No, we’re not talking about the loved ones that will be attending your family reunion- we’re talking about Pie Irons! Pie Irons are known by many different names, Pudgie Pies, Pioneer Pies, Fire Pies, Toasties and Jaffles, but each name is referring to ingredient-filled "pockets" of bread toasted over a campfire. Cooking with pie irons is a long time tradition at our family reunions.
Camp cooking doesn’t have to be just hot dogs and roasted marshmallows. Our family reunions wouldn’t be complete without a delicious raspberry pie cooked over the campfire and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon. With a pie iron, you can cook anything from a simple grilled-cheese and ham sandwich to a delicious berry pie for dessert.
In its most basic function, a pie iron is a way to cook grilled cheese sandwiches and fruit pies over an open fire. This is done by placing the food inside the pie iron and then locking the two sides closed with a metal hook. Metal rods with wood handles extend from the castings so the user can easily maneuver the pie iron over a campfire. A few minute over the heat, usually 4 to 6 minutes, and you will have perfectly toasted sandwich or pie.
Pie Irons are available in both cast iron & aluminum. Our family prefers cast iron. They come in several different shapes; round, square, oblong and double. For our family reunions, we only use square irons. A slice of bread fits perfectly in a square pie iron but the “waffle” pie irons I’ve seen look fun too. Some day I’m going to buy waffle style irons for our family reunion and use them for breakfast. Aunt Lynn doesn’t think she’s had breakfast unless she has had a piece of toast so we’ve even used our pie irons for toast.
To make the most simple of pies, just take two slices of bread (buttered on the outsides), fill with jam, cheese, meat or pie filling- you don’t need much, then place inside the pie iron and lock it closed. Hold it over your campfire for a few minutes on each side and you’ll soon be eating a grilled cheese sandwich or a scrumptious apple pie.
At our family reunions, we like to make fruit pies in the evening while we are sitting around the campfire visiting, singing or playing games. About ten years ago, at a family reunion, cousin Mindy suggested that we sprinkle our freshly baked pies with sugar and cinnamon when we dump it out of the pie iron. Yummy! Some of our favorite flavors of fruit pies are lemon and raspberry. Another family favorite at our family reunions are “Cherry Cheese Turnovers- the recipe is below.
Cherry Cheese Turnover
Cherry Pie Filling
Butter or Pam cooking spray
2 Slices of white bread
Butter or add cooking spray to one side of each slice of bread and place buttered-side-out in pie iron. Fill with a Tablespoon of cream cheese and a Tablespoon of cherry pie filling. Cook on camp stove or in fire until golden brown. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.
Pie Irons are great for making ham and cheese sandwiches, individual pizzas and dessert pies but you don’t have to always use bread pockets when you use your pie irons. At our family reunions, we have made omelets and hash brown potatoes in our pie makers. Use your imagination- I even heard of a family that makes Baked Alaska in their irons. That’s a recipe I’ve got to try! Here’s a fun recipe using tortillas.
10" Flour Tortilla’s
Grilled Chicken Strips
Sour Cream, olives, salsa etc.
Spray both sides of Irons well, with non stick cooking oil. Lay Tortilla in middle of one Pie Iron. Fill with 3 to 4 strips of cooked and thawed chicken, sprinkle 1/8 cup of cheese and taco seasoning to taste. Fold the Tortilla in on all sides, close Pie Iron and cook until Tortilla is golden brown on both sides. Serve cut in half with sour cream and salsa.
A basic pie iron can be purchased for about $20.00 at Sporting Goods/Camping & Outdoor Stores, BBQ & Kitchen Specialty Stores, Campgrounds, RV Stores, & Hardware stores. I once stumbled onto store liquidation and bought pie irons for $6.00 a piece. I bought every iron they had in stock. An online resource .
You don’t need a pie iron for every person at your family reunion, just cook your pie and pass the iron onto the next person. After you’ve introduced your family to pie irons at your next family reunion everyone will want to have one- selling pie irons might even be a great fund raiser! More great recipes can be found at www.familyreunionhelper.com under “Tried and True” recipes.
“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” – Ryunosuke Satoro