If you came here looking for specs on how to build your own shiny getaway spaceship before doomsday 2012, I am sorry to disappoint. Blame google, not me. But if you’re looking for an easy snack that will please kids, and also the child within you, then read on.
I was feeling a little Kauai-nostalgic for a food item that is extremely popular at food fairs and bakeries. Flying saucers or UFOs as they’re called, can mean one of either two things: a meaty ragu baked within yeast dough, or hamburger sauce tucked between 2 slices of bread and formed into a disk with a Toas-tite pie iron. Remember those? I’ve been keeping my eye on a few listed in ebay, but what with the iffy postal delivery…ehhh…I’d hate for my pie iron to suffer any damage during transit.
These circular hot pockets are made easier with the use of bottled spaghetti sauce added to cooked ground beef. I use a sweet dough recipe as it contrasts nicely with the rich, savory filling of the ragu. The type of cheese you decide to use is your call – back on Kauai it was the plastic orange “cheese” slices. Now that I’m in Italy, it’s fresh mozzarella or bust.
Flying saucer recipe
1 pound ground beef
small bottle of pre-made spaghetti sauce
cheese as you prefer it
2 cups all-purpose flour
2½ tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup warm milk
1 teaspoon dried yeast
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon butter, softened
Make the filling. Brown the beef in a pot and drain excess fat. Stir in just enough spaghetti sauce to make a thick filling. Check for seasoning, salting if necessary. Allow to cool and place in the refrigerator until well chilled. This helps to avoid a sloppy mess during shaping.
Mixing the dough. Combine flour, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. Form a well in the center and add the milk; sprinkle yeast on top and let dissolve. Add the egg yolk, vanilla and butter. Stir until the ingredients come together. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic; about 8 minutes. This is a soft, rich dough that can get quite sticky in humid weather. Add additional flour only if necessary. Place in an oiled container, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled; about 1-1½ hours.
Shaping the final product. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and roll each into a 6-inch circle. Take a scoop of meat ragu and place it slightly off to the side of the dough circle. Top with a slice of cheese. Brush one half of the circle with egg wash; fold over and press to seal. Now bring the two points together to form a circle. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and let rest for 30-45 minutes until slightly risen and poofy. Preheat oven to 375°F. Gently brush the flying saucers with egg wash and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.