Call them hot pocket sandwiches, pastries, piroshki, or calzones (though calzones are pizzas in a pocket, made with Italian spices and red sauce).   They are very good and easier than you may think.

There are three ways to make hot pocket sandwiches: with pastry dough, with bread dough, or with biscuit dough.  You can use a dough press to quickly form your sandwiches if you are using bread pastry dough.  If you are using biscuit dough, you’ll need to free form your sandwiches; a dough press doesn’t work well.

You can use a mix—a pie crust mix, pizza dough mix, or a biscuit mix— and your pocket sandwiches will be ready for the oven in minutes.  Of course, you can make your dough from scratch but it takes longer.  And bread dough is a little more difficult to work with because of the stretch and springback inherent in most bread doughs.  Pizza dough mixes usually have a dough relaxer so that the dough is softer and easier to work with.  You can buy your own dough relaxer and add it to your bread dough to make pocket sandwiches and pizza crusts.

I’ve seen Debbie, our operations manager and my daughter, make 80 pocket sandwiches in hour.  She’s the queen of pocket sandwiches.  She uses premade fillings, usually ham and cheese, which doesn’t have to be cooked before assembly.   Obviously, she assembles them quickly before placing them on a baking sheet and sticking them in the oven.   We have included her video.

Me, I’m more inclined to make calzones.  The process is the same—I just load mine with sausage, mushrooms, tomato sauce, and mozzarella.

It’s easy to make great pocket sandwiches with pie crust dough. Roll out the dough then use the dough press to cut the circles, fill the pockets, and seal them.  The back of the dough press is the cutter, the press is bowl shaped for easy filling, and the two halves press together to seal.  It just takes a few moments.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

  1. Divide the dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator to keep it cold. Roll the dough out on a floured counter to a thickness of 1/4-inch. Cut the dough into twelve 6-inch rounds. Place a round in the floured dough press. Place three tablespoons of the filling on the round. Brush water along the edges of the round so that it seals better.  Close the dough press firmly to seal the edges of the pastry. Continue with the rest of the rounds and filling.
  2. Place the completed pocket sandwiches on a greased baking sheet. Poke a few holes in the pocket sandwiches with the tines of a fork to vent the pocket sandwiches. Brush with a beaten egg.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes or until they are golden brown.

It’s also easy with pizza dough or bread dough.  Use exactly the same directions as above.  The baking time and temperature will be the same.  In some cases, we have found that sandwiches made with bread dough are a little drier and so we’ve added an extra half-cup of water to our filling.

It’s easy but a little different with a biscuit mix.  Instead of using a dough press, shape the sandwiches with your hands.  Here’s how to do it:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Grease a baking sheet.

  1. Mix the biscuit dough. If you use our just-add-water biscuit mix, that’s simple.
  2. Form the biscuits. Roll the dough to a thickness of 3/8-inch. Use a small bowl to cut circles four inches in diameter.
  3. Fill the biscuit pockets. Spread mustard, mayonnaise or a sandwich spread on half of the circles. Place cheese and meat on the rest of the circles. Brush a little water on the edges of these circles—it helps with sealing.
  4. Complete the pockets. Lay a circle of dough over the top of a circle with meat and cheese. Pinch the edges tightly together to seal the filling in.
  5. Bake the pockets. Place each pocket on the prepared sheet and press the pocket into a flat disc (about 3/4-inch thick) with your hand. (If your pockets are thicker than this, they bake too slowly.) Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until the pockets begin to brown. Remove the pockets from the baking sheet and place them on a wire rack. Serve hot.

Filling Recipes

Ham & Cheese

This is our recipe for ham and cheese pocket sandwiches.  It will make about 12 sandwiches so you may want to cut the recipe in half.  Extras can be frozen.

1 1/2 cups cubed ham, 1 inch pieces
1 1/2 cups cubed cheddar cheese
6 teaspoons mustard

We much prefer using whipped mustard.  Any sandwich spreads are good.

Ground Turkey and Cheese

Again, this makes about 12 sandwiches.

1 lb ground turkey
1/2 cup diced onion
2 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons fresh parsley or 1 tablespoon dried
1 cup grated cheese

  1. Melt butter in skillet. Brown ground turkey in butter, then add diced onion and cook until onion is tender.
  2. Sprinkle on flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  3. Stir in water and parsley, cook for a minute until thickened. Set aside.

Beef and Onion

1 pound ground beef
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup water or broth
3 tablespoons sour cream
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
salt
black pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten, for glazing

  1. Brown the meat in a skillet.  Add the onion and sauté for ten minutes or until the meat and onions are cooked.
  2. Sprinkle flour over the meat mixture and continue cooking for one more minute to gelatinize the flour.  Add the water to create an in-the-pan sauce.
  3. Add the sour cream, stir to blend, and then remove from the heat.  Add the chopped eggs, dill, and salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.

What you’ll need

  • Meats and cheese for the filling.
  • Biscuit mix (if you are not baking from scratch)
  • Pastry knife (if you are baking from scratch)
  • Sandwich spreads.  (Our new whipped mustard spreads are exceptional)

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