O Allah I seek Your forgiveness for every sin that kills the heart, and incites anxiety, and preoccupies the mind, and pleases Satan, and angers the All-Merciful------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I truly believe that the grocery stores here in Pasadena are conspiring against me. I have been looking high and low for freshly mixed bakery pizza dough since we followed R's work assignment from TO to Fairfax to LA and to date I HAVEN'T found any!!! It is in my humble opinion that when the grocery store clerks see me coming, they run quickly to the bakery section and remove the bagged pizza dough...lol. I've searched Ralph's, Fresh and Easy, and Target, but I have always come back empty handed.
Why don't you just make your own you ask? Well, there are a few things that intimidate me and working with yeast is one of them. I've heard, or rather read, horror stories that involve yeast and I'm not sure if I want to have one of my own. Isn't yeast temperamental? It can't be old, has to be mixed with water at the correct temperature etc. That's why I like using the freshly mixed pizza dough that's available at home in Toronto at Loblaws or Supercentre. The bakers mix it fresh in-house every few days and it isn't chock full of preservatives. They also have the option of white or whole wheat dough which is nice.
This Ramadan, I wanted to stay away from the samosas and make something different for iftar (the small snack(s) that is eaten to break the fast). I was thinking of small pizza pockets, but BECAUSE I couldn't find the dough anywhere, I opted for puff pastry. Pizza is a great meal and has the potential of being healthy if you select good ingredients. You can cover most, if not all of the food groups based on what you choose. For me, I love having lean ground beef, tomatoes, onions, olives, jalapeno peppers, green peppers, and mushrooms on my pizza. I do like to add pineapple, but because most of my family don't like having the sweet and savory flavour, it's usually omitted from the pizza.
Since I wanted to make individual portions, I used pre-cut, 5"x5" puff pastry squares for the crust. For the filling I used dum keema (steamed ground beef-I'll post this recipe later), hot salsa, sliced tomatoes, low-fat shredded cheese, olives and onions. I also made a vegetarian pizza pocket, using methi palak (cooked spinach with fenugreek).
People say that when you're making crepes, the first one is always bad, well I had a similar experience while trying to fold over my first pizza pocket. I didn't know how to fold it and keep the filing inside, so I ended up having a really bad looking pocket with pieces of filling stuck to the edges. After thinking about it for a few seconds, I had a Martha Stewart moment and tried using the tines of a fork. Success! I now had a completely sealed pocket that looked pretty.
Puff Pastry Pizza Pocket
(try saying that 5 times in a row!)
1 cup cooked dum keema (ground beef) or any cooked ground beef/chicken/turkey or 1 cup of cooked spinach if you want to make vegetarian pizza pockets
1 cup shredded, low fat cheddar cheese
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 jar of hot salsa
a handful of sliced olives, drained
a handful of sliced yellow grape tomatoes, washed and dried
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp cold water
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.**
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Place a sheet of parchment paper on your counter. This will be your work surface. Lay one puff pastry square on the parchment. Place 1 tsp of salsa on the pastry and spread it out. Lay on 1 tablespoon of keema in the centre of your puff pastry square. Layer some cheese, a few slices of onion, olives and tomato slices on top of the keema. Sprinkle the filling with cheese. Bring one corner of the puff pastry square and match it up with the corner diagonally across from it so that the square becomes a triangle. Using the tines of a fork, press down gently to seal the puff pastry. Using a spatula, carefully lift the pizza pocket and place it onto the parchment-lined cookie sheet. Continue the same process until you have made all of your pizza pockets.
In a small bowl, beat 1 egg and 1 tsp of water together. Using a pastry brush, brush the top and sides of the pizza pockets with the egg wash. This will create a nice golden colour on your pizza pockets.
Put the cookie sheet into the 350 degree oven until the pastry is puffed up and golden brown. Serve with ketchup or green chutney.
** If you don't want to make the pizza pockets right away, you can freeze them in a freezer bag layered between wax paper. Skip the egg wash until you are ready to bake them.