My favorite thing about summer is having an outdoor fire and cooking mountain pies.
Growing up my family didn’t go on family vacations, we went camping. Any state or private parks that had campgrounds within a few hours driving distance made the list. My mom loaded up the camper every Friday. After my parents finished work, all four kids would hop in the van and pull the camper to our weekend campground. Temporary new friends and make-believe games filled the hours until dinner time around the campfire.
Now, whenever I visit my parents’ house during the right time of year, family picnics with people sitting around a fire is how we spend time together. Food is part of the bonding experience and where we get creative.
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What are mountain pies?
Mountain pies consist of a toasted hot sandwich, similar to a panini, with fillings. Mountain pies can be savory or sweet and made for dinner or dessert. Using an iron pie maker, mountain pies can feed many people quickly without one person having to do all the work and can be customizable to dietary restrictions.
I’m here to share how to make pizza mountain pies, the most common one I make.
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Single mountain pie makers (or iron pie maker) are square. I find it easier to use a double maker to fit larger loaves of bread from the grocery store.
- Iron pie maker (single or double)
- Lighter or matches
- Plates (paper or plastic)
- Headlamp or flashlight
- Cooking spray or butter
- Marinara sauce
- Pepperoni, sausage, or choice of sliced deli meat
You want a hot fire, which means coals at the base. You can cook on a roaring fire but checking the pies can be difficult depending on the fire-pit, smoke, or sparks. Get the fire nice and hot before preparing the mountain pies.
- Spray inside iron pie maker with cooking spray OR butter the side of bread that will be touching the iron.
- Place a piece of bread into the iron pie maker.
- Smear marinara sauce on the piece of bread in the maker.
- Sprinkle the shredded cheese on top of the marinara sauce.
- Add choice of meat on top of cheese.
Optional: Extra saucy or cheesy
a. Sprinkle more cheese on top of meat.
b. Add sauce to the other piece of bread.
- Add second piece of bread (if extra saucy place the sauced side touching the other ingredients and the bare side towards the sky. If using butter, make sure the unsauced side won’t burn with a thing butter spread.
- Close the pie maker.
You have two options: Preheat the iron pie maker or prepare and cook the first sandwich. If you decide the latter, the iron pie maker will decrease the time it takes to toast the bread once heated.
As the mountain pie maker heats up in the fire, the first person’s mountain pie may take a few minutes to cook. Use a light if dark to check on whether or not the bread is toasting or burning, similar to making a grilled sandwich in a pan on the stove. Toast it to desired crisp level and flip the maker to cook the other side.
Placing the iron in the hot coals will ensure faster and more even cooking than trying to hold the heavy maker above flames, but try to keep it horizontal so the fillings don’t leak out.
Remove from fire and dump onto a plate. Place the hot iron on a surface that won’t melt and pass it off to the next hungry person. The pies will cook much faster now.
Tip: If you find the pies are cooking too fast, consider waiting between sandwiches to allow the maker to cool down.
Clean pie maker once cooled off from the soot and cooking spray remains before storing it.
Other mountain pies combinations
Growing up I didn’t limit myself to pizza mountain pies. Use leftovers or deli meats and create a variety of combinations, such as
- Ham and cheese
- Toasted peanut butter and jelly
- Peanut butter and bananas
- Dessert pies like apples, cherries, or blackberries canned pie filling
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