The Perfect Make-Ahead Freezer Meal
Calzones are closely related to pizzas, sort of a folded over pizza. Somehow though, cutting into the crisp, golden crust of a calzone to reveal a luscious filling is a different experience than eating a pizza. They’re the perfect make-ahead freezer meal for your whole family to love.
Easy Calzone Methods and Recipes
There are two steps in making a calzone that people pause over: Making the crust and making and sealing the calzone. We’ll give you easy solutions to both problems.
Making the Calzone Crust
Use a mix or a premade crust. I don’t get very excited about a premade crust; one that you make yourself is much better. But do whatever you are comfortable with.
Using a mix to make the calzone dough will make preparing these easy make ahead freezer meals go by in a breeze, but making your dough from scratch always gives the calzone a little something special too.
You can make your crust from scratch. If you do, use a dough relaxer. As you mix your dough, you develop the gluten. Your dough will have spring-back which makes it hard to form, fold, and seal. A dough relaxer will eliminate spring-back so that you can make a perfect calzone. A good dough relaxer is amazing. Use it.
Either of these products will solve your crust problems and make your calzones easy to form.
Making the Calzone—Use a Dough Press
The easiest way to make a calzone—by far—is with a dough press. With a dough press, we were able to make three dozen calzones ready for the freezer in under an hour. The dough press does three things for you:
- The press cuts the dough into nice round circles. The back of the press is a cutter. (If you don’t have a relaxer in your dough, your circle will shrink when you cut it.)
- The press forms a bowl, a cup to cradle the filling. Place a dough circle in the press and place the filling in the bowl.
- The press folds, crimps, and seals the calzone.
- The back of the press is a cutter. (If you don’t have a relaxer in your dough, your circle will shrink when you cut it.)
How to Make a Calzone
- Roll the dough to a thickness of 1/4-inch. Use the dough press to cut circles. Place a circle in the dough press.
- Place several tablespoons of mozzarella on the lower half of the circle. On top of the cheese, place your filling materials. On top of the filling, add a little ricotta. Thick, creamy ricotta—not low-fat—works best. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with parmesan. (Of course, you can vary the filling ingredients greatly. Often an egg is mixed with the ricotta to make the filling less runny.)
- Brush water on the edges of the pastry. The water will help seal the dough seam.
- Use the dough press to fold the top of the calzone crust over the bottom and seal the edges. Be sure to press firmly enough to seal the edges. Note: If you are making these ahead as freezer meals, you can put them into a freezer-safe bag after this step.
- Just before baking, brush the crust with an egg white wash or olive oil. An egg white wash will give the calzones a satiny finish. Olive oil will make the crust browner and crisper.
- Bake the calzones on a dark pan on the lowest shelf of the oven to provide enough bottom heat to bake the bottom crust. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, until the crust is browned.
Extra Tips for Making the Perfect Calzone
For the filling, simple combinations really do work best.
Don’t overfill your calzone, less is truly better. Too full and it’s likely to leak.
Calzones take longer to cook than pizza and require a lower temperature in order to crisp the crust and to penetrate the filling. They generally take 15 to 20 minutes to bake at 400 degrees.
Calzones make perfect make-ahead freezer meals. Use a dough press to make the process faster, make a dozen at a time or more, throw them in the freezer, and you have a ready to go meal after just fifteen minutes of baking in the oven the next time you’re running short on time.
Our Favorite Calzone Recipes