Pepperoni Pizza Puffs

Pizza seems like a great party food, but it can be a little messy and also gets cold fast. One year, for a birthday party for one of the cousins, my brother-in-law Joey, who's always been a creative problem solver, had the idea to make pizza puffs, putting the filling inside the dough, in a sort of mini-calzone. As with pizza, you can change the filling, replacing the pepperoni with sausage or vegetables, such as sauteed mushrooms.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 40 min
  • Active: 20 min
  • Yield: 8 servings
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Ingredients

One 16-ounce ball frozen pizza dough (see Chef's Note), thawed in the refrigerator for 6 hours, then left out to rise in oiled bowl, covered with plastic wrap, at room temperature for 2 hours

All-purpose flour, for dusting 

1/2 cup shredded or fresh sliced mozzarella 

24 thin slices pepperoni 

1 jarred red pepper, drained and cut into 1 1/2-inch strips 

About 2 tablespoons olive oil 

Directions

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces. Using floured hands if needed, carefully stretch each piece into a thin disk (the shape doesn't have to be perfect) about 5 inches in diameter. 
  3. Transfer the dough balls to the prepared baking sheet and fill each with 1/2 tablespoon mozzarella on one half, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge. Line the cheese with 3 slices pepperoni, and a strip of red pepper. Starting from the smaller border, stretch the dough over the filling, then continue rolling the dough (like you would roll a carpet) to wrap the filling twice. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet, seam-side down. Pinch any holes with your fingers to patch. 
  4. Brush the dough with a very light coating of olive oil. Bake until golden-brown, 15 to 17 minutes, then remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving. 

Cook’s Note

Dough the Right Thing: Many supermarkets sell pizza dough these days, but there's nothing like the real thing, freshly made by a pizzaiola (pizza maker). Most pizza shops will be happy to sell you some of their dough and I suggest that you get it from them when you want to make a pizza.

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