Once a month, when possible, some of my friends and I get together to expand our culinary skills. During these cooking challenges, we'd pick a theme and everybody would be required to cook up one dish that somehow relates to the theme. Think of these challenges as a cross between the Iron Chef format and Masterchef. Previous themes have included Spanish (where I made razor clams and chorizo stew) and mangoes (where I made mango and white chocolate cigars).
The latest challenge was last night and our theme was "comebacks" - the return of something that used to be popular. It has to be edible of course.
The results were scrumptious!
Peking duck pancake wraps (the store-bought variety - sometimes you can't beat a good old roast duck from the local Asian BBQ house)
Homemade pop-tarts, filled with decadent strawberry jam
Mexican shaker fries a la Maccas complete with individual sachets of spicy salt mix
Chicken & corn rolls (I'm feeling very proud of Zen; this was the first time he's ever cooked anything by himself!)
My contribution were these homemade Pizza Pockets.
Growing up in the 90's, I have really fond memories of these either from the school canteen or stocked in our freezer at home as an emergency after school snack. They could be baked from its frozen state but I just remember giving them a quick zap in the microwave and then breaking apart the bread to watch the filling and hot stringy cheese ooze everywhere.
This recipe is surprisingly easy, even if you're like me and have never used yeast before!
Feel free to make your own variations. I made a Hawaiian version (ham and pineapple) because it used to be my favourite Pizza Pocket flavour. I also added a gourmet touch with fresh basil. But really, the options are endless!
Once baked, they can be wrapped in foil and packaged tightly for the freezer. It should keep for a few months. If you intend on storing some, I'd recommend doubling the quantities because these smell and taste so incredible, all of mine disappeared instantly.
Homemade Pizza Pockets
Adapted from The Gourmet Mama
1¼ cup warm water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup oil
3 - 4 cups plain flour (start with 3, add more if dough is too sticky)
2 tablespoons yeast
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
½ cup chopped double smoked ham
½ cup pineapple pieces
1 cup grated cheese
½ cup pasta sauce of your choice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
Mix the yeast, sugar and warm water in a bowl. Let sit for five minutes.
In a larger bowl, mix the remaining bread ingredients. Add the yeast mixture and mix until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Flour a board and knead the bread on it, adding more flour if necessary to get the right consistency.
Set aside, covered with a tea towel to rise, 10 minutes.
Pre-heat oven to 180°C.
Meanwhile, mix the filling ingredients together. Everything should be just coated with the sauce, not dripping.
Divide the bread into four sections and roll one out as thin as possible. Cut into 3 inch circles (I used a bowl to cut mine out).
In the middle, place a spoonful of the filling, moisten the edges of the dough with water and fold over. Use a fork to crimp the edges.
Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
Place on a baking sheet and bake for 12 - 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool and enjoy or freeze and reheat in the microwave as needed.