney In-House Chef Joe Boiling explains.
In the USA and lately elsewhere in the world, the pizza slice is king. Large whole pizzas are fired through the pizza oven before being cut and sold by the slice. Slice shops are everywhere you look in New York and are popping up across the UK pretty regularly too. In Naples, you buy a whole pizza and it’s often served with a knife and fork. And (New Yorkers this will blow your mind…) they sit down to eat it!
This isn’t always true. Pizza Portafoglio (or pizza wallet) is a whole Neapolitan pizza, hot out of the pizza oven, folded in half, and then in half again so your whole round pizza becomes a triangle slice shape and you devour it wherever your carb craving heart desires. And if the genius culinary Italian minds had already got pizza portafoglio, why the Calzone?
Well a Calzone is a very different beast altogether…
It's easy to think the calzone must have originated in the US - something about stuffing pizza dough with almost anything you want feels quite akin to American appetites, but it’s actually a bona fide Italian creation.
The word Calzone derives from the Italian for ‘trouser legs’, or ‘stocking’. Depending on who you speak to, some believe this is because they are filled, like a stocking at Christmas, and others that it’s because you would eat it on the move or stood up. Much like the beloved NY slice!
And that’s the kicker. The slice is great - God like even! - but a Calzone is a WHOLE pizza! I’m not just eating a slice of wonderfully fermented lovingly prepared dough, I’m eating the whole dough ball of awesomeness. Only in a different form! Really, I don’t think there’s much to dislike about the Calzone.
And you can fill them with almost anything (including leftover festive chocolate in this Christmas calzone!). Early incarnations of the Calzone were filled with similar toppings to the pizzas but before long there were examples of dough being filled with chopped chicory hearts, anchovies, currants, and an egg (which is incredible. Try it someday).
For a pizza style that is so heavily governed by strict rules (you can read more about that here] the gloves are well and truly off where the calzone is concerned!
BUT HOW DO I MAKE A CALZONE?!
Happily the answer is ‘quite easily!’ The Calzone isn’t an intimidating thing to make at all and if you’re confident making a pizza dough recipe then you’re already making a calzone dough recipe - they’re exactly the same thing. Any dough can be used to make a calzone from 24 hour Neapolitan dough, a New York Style dough or even our super easy simple dough all be used to create a truly epic calzone.
But since it’s an Italian invention, I like to use Neapolitan dough. The technique to opening a calzone starts off in a similar manner to making a regular pizza; you’re going to want to toss the dough ball in flour and get it on a clean work surface in front of you. But from there the technique changes a little.
With most pizzas you’re looking to form a crust or cornicione around the edge but you don’t need a crust for a calzone so you can open it a bit more like a thin crust pizza; by this, I mean don’t be afraid to knock the air out and you can definitely use a rolling pin if preferred!
Once you’ve created a flat, round disc of dough you’re ready to make your first Calzone. You can fill them with anything you want (this [mushroom, ricotta & garlic butter calzone] is super popular at Gozney HQ) but be sure you can still fold the dough over the fillings completely.
When folding the dough over the fillings, be careful not to trap any air inside and use the butt of a pizza wheel to tap down the sealed edge to make sure it’s completely sealed together before using the pizza wheel (the sharp end this time!) to slice off any excess dough.
BAKING THE CALZONE
Now your toppings have become fillings, your dough is folded and sealed you’re almost ready to bake, but it’s important to pierce the top of the calzone a couple of times to create steam holes to allow excess steam to escape when baking and to keep your calzone in the lovely shape you've constructed.
Roccbox, Dome or any Gozney pizza oven will make an awesome calzone but be sure to bake at a slightly lower temperature than a Neapolitan pizza - you’ll need to bake the calzone for around 3 minutes and the dough will burn at those high temperatures - I aim to run my pizza oven slightly cooler and bake a Calzone around 660f/350c.
The hot floor and fierce heat coming from the top of the oven will ensure there’s no need to flip your calzone but as with pizzas, you'll want to rotate and check the base regularly throughout the bake. Try not to keep the calzone too close to the flame - either in the front third of Roccbox, and on the opposite side to the fire in larger Gozney ovens.
You can check out our video recipe guide for this ragu calzone - not only will it give you a step by step guide to opening and building your first calzone, but you’ll also learn to make the best ragu in the world!