Monday, 25 September 2006

Campfire "Spicy" Apple Huckleberry Pie

Here's the first of a couple of recipes I'll share that I made while we were camping. I found our "new" dutch oven at a garage sale. I think they were asking 8 bucks, and Paul offered 5, which they accepted. You can find these great cast iron babies at thrift stores or buy new at or a good camping store near you. Also essential are some other tools to use with your dutch oven, but if someone else has them at camp you can bum off them as I did. They are: a lid lifter and a shovel. Also helpful is a pair of fire tongs to move logs around. Oh, and don't forget a good pair of gloves, or at least a pot holder. Working around the fire gets very hot!

Prepare the dough: Mix 2 1/2 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon sugar. Cut in (with pastry blender, two knives, or your clean-as-you-can-get-them fingers) 1 cup of butter (two sticks). Add cold water (at home I use ice cubes, but none at camp! Just fresh cold water) in small dribs and mix, until dough holds together. Form a disk and put in your ice chest to chill until you're ready to use it.

Prepare the filling: Pare, core and slice about 5 pounds of good apples (Paul found organic local apples for me to use, and they were tasty!) and put in the dutch oven. Add 1 1/2 cups huckleberries that your kids picked. Ah, they're so pretty, stemmed and washed they look like jewels. Here's the "spicy" part: add a couple of handfuls of candied ginger, minced. I kept saying "spicy" when I was telling what it was, to try to deter the kids--whenever a dessert came out, the kids would devour it in seconds. I wanted to give the adults a chance!

Put a stick of butter in the mix--you can use less, but I was daring and used a whole stick and it was *delicious*...and sugar, maybe about 3/4 cup. Put the lid on and cook in the campfire. Here's how you cook in a dutch oven in a campfire: Pull some hot coals out of the fire (still in the fire pit) and make a little bed with them, about as big as the bottom of your dutch oven. Put the dutch oven on top, then top with more hot coals. You can use just bottom heat or just top heat, and I think I used just bottom heat for this part.

Cook until the apple mixture is bubbly and has cooked some. Then take your pastry and roll to the size of your dutch oven. Cut steam vents in it....not really necessary, I suppose, but it's cute if you do. Then just lay it over the apple filling and cook. You need top and bottom heat for this part. Rotate the dutch oven periodically, and replace hot coals as necessary. We had mostly pine this year, which burns hot but the hot coals are soon cold. You have to adjust for different kinds of wood, considering how they burn. You'll know when this pie is done by the pastry being nice and brown and the gorgeous deep pink juices bubbling up over it. Trying to keep the kids from devouring it will take willpower, and will cause much guilt on your part and many sad faces on their part. Ask me how I know.

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