Homemade Make-Ahead Hot Pastry Pockets
Now that I’m working and living on my own, I have a new appreciation for my mom’s ability to put together amazing meals for us every night when I was a kid. Despite juggling grad school, lab, and later, a full-time job and my extracurricular activities, she always managed to throw together the most delicious, multidish meals for us to feast on every night. Considering all I have the energy to do when I get home from work is sit on the couch and drink wine, that boggles my mind.
Looking back, I realize that my mom actually did most of her cooking on the weekends. We always had huge, lavish lunches on Saturday, and then ate the leftovers for lunch and/or dinner the rest of the week. So when everyone got home from work or school, all my mom had to do was pull stuff out of the fridge and reheat. No fuss, no excess energy expended, delicious meal in minutes. Genius.
I am a huge fan of make-ahead meals and leftovers, but I’ve been pretty bad about doing them so far. They require a level of foresight and planning that I’m not usually prepared for on the weekends. But, I’ve been meaning to give it a try, so when BlogHer approached me about doing an editorial post for their series about make-ahead meals, I jumped at the chance. The first idea that came to mind? Hot pastry pockets.
I love Hot Pockets. In high school, I ate one for lunch every day. I would toss a frozen pocket in the microwave before heading to school every morning, shove the hot treat into my backpack, and then eat it cold around noon. So fast, so tasty, so portable ... it was the perfect meal for an on-the-go student. And now, a homemade version of the treat is the perfect make-ahead dinner for a busy, working couple.
I made a big batch of pastry pockets in flavors (pepperoni pizza and broccoli & cheddar) last weekend, and we’ve been eating them for dinner every day since. They’re ready with minimal effort, store well, reheat beautifully, and are amazingly delicious. And, so versatile –- you can use whatever filling you want! With the bit of puff pastry dough I had leftover, I made a couple breakfast pastry pockets (sausage + egg + peppers + cheese), as well as a few dessert pockets (Nutella + marshmallow fluff + crunchy toffee bits). Yeah. I’ve gone a little pocket crazy. And you will too –- just try it!
Pepperoni Hot Pastry Pockets
- 1 sheet puff pastry dough, thawed
- ½ cup pepperoni, cut into small pieces
- ½ cup fresh mozzarella cheese, grated or diced
- ¼ cup pizza sauce
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Use a rolling pin, roll dough out on a floured surface until seams are smoothed out and dough is about 1/8 inch thick.
Slice dough into three pieces lengthwise using a butter knife, along the two seams. Then, slice the three pieces in half horizontally so that you have 6 equal-sized pieces of dough. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine cheese, pepperoni, and pizza sauce. Stir until everything is incorporated.
** If you want your hot pockets to be a little saucier, feel free to use more pizza sauce. But, be careful not to use too much. If your filling is too liquid, not only will your dough get soggy, but it’ll be harder to seal your pockets because the liquid will overflow.
Spoon filling generously into the middle of 3 of the 6 pieces of dough. Leave about ½ an inch of dough filling-free around the edges of each piece, but mound your filling generously.
Take your 3 remaining pieces and stretch them gently with your hands so that they are slightly wider than the pieces with the filling on them. Lay each piece on top of the pieces with the filling, and carefully pinch the edges shut. Then, press down on the edges with a fork to make sure your pockets are fully sealed.
Move filled/sealed pockets onto your baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until dough is puffy and golden. Enjoy hot or cold.
** To store, I would recommend allowing your pockets to cool completely before wrapping them or putting them in plastic containers. Otherwise, condensation will form and your pockets will be soggy. Alternatively, you can skip the baking step and freeze them uncooked. Wrap them individually with plastic wrap before freezing
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