It’s going to happen. It happens when you least expect it. It throws you. It’s disappointing. Whatever form it takes for you, you’re going to eventually make one: The dreaded Accidental Calzone.
It’s sad. It’s infuriating. It’s a raging mess. Accept it with grace.
The Accidental Calzone puts us square in the land of spilt milk. There’s no un-spilling the milk. There’s no saving the pizza. It just sucks, so enjoy it.
Why am I even talking about this failure to launch? Well, last night, I did it again. Over 20 years of pizza making, it seems like I do The Accidental Calzone once every 3 or 4 years. And it almost always happens the same way.
I see it coming. I hope I’m wrong. Then it happens. And it’s almost always a failure in prep.
Last night’s edition of The Accidental Calzone was thanks to frozen dough and hubris. While the dough ball was still in its zippered bag, I *knew* I could accelerate the thawing process by immersing it in warm water.
And I took it too far. The dough was very soft and too extensible. I knew it. Yet I stretched it, put on sauce, cheese, mushrooms, salami and serrano chili slices, and by the time I was done—the pizza was one with the peel.
Fortunately, I didn’t try to launch it. It was clear there was no getting if off the peel and into the oven as a pizza. So I said a little prayer. (Or maybe it was a curse.) I mourned the loss of a pizza. And I folded the dough over on itself—but not before adding some ricotta cheese to fill the now-calzone up a bit.
Of course, when I launched the calzone, it was a mess. Between my lack of calzone skills and the fragile state of the dough, there was soon boiling sauce and scalding cheese all over the oven.
Smoke alarms began going off—smoke alarms I didn’t even know I had. Apparently I have a smoke alarm which, when triggered, yells over and over, “Evacuate the premises!” WHOOP! WHOOP! “Evacuate the premises!” WHOOP! WHOOP! That’s a lot of fun.
We ran around the house, closing interior doors and opening exterior doors and turning on fans. Eventually, the mayhem subsided.
How was the calzone? Besides being ugly, it was…meh. Not great. The accidental calzone always tastes of disappointment. Nor is it ever pretty. In retrospect, I wish I’d taken a photo. It was a glorious mess.
I even woke up thinking about it. Ugly little bastard.
If you haven’t yet made one, don’t be in a rush. In fact, try to keep it out of your mind. As they say in NASCAR, don’t focus on the wall or you get the wall. At the same time, as they say in skiing, keep your knees bent. Be flexible so you can take those bumps.
Things always happen. Learning to roll with the unexpected is all part of the fun.
With good pizza gone wrong, it’s still just pizza. Despite all of pizza’s magic and curative powers, calzone happens. Be ready. Have a shovel handy. Eat like nobody’s watching.
If you haven't yet learned the simplest of steps for making a pizza instead of a calzone, click here to learn more about Free The Pizza (A Simple System For Making Great Pizza Anytime You Want With The Oven You Already Have).
Blaine Parker is the award-winning author of the new, unusual and amusing how-to pizza book, Free The Pizza. Also known as The Pizza Geek and "Hey, Pizza Man!", Blaine is fanatical about the idea that true, professional-quality pizza can be made at home. His home. Your home. Anyone's home. After 20 years of honing his craft and making pizza in standard consumer ovens across the nation, he's sharing what he's learned with home cooks like you. Are you ready to pizza?
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