There’s almost nothing more American than apple pie. There’s almost nothing more relaxing than a campfire at the end of a day outdoors. And there’s almost nothing I’d rather taste than the sweet gooiness of melted caramel. In fact, if I could only choose a handful of different foods to eat for the rest of my life, caramel would surely be in the top 3.
That’s part of the reason I was so determined to come up with a delicious creation that could be my go-to treat around the campfire. It took some experimenting, but I do believe that I finally nailed it – caramel apple pudgy pies!
What Pie Pan Should I Use?
Many of you are probably already familiar with campfire pie irons, the handy contraption you can fill with favorites that you want to cook over an open fire. My personal cooker of choice is the Rome Industries Round Pudgy Pie Iron. Pick it up and you instantly feel the difference. The heavy-duty cast iron construction is built solid and immediately offers the confidence that it can stand up to the scorching flames you are about to plunge it headlong into.
The cast iron walls of these Rome cookers seem to deliver a more even heating than most of the lighter weight aluminum brands, so even a rookie won’t end up with one side of inedible burntness. Rome makes a square version, too, but the round design does a great job of sealing the edges of your pie, keeping the filling inside the bread/crust and making for easier cleanup when you’re done cooking.
Are you getting hungry yet? Me too, so let’s get started with the recipe! Begin by using a non-stick spray to coat both insides of your pie iron. If you’ve never done that with your pie irons before, you’ll thank me in the end!
The next step is to take 2 slices of bread, buttering one side of each slice. Sprinkle some cinnamon and sugar across the butter to sweeten things up a bit. Then place the buttered side face-down into each side of the pie iron.
Working with one side of the pie iron, scoop a healthy spoonful or 3 of canned apple pie filling (Wilderness Cinnamon ‘N Spice Apple Pie Filling is what I usually use) on top of the bread, trying to keep it in the middle as much as possible. If you spread the filling too far towards the outside edges of the bread, you may end up with a mess later.
Don’t Forget This!
When you are satisfied with the amount of pie filling on your bread, it’s time to add the most important ingredient of all … caramel! When I first tried this recipe, caramel ice cream topping seemed like the logical choice, as it could be mixed directly into the apples before cooking. Boy was I wrong!
When heated, the liquid caramel sauce got so hot and runny that it either dripped completely out the side of the pie during cooking, or it stayed inside and scorched under the incredible heat, giving it an acrid taste. It also seemed to disappear somewhere inside the pie, not offering much of that amazing caramel flavor.
These Work, But …
Eventually I experimented by substituting 4 to 5 of the full-size solid Kraft caramels. No more runny mess, but the results were a bit mixed. The full-size caramels partially melted, but they were still pretty chunky and chewy, retaining much of their solid state and not blending with the apples all that well.
Cutting the caramels down in size into 4 small pieces each, then mixing them into the midst of the apple filling seemed to do the trick, offering the perfectly melted caramelly-appley blend when cooked to perfection. Unwrapping each individual caramel and cutting them into pieces seemed like a chore, but the results were well worth the effort!
These Work Even Better!
Of course the ultra-lazy camper in me pressed on, sampling my way through more trials (oh the things I do to create a recipe!) Eventually this led to the recent discovery of Kraft Premium Caramel Bits – what a time-saver! These perfectly-sized small caramel
chunks require no cutting and are already unwrapped, allowing them to be added right from the package. Depending on how “caramely” you want your pie, you can add the bits to taste. I prefer to add about a 2:1 ratio of pie filling to caramel.
After the caramel is mixed into the pie filling, you enclose it with the top piece of bread contained in the pie maker lid. Lock it up tight with the hook, trim the excess bread off the sides of the pie maker and you’re ready to start the cooking process.
Put That Campfire to Work
Find a nice bed of glowing red coals on the bottom of the firepit and use a log within the fire to prop the front edge of the iron. Use the outside edge of the pit to hold the handle-side of the pie iron, suspending it slightly above those coals.
I usually time my cooking (the timer feature on my smartphone is perfect for this). 2 minutes on the first side, flip over for 2 more minutes, then check. If additional cooking is needed I proceed in 30-second to 1-minute increments per side, rechecking for the perfect golden brown bread finish after each set of flips.
When the cooking is finished, carefully unclip the hook from the handle and gently slip the pie onto a plate — it should slide right out if you used enough non-stick spray. I know that it’s tempting to immediately chomp into the finished product but use whatever self-discipline you have left to let it cool for a bit before eating, as the contents will be incredibly hot.
I’ve never tried topping this with ice cream, but I bet that it would be amazing!
Next time you’re camping, give this recipe a try. I’d love to hear what you think. Be sure to leave a comment below to let me know how it tasted!! (And if you have any recipes you’d like me to try, send them on over!)
Caramel Apple Pudgy Pie Ingredients:
- 2 slices of bread (white or wheat, both work fine)
- Cinnamon Sugar (I use a shaker of McCormick)
- Soft spread butter or margarine
- 1 can of apple pie filling (Wilderness Cinnamon ‘N Spice Apple Pie Filling is my choice)
- 1 bag of Kraft premium caramel bits
- Non-stick cooking spray
- Pie iron (Rome Round pie iron is my choice)
- A Campfire with nice hot coals/embers on the bottom
- Can opener
- Knife (to spread butter)
- Spoon (to scoop out pie filling and eat the finished pie!)
- Paper plate