Saturday, September 22, 2012

Grilled Pizza Puffs Experiment

When's the last time you went roller-skating?

You remember those skating rinks, right?  
  • Dark lighting, loud music, and tan rental skates with orange wheels.    
  • Speed races, Red Light/Green Light, and of course, "couples skate only".
  • Snack bars serving cheap, fast food, fountain drinks, and slushies.  Normally they smell of nachos and reheated frozen pizzas.  

Last night one of Alexis' co-workers came over for dinner and afterward on a whim, we all ended up driving 15 miles to the nearest skating rink.  We skated like dorks, laughed at ourselves, and had a hilarious time.

The concrete block really helps soften the blow of crashes.

So last night, as I was going to sleep and feeling my back & hips tighten up (wait, I don't remember THAT when skating back in 1980), I recalled the smell of the snack bar.  Then I started thinking of ways to make a pizza appetizer on the grill.   I thought of doing some kind of a pizza puff......

But wasn't sure if I wanted to use pizza dough, crescent roll dough, or puff pastry.  So I decided to test out all three in a "proof of concept" kind of way.  I'll write out the recipe for how I did the puff pastry.  The ingredient quantities are estimates.  This is snack food, not rocket science.  Just eyeball it!

These are easy finger food and would be ideal for tailgates, parties, or heck, if you happen to run a skating rink.

Grilled Pizza Puffs

  • 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed according to directions, each cut into 9 squares
  • 2 Johnsonville Pizza smoked sausages*, cut into 9 slices
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce*
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, fresh grated
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning (or just mix dried oregano and basil)
  1. Preheat a charcoal grill with a pizza stone to 400f.
  2. Top each puff pastry square with cheese, about 1/2 tsp of pizza sauce and a slice of sausage.  Fold top over.  Top with grated Parmesan cheese.
  3. Place on pizza stone and cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Whisk the egg, Italian seasoning, and 1 Tbsp of cold water together for an egg wash.  Brush onto the tops of the pizza puffs.
  5. Cook another 5 minutes or until golden brown and then remove to a cooling rack.  
  6. Serve with extra pizza sauce for dipping
  • Pizza flavored smoked sausage - These were perfect for this but they are a limited release from Johnsonville right now.  If you can't find them in your area, you can use another smoked sausage or pepperoni.
  • Pizza sauce - I just used a jarred sauce but use your favorite homemade or commercial one.  I hope to have my neighbor do a pizza tutorial post at some point, he is the pizza king around here.  He does one on his Big Green Egg at least once a week.

These new sausages have chunks of cheese, tomato, and pizza seasonings already built in.

I tested some with chunks of mozzarella and some shredded, not a big difference either way.

Top with grated Parmesan or Pecorino-Romano. 

You can also do this in a 400f oven but the wood coals make it even better.

For the pizza dough ones, I crimped the edges shut whereas I left them open for the puff pastry.    

Pizza dough version

Crescent roll version

Puff pastry version
The puff pastry ones were my favorite.  The flaky layers just make the appetizer so light and airy.  The crescent rolls were my second preference and had a noticeably different taste.  But it turns out, that's all it is - preference.  Others in my family liked the pizza crust ones or crescent roll ones the best.  It all depends on what you like.

[Standard FTC Disclaimer]  I have a business relationship with Johnsonville as a sponsor of my blog and received the new sausages free of charge.  I have full editorial control of my blog and the opinions stated are my own.  

[Non-Standard FTC Disclaimer] I have no affiliation with the American Skating Rink Association (ASRA), the American Association of Skating Rinks (AASR), or the United Brotherhood of Skating Rink Snack Bar Workers #109.  

Update:  MyBizzyKitchen - They are out in limited markets right now but here is what to look for.  They should be by the other Johnsonville smoked grilling links in the meat department.  They might not be right next to the raw bratwursts.