I love holidays and Halloween is especially fun. Today marks the beginning of several spooky Halloween recipes that I'll share. A couple of weeks ago I ran across the idea for this snake stromboli and thought it was so cute! I used my favorite pizza dough recipe from Our Best Bites and filled the snake with pesto, cheese, pepperoni and olives. It turned out adorable and VERY tasty!
My very favorite pesto is from DeLaurenti Specialty Food and Wine at the Pike Place Market in Seattle. To me it has the perfect blend of flavors and perfect texture. We like it so much that when I go visit my family, we bring home a couple large containers of it, divide it into smaller containers, and keep it in the freezer. How much pesto you use in this recipe will really depend on how strong your pesto is. I used about half a cup in mine but if you have a really strong pesto you may only use 3 or 4 tablespoons. My stromboli split open as it was baking and some oil from the pesto leaked out. This didn't bother me at all (it looked like he had a green belly!) but you could leave out the pesto entirely and dip the slices in pizza sauce if you'd prefer.
This snake was so yummy that I'm definitely going to make it other times of the year just baked as a log.
For the dough:
1 1/2 C warm water
1 T sugar
1 packet yeast
1/2 t salt
about 4 C flour
Stir together warm water, sugar and yeast in bowl of electric mixer and let sit until yeast blooms (10 minutes). Stir in salt and 3 C flour by hand. Place bowl on electric mixer with dough hook and add 1/2 C flour. Knead on the lowest or second lowest speed and add flour a couple of tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition, until the dough is only slightly sticky. It should feel like a wad of chewing gum (gross description, but accurate!). Pour about a teaspoon of oil over the ball of dough, spread the oil with your fingers, and turn the dough and spread the oil over the other side too. Cover with a dish towel. Place the bowl in a warm place to rise for 30 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size. I've found the perfect place for dough to rise is in my oven. I set the temperature to 300 and let the oven heat for 45 seconds, turn it off, then put in the bowl of dough. You may need to tweak the temperature and time slightly.
For the stromboli:
1-2 C shredded mozzarella
sliced pepperoni, 1 reserved
1 small can sliced olives, 2 reserved
garlic bread seasoning (optional)
1 egg white
Once the dough has risen, grease a large cookie sheet and punch the dough down. Cut off 1/3 of the dough and refrigerate it for another use the next day (this is what I did), or you could make an extra large stromboli. On the cookie sheet, pat the dough out into a 12 by 15 inch rectangle (make it longer if you used the full amount of dough). Spread to within 1 inch of the edges the desired amount of pesto sauce, then top with cheese, sliced olives and pepperoni. Sprinkle with a little bit of garlic bread seasoning if desired. Roll the dough up like a cinnamon roll, starting on a long side. Press edges to seal as best you can and arrange the stromboli into a snake shape on the cookie sheet, seam side down, or you can just leave it as a log and have a regular stromboli. Press the ends to seal and tuck them under. Make one end pointy to look like a tail and one end rounded to look like a head.
In a small bowl, beat the egg white and food coloring of your choice with a fork. Brush the egg white on the snake in whatever pattern you desire. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes or until snake is slightly golden. While snake is baking, cut the reserved pepperoni slice so it looks like a snake tongue. After you remove the snake from the oven, place the tongue under the snake's head so it sticks out and place the olive slices to look like eyes. Let the snake cool for 5 minutes before cutting into 1 inch slices to serve.
Yield: 4-6 servings (more if you make a big snake)