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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Pizza Pockets

Pizza Pockets
One might think that pizza pockets are just a smaller version of a calzone. Smaller and shaped differently. Oh, and they have sauce on the INSIDE. I've heard tell that real calzones would not be caught dead sporting sauce on the inside. Plus, the only cheese acceptable in a real calzone is ricotta. So actually, pizza pockets and calzones really are two entirely different beasts.

Just like pizza, they make a great family meal because they are versatile (customizable), fairly simple to make (especially if you keep a few balls of pizza dough in the freezer), and let's face it - delicious.

This time around, I used sauce, cheese, and sweet Italian sausage in all of them, but to half, I added some onions, mushrooms, and black garlic that were sauteed in the fat left in the pan from cooking the sausage. So. Ridiculously. Good.

You could really shape these in any way that you like, go in half moons if you like, but if you do, be prepared to suffer the scorn of the connoisseurs who think you're trying to make calzones. I shaped mine the same way that I do my Pretzel Pockets (aka Hot Pocket-style). Due to the folding, the edges wind up being a bit thicker, like soft breadsticks, but as a crust-lover, I like the bonus crust. Everybody seems to.

Pizza Pockets
Your favorite pizza toppings enclosed in pizza dough.
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Pizza Pockets
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15-18 minutes
Keywords: bake bread entree sandwich nut-free soy-free sugar-free

Ingredients (8 pockets)
  • 2 (1 lb.) balls of pizza dough (at a cool room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce + more to serve, if you wish
  • 6-8 ounces shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 1-2 cups filling of your choice (see notes)
to finish
  • olive oil
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Divide each dough ball into 4 equal pieces. Cover dough not being used. One at a time, flatten and roll each ball into a disc that is ~8-inches wide. Run a tablespoon of filling down the center of each piece of dough. Scatter with 1/8th of the Mozzarella, then 1/8th of the filling (2-3 heaping tablespoons per pocket). Fold on side of the dough over to just cover the filling. Wet your finger with a little water and run it along the edge of the dough that has not been folded yet, then fold over the opposite edge. Fold the other two smaller edges over, as well. Pinch all seams together to seal.
making Pizza Pockets
Line up the pockets, seam side down, on your prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all 8 pizza pockets are formed. Brush the tops with a very thin coat of olive oil, then grate some Parmesan cheese over the top. Slide into preheated oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until lightly golden.
making Pizza Pockets
If you like, serve with extra pizza sauce (or Marinara) on the side for dipping.

Choose your favorite pizza toppings as the filling. Be sure to use small or par-cooked veggies and cooked meat. Filling amount will vary depending upon what you're using. The amount I gave is an estimate, but use as much as you like and can fit comfortably in the pocket. (I used sweet Italian sausage in half of mine and sweet Italian sausage with mushrooms, onions, and black garlic in the other half.)

You can use homemade pizza dough or store-bought. If using store-bought, I recommend using the 1-lb. pizza dough balls that you can find in the freezer section. I can also buy 1-lb. pizza dough balls from my local Italian deli. I often buy extra and freeze them. Same goes for sauce; use your favorite homemade or store-bought.
Pizza Pockets