26 August 2016

PIZZA POCKETS

Pizza pastry is always a hit, whether it is served at a party, as a snack, or even dinner. These pastries are so soft and delicately crispy, and the filling is full of cheese, tomato sauce and smoked ham. They are quite large, so each one makes a generous serving, and this recipe can easily feed a crowd. You can serve them hot or cold, as you would serve regular pizza.

Giant pizza pockets recipe tinascookings.blogspot.com

Ingredients
For the starter
120 ml lukewarm water
30 grams fresh yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons plain flour
For the dough
900 grams plain flour
240 ml lukewarm water
250 grams plain yogurt
100 ml extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
For the filling
200 grams smoked ham, diced
300 grams Edam cheese, shredded
300 grams tomato sauce
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
¼ teaspoon garlic powder

Preparation
To make the starter, crumble the fresh yeast in a medium bowl, sprinkle in the sugar and flour, then gently pour over the lukewarm water. Mix it, and let it sit for about 30 minutes in a warm spot, so the yeast can activate. Once the mixture is bubbling, proceed with the dough. Pour the starter in a large bowl, add the lukewarm water, yogurt, oil, and salt, then start sifting in the flour while you mix with a wooden spoon.
Keep sifting in the flour and mixing until you use up all of the flour and the dough starts pulling away from the sides of the bowl. Sprinkle the work surface with flour, turn the dough out and knead it for at least 5 minutes, or until it becomes smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a large, clean bowl, cover the top with plastic wrap, and let it sit until doubled in size, about an hour to an hour and a half. When the dough has risen, take it out of the bowl, and knead it well or a floured work surface. Return it to the bowl, and let it rise again. It should take less than an hour, because the dough always rises more quickly the second time.
While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. Dice the ham (small dice works best), shred the cheese, and mix them in a large bowl. Add the seasoning and mix well. Add the tomato sauce, and mix thoroughly, so that it is distributed as evenly as possible.
Take the risen dough out of the bowl onto a well-floured surface, gently knead it, then roll it up to about 5mm (¼-inch) thickness. Using a large biscuit cutter, cut out 15 cm (6-inch) circles of dough. Place a part of the filling in the centre of each circle, fold the dough over itself, and tightly press the ends with a tines of the fork, so the filling doesn’t leak out while baking.
Gather all the dough scraps, knead and roll them again, then proceed to cut out circles and fill them until you use up all of the ingredients. Place the pizza pockets or three large baking sheets, and let them rise for about 30 minutes, while the oven is preheating. Brush them with some more extra virgin olive oil just before baking, and bake them in a preheated oven, at 200°C (400°F), for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve them with some additional pizza sauce, if desired. Yields 18 large pizza pastries.

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