Alligator Pie

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These are the eggs…and this is…the mama! Alligator disguised as a spinach, caramelized onion and goat cheese calzone!

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A few years ago I started a new holiday tradition that, to the great sadness of my brother, Theo, only went into practice once. That tradition was making alligator pie for Christmas dinner. I remember my original alligator turned out a bit more detailed and not quite as puffy. I guess I am out of practice.

Today’s alligator crust was inspired by Cafe Amy’s Calzone dough. I used this recipe as the backbone, tripled it, added whole wheat flour and opted for honey instead of cane sugar. Here’s how my recipe ended up:

Alligator Pie Dough

  • 3 cups warm water
  • 2 Tbs. active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbs. salt
  • 3 Tbs. honey
  • 6 cups white flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:

Dissolve the yeast in the water then add salt, honey and oil. Mix the liquid so all solids are dissolved. Begin to add the flour one cup at a time and mix until you have included all nine cups. Turn the dough out onto the counter and knead for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. In a lightly oiled bowl, let the dough rise covered for at least an hour.

Alligator Fillings:

  • 1 Vidalia onion sliced into rings
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 handful fresh basil, chopped
  • Mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup hard goat milk cheese, grated
  • Fresh spinach
  • Red pepper, diced

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Caramelize the onions in the oil on low heat for 15 to 20 minutes. The garlic can be added the last five minutes of the process to mellow the flavor.

Prepare all the fillings and organize an assembly station area.

Once the dough has risen, punch it down and knead it briefly into another ball or log. Cut it into 24 chunks for individual Calzones. Let the dough sit for another few minutes to soften and rise a bit.

To make the Calzones, roll the dough out on an unfloured surface. You want the dough to stick to the counter so that it is easy to fill. I use a rolling-pin, but also help the dough along by stretching it and sticking it to the counter.

Once the circle is about seven or eight inches across, fill it with the toppings. Keep the toppings in the middle so you can fold the Calzone in half. Press the two sides together so the dough will stick. Once it is pressed together you can crimp it, pleat it or press it with a fork.

Place the Calzones on a lightly oiled cookie sheet and brush the tops with olive oil. Bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until browned on the top. Remove from oven and brush again with olive oil.

Note: This photo was sent in a few days after I posted the Alligator Pie recipe by Karen Heimdahl. She tried the recipe, added pepperoni for her husband, and a few spicy peppers gave it a little kick. It looks great!

SpinachCalzone

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5 thoughts on “Alligator Pie

  1. Pingback: November 9 Recipe Roundup « The Heavy Table

  2. I’m trying this one tonight! So you add the spinach fresh, not cooked? My stomach is growling…. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

  3. Karen later sent this message:

    I just made the calzones from the recipe you posted (I added pepperoni to Andy’s) and we’re enjoying them as I type. Delicious and quite appealing to the eye. Attached is a picture (sorry, it’s not great)… I didn’t venture into the creative world of forming alligators but they’re tasty, nonetheless!

    By the way, I did sauté (cook? not sure of the appropriate cooking term for this) the spinach before putting the calzones together and baking. I also added a few diced hot peppers, which really gave it a nice little kick.

    I was so excited to see that somebody tried a recipe and sent a beautiful photo of the dish. I added the photo to the main page. Great work, Karen!

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