New York Times food writer, Melissa Clark's "A Good Appetite" column never lets me down. Last week, she offered several recipes for calzones using Mark Bittman's pizza dough recipe, one of which included this Honey Cannoli Dessert Calzone I made tonight. It's made with fresh ricotta, which Clark demonstrates in a video on the NY Times website. Sound complicated? Not at all! Fresh ricotta can be ready in less than 30 minutes depending on how long it takes the milk to boil. If that sounds like a lot of work, consider (as Clark points out in her video) that fresh ricotta is cheaper than store bought, tastes so much better and is fun to make!
I start by offering the Honey Cannoli Dessert Calzone recipe with photos. Read on for recipes for pizza dough, fresh ricotta and a delightful spinach/red pepper calzone that Robert and I made last night with some of this dough.
HONEY CANNOLI DESSERT CALZONE
Preheat oven to 500 degrees (yes! 500!)
Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly grease
Take 1/4 of Mark Bittman's pizza dough recipe (see below--make the whole recipe, divide into 4ths and use one ball; freeze the rest if you're not making any other dishes) Pull/roll the dough into a 6 to 7 inch circle.
In a bowl, combine:
3/4ths cup fresh ricotta (see below for recipe)
3-4 tablespoons honey (we used summer honey)
1-2 teaspoons grated orange rind
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
Spread the ricotta mixture on one half of the dough. Lightly wet the edge and fold the dough in half, covering the ricotta mixture.
Crimp the edges, sealing well. Brush lightly with olive oil. Bake for about 15 minutes until the calzone is well-browned and puffed. Let cool for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and drizzle with more honey. Split and serve. One calzone generously serves two for dessert.
Mark Bitmann's Pizza Dough Recipe
3 cups all-purpose flour (or bread flour)
1 teaspoon fast-rising yeast (2 teaspoons if you want to speed things up)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
Put the flour, yeast, salt and oil in a food processor and pulse to mix well. With the processor running, slowly add 1 cup of water through the feed tube, and process until the mixture forms a ball, which should be sticky. Using flour or oiled hands, form the dough into a ball and let rest at room temperature 1 to 2 hours (or, do as I did, which was wrap the dough well and refrigerate overnight; return the dough to room temperature before proceeding with recipe). For the honey cannoli recipe, divide the dough into four equal pieces and use one for the honey calzone. (You could wrap and freeze the others for later, or double the recipe if you want more servings.)
2 quarts whole milk (1/2 gallon)
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
In a large pot, stir the milk, cream and salt together and bring to a rolling boil over medium heat, stirring frequently to prevent the milk from scorching. Meanwhile, prepare a sieve or colander by lining it with four layers of cheese cloth, leaving a big overhang. Place the colander over a large pot.
When the milk/cream mixture comes to a rolling boil, stir in the lemon juice, reduce the heat and simmer just until curds start to form. If you want firmer ricotta with big curds, cook for about a minute more. Pour the mixture into the cheese-cloth lined colander and let drain until it's the consistency you like. The longer it drains, the drier the curds will be. That's it! Place the ricotta in a container and refrigerate--it should keep for at least a week. (For a simple and divine dessert, try this drizzled with some honey and cinnamon.)
BONUS RECIPE! SPINACH, RED PEPPER CALZONE
Preheat oven to 500 degrees (yes! 500!) Line a cookie sheet with foil and lightly grease.
1-2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing calzone
3 or 4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 sweet red pepper, diced in 1/4 inch dice
1/2 pound fresh spinach, cleaned well
1/2 of Bittman's pizza dough recipe (see above)
1 cup fresh ricotta
3 ounces mozzarella, sliced in 1/4 inch slices
tomato or pizza sauce for serving on the side
Heat oil in a skillet add garlic, sprinkle with a little salt and lightly saute, being careful not to burn. Add diced red pepper and saute for a few minutes. Add spinach and cook until it's wilted.
Pull and roll the pizza dough until it is about 12 inches in diameter. Spread one half of the dough with ricotta, leaving about 1/2 inch margin to seal the dough. Top with the spinach/pepper mixture (draining if it's very watery) and then with the mozzarella slices. Fold the dough over, wet the edges and crimp and seal well. Transfer the calzone to the prepared cookie sheet and place in preheated oven for 20-30 minutes. The calzone should be very brown--even a little darker on top. Remove from oven and cool for about 5 or 10 minutes before slicing into it. Makes two very generous servings for a main course.