With homemade gluten free puff pastry we can make these flaky gluten free pizza hot pockets that BLOW AWAY the store bought ones!
Omg, you guys! For all y’all out there like me, who constantly crave anything pizza flavored, these gluten free pizza hot pockets are the bomb!! All the flavors of pizza are tucked inside a pocket of my homemade gluten free puff pastry (easier than you think to make!) for the perfect handheld lunch or snack.
I was never that much into hot pockets back in my “before Celiac” days. In fact, I was never really into frozen meals at all. They always looked so good on the box, but they were nothing like their pretty picture on the inside. The only thing I remember really enjoying was Stouffer’s macaroni and cheese. It was super creamy and cheesy and unlike those other frozen trays of blech.
Make the Filling for Gluten Free Pizza Hot Pockets
To make the filling for these hot pockets, I took a page from Claire Saffitz of Bon Appetit’s test kitchen. She has a section called Gourmet Makes on Bon Appetit’s YouTube channel. If you’ve never seen it, it’s quite enjoyable to watch. Claire remakes classic snacks and desserts to a “gourmet” version of what they were.
What I love about her method is that after sautéing the pizza sauce on the stove, it goes into the oven to roast and concentrate. This is done so the sauce hopefully won’t ooze out of the pastry, although a little oozing could happen and is perfectly acceptable.
What Kind of Cheese Should I Use?
When Claire made her hot pockets, I think she used something like 6 or 7 different cheeses! I wasn’t going anywhere near that number, mainly because I wanted these to be affordable but also easy. And trying to find 7 different cheeses was too difficult so I stuck with what I had. Those were diced mozzarella (not fresh), and grated Parmigianno Regianno and pecorino.
How About Meats or Veggies?
I didn’t add veggies, but you certainly could. Claire used a few different varieties of salami and pepperoni, but I only had hot sopressata and some pepperoni. So that’s what I used. Be your own chef here, though, and use whatever meats and/or cheeses you’d like!
If you’re an onion or pepper person or like mushrooms on your pizza, feel free to add those. It’s really a matter of personal preference.
Gluten Free Puff Pastry
I assure you that making my gluten free puff pastry is so much easier than you might think! It’s also called “rough puff” or “quick puff” because it isn’t made the traditional way with a butter block.
Instead, the butter is added to the dough in small pieces. The dough is then folded several times to “laminate” the butter, just like a lamination machine works with paper and plastic.
What lamination does for pastry is it creates these wonderful layers of buttery flakiness. It’s very similar to making a pie crust. If you’re familiar with my gluten free pie crust and want to use that instead, that would be just fine. It may not be quite as flaky and puffed, but it’ll still be delicious!
Creating a Block of Filling
When I watched Claire make her hot pockets, she first tested them using a Twinkie pan. She decided it wasn’t the shape she wanted, but I wasn’t concerned with creating the perfect hot pocket copycat shape. I just wanted the flavor and texture of a great handheld pizza pocket. And I had one of those Twinkie pans (affiliate link), too so I used it and it worked beautifully!
If you don’t have a Twinkie pan (affiliate link), you can also use a mini loaf pan. Or scoop the filling into the bottom of a plastic wrap-lined square baking pan (for instance an 8 by 8-inch). Once chilled, they can then be cut into smaller rectangles for individual hot pockets.
But if you already have a Twinkie pan (affiliate link) or decide to purchase one just for this instance, I promise you I’ll come up with a Twinkie copycat recipe in the future. So you’ll be able to use the pan again without worry, haha!
Whichever pan you decide to use, make sure you weigh down the “blocks” of filling. They’ll be nice and compact when you go to wrap them with the pastry. Claire used another Twinkie pan and a weight on top of that. Since I didn’t have another Twinkie pan, I weighed them down with beans. It was a little silly, but it worked nonetheless, haha!
Lock in the Filling
When ready to bake, roll out the puff pastry into a large rectangle. The size of the rectangle will depend on how many pizza pockets you’re making at one time. For the sake of showing you, I only did 4 pizza pockets at a time. The rest of the filling “blocks” were kept in the freezer for another day, as was the other half of the puff pastry.
Set 4 filling “blocks” onto one half of the pastry, about 2 inches apart. Brush around each with an egg wash. Gently fold the other half of the pastry over to meet the opposite side. Then take your fingers and press between each pizza pocket to seal.
Use a pizza or pastry wheel to cut each apart. Then take a fork to press and seal the edges of each.
Bake from Frozen
I recently read a cookbook where the chef suggests that anything made with pastry be frozen before baking. I wish I could remember which one of my thousands of cookbooks I found it in! Anyway, she stated that putting frozen dough in a blasting hot oven would help separate layers. Which of course means lots of flakiness. She even puts whole pies in the freezer before baking. I really liked the concept.
Freeze your hot pockets after assembling until solid, at least 2 hours. Put them in a super hot oven (450 degrees F) and immediately drop the temperature down to 400. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until light golden brown, puffed, and flaky.
Thought you’d never have a pizza hot pocket again? Think again! I promise this one is well worth it and way better than the frozen variety.
Gluten Free Pizza Hot Pockets
- 1 recipe Glorious Gluten Free Puff Pastry
- 1 28-ounce can whole skinned tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 sprigs fresh basil
- 100 grams diced pepperoni
- 35 grams diced sopressata (dry salami)
- 400 grams finely diced mozzarella (not fresh)
- 35 grams parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano), grated
- 25 grams Pecorino Romano, grated
- 1 large egg mixed with 1 tbsp water and a pinch of salt (for egg wash)
Make the Sauce
- Very lightly crush and drain the can of whole peeled tomatoes, letting it sit over a colander to collect any juices.
- Heat olive oil in large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic cloves, red pepper flakes, and tomato paste. Cook, stirring constantly, until the paste has caramelized and there are brown bits on the bottom of the pan, just a few minutes.
- Add the drained crushed tomatoes and a little splash of their juices to loosen the bits from the bottom of the pot. Season with salt, pepper, and oregano.
- Add the two big sprigs of fresh basil and transfer the pot to the oven set at 300° F. Allow to roast for about 40 minutes, until thick ad concentrated, stirring once. Cool completely before removing the basil sprigs. Process sauce in a food processor until smooth.
- Combine the pepperoni, salami, mozzarella, 125 grams of the sauce, the parmesan, and pecorino in a large bowl and stir.
- Press into Twinkie pan lined with plastic wrap (see post above), cover with another piece of plastic wrap, and weigh down with something heavy.
- Alternatively, divide between two loaf pans lined with plastic wrap, put another piece of plastic wrap on top, and weigh down with another loaf pan and a heavy weight. Place the pan in the fridge until solid enough to cut into rectangles. Cut each loaf pan contents into 4 equally sized rectangles to make 8 total rectangles.
- Refrigerate filling rectangles (or Twinkies) until ready to use.
Wrap in Puff Pastry
- Make puff pastry according to recipe instructions (or use pre-made store bought gf puff pastry). Work with half the dough at a time, chilling the other half until ready. Roll out into a long rectangle that's double the width of 4 filling rectangles (or Twinkies) plus a few inches.
- Place the filling rectangles on one half of the pastry. Brush egg wash around each filling rectangle and then fold the other half of the dough over the 4 rectangles to the opposite edge.
- Press around each rectangle, where you egg washed, with your fingers to seal. Cut with sharp knife or pastry wheel around each. Seal with fork dipped in flour.
- Brush tops with egg wash and cut 3 small slits in top of each pizza pocket. Freeze until solid, at least one hour.
- Preheat the oven to 450° F. Place hot pockets in oven and immediately turn down heat to 400° F and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until light golden brown.
- Allow to cool slightly before serving. Filling will be piping hot.
Inspired by Pastry Chef Attempts to Make Hot Pockets