Fig and Bacon Calzone

Last month, I was treated to a weekday lunch with Mike {see post from March 11, 2014} at Sauce on the Side.  That is where I encountered "Figgy Piggy"; a huge calzone stuffed with two cheeses, figs, bacon, and caramelized onions.  I was tempted to be gluttonous because I wanted to devour the whole 12 plus inch calzone, but I restrained myself {I brought 1/3 of it home which I ate later that evening, hee hee}.  I had the Figgy Piggy one more time since then and the only thing stopping me from making this a weekly ritual is that Sauce on the Side is about 20 miles from my home.

The next best thing to eating the original at Sauce on the Side, is to try to make Figgy Piggy at home.  I was excited to find a calzone recipe in my new favorite book The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  It was very simple to make the base dough {Olive Oil bread} and cook the filler {fig, bacon, onions}.  I made extra filling so I could make fresh calzones during the week.  The Olive Oil dough is much easier to handle than the Challah bread dough.  The dough is pliable and maintained it's shape while rolling it out.  I made my calzone about 6 to 7 inches long, but you can make a super-sized calzone and split it with someone.

I like learning about the history of food, so in doing some research on the web I became informed that the calzone originated in Naples, Italy.  Calzones were sold to working class men because they could hold this half-moon shaped sandwich easily while standing or walking.  The name calzone means "trouser" in Italian, which refers to the baggy pants the worker wore.  In the southern Italian towns calzones were baked in the oven, but in the Northern regions like Puglia, these sandwiches are fried.   

So far I've made three Figgy Piggy's at home.  The only thing I changed on calzone #3 is more stuffing!  The filling recipe below should plumply fill four 6 inch calzone.  Enjoy!  Mangia Bene! 

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Ingredients for Olive Oil Dough

  • 2 3/4 cup of warm water (check for prefered temp on yeast package)
  • 1 tablespoon = 10 grams of Granulated Yeast
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 1/2 cups = 920 grams of all-purpose flour

Directions for Olive Oil Dough

  1. In a large bowl, measure out flour and salt, set aside.
  2. In a large lidded bowl/food container add water, yeast, sugar, and olive oil.  Stir gently if yeast clumps.  Add flour/salt and mix together using a heavy-duty stand mixer with paddle attachment or wooden spoon.  It should only take a minute or so to encorporate.  
  3. Cover, but not seal airtight, and let rest 2 hours at room temperature.  Dough should double in size.  Dough can be used immediately after the initial rise or store in refrigerator up to 12 days.

Ingredients for Fig Bacon Calzone Filling

  • 6 strips of bacon, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup of dried black mission figs, destemmed and quartered
  • 1/2 large white or yellow onion, 1/2 inch dice
  • 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar 
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (I suggest using Amore brand.  It comes in a tub with twist top lid so you can use as little or much as you want.)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil to saute onions
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • mozzarella cheese (*not in original Figgy Piggy, but I like this gooey cheese)
  • ricotta cheese, drained with cheesecloth
  • boursin cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of each: parmesan cheese, dried oregano, and dried basil 
  • 1 egg + 1 teaspoon of water, beaten for egg wash

Directions for Fig & Bacon Calzone

  1. In a medium skillet, cook bacon {make sure you don't over crisp the bacon}, set aside on paper towels to drain grease. 
  2. In a large skillet, over medium heat, add olive oil, onions, and salt.  Saute until slightly brown and tender.  Add balsamic vinegar and figs.   If the pan begins to dry, add a few teaspoons of water.  Reduce heat to low, cover with lid, cook about 5 minutes until figs are soft.
  3. Add bacon to figs and onions and warm through.  Turn off heat, leave covered until ready to stuff calzone.
  4. Preheat oven and pizza stone (medium rack) to 450 degrees F.  Place a small pan for water on the lower rack.
  5. Using pre-prepared olive oil dough, dust hands with flour and pull off a baseball sized piece of dough.  Lightly dust dough with flour and quickly shape into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom, rotating the ball making quarter turns as you go {aka cloaking the dough}.  
  6. Place the ball dough on a lightly floured counter and flatten dough with your hands.  Using a floured rolling pin, make a circle about 6 to 7 inches wide and 1/8 inch thick.  Dough at room temperature should maintain it's shape while rolling it out, but if it is chilled dough allow to rest 5 minutes before rolling.  
  7. Place rolled out dough onto a pizza peel (covered with corn meal or whole wheat flour) or non-rimmed baking pan with parchment paper.
  8. In a small bowl combine 1/8 cup each of the following: mozzarella, ricotta, and boursin cheeses.  Add 1/2 cup of fig & bacon filling.  Mix together.
  9. Cover half of the calzone dough with cheese, fig, bacon mixture leaving 1/4 to 1/2 inch border.  Filling should heap up and you may have to slightly stretch the top of the dough over when covering.
  10. Using a pastry brush, lightly wet dough border with water.  Fold the bare side of the calzone dough over the mixture.  Pinch edges together with fingers or fork.  Cut air vent slits in the top crust.  Brush egg wash over top crust.  Sprinkle parmesan cheese and herbs over the top.  
  11. Slide calzone onto pizza stone.  Add 1 cup of hot water to pan on bottom rack the quickly close oven door.   Bake 17 to 20 minutes until golden brown.  Serve with marinara sauce on the side.