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The great outdoors has so much to offer; dinner by the campfire, getting away from it all and turning off the cell phone, listening to the birds and crickets. A hot cup of coffee in the morning and watching the sun rise reminds those who go camping why they love it so much. As great as camping is, one minor shortcoming is a good dessert. With a little ingenuity and some planning ahead it is possible to enjoy a delicious apple pie after dinner.
Building the Cardboard Box Camp-Out Oven
Enjoying a delicious apple pie is possible by bringing along a cardboard box oven, a frozen apple pie in a cooler or insulated bag and 6-8 charcoal briskets. The first step is building a cardboard box oven and to do that the following things need to be assembled:
- One corrugated cardboard box slightly larger than a standard pie pan
- Two square pieces of cardboard large enough to cover the top or bottom of the box
- Aluminum foil
- 5 Metal rods long enough to span the box from side to side plus 2-3 inches.
- 1 – 9 inch pie pan
To build the oven cut the top and bottom of the cardboard box out. Wrap the four sides of the remaining box with aluminum foil. Overlaps and seems should be on the outside as much as possible and the box, once wrapped in foil should still be able to be folded flat for ease of carrying on the campout. Cover the two squares of cardboard with aluminum. Using a punch tool, screwdriver or other such device and then punch 5 holes in opposite side of the box so that with the box open, a pie pan can be placed in the box and be held about 5-6 inches above the bottom of the box.
Assembling the Oven and Baking the Pie
About an hour to 75 minutes before the pie is desired, it is time to set up the oven and prepare the heat source so the pie can bake to perfection. Us the following steps:
Clear a small section of ground of any flammable materials to prevent wild fires.
Put one foil covered square on the ground and place a pie tin with 6-8 charcoal briskets on it and light on fire.
Once the fires have died down, place the expanded square box over the hot briskets and put the rods in place.
Put the pie on top of the rods carefully so it won’t tip over.
Put the other foil covered piece of cardboard over the top and place a small weight (a few small stones) on top to keep the wind from blowing the oven over.
In about 1 hour or so the pie will be ready to remove from the oven and a few minutes later it will be ready to eat.
Reusing the Cardboard Oven
One truly great thing about the cardboard oven is that once it has cool down it can be folded up (flattened actually) and put away for use again later. Despite the heat of the charcoals, the aluminum acts to reflect the heat back into the box and once the fire from the charcoals has died down the heat is less that 451 degrees Fahrenheit (the ignition point of paper).
The oven can also be used to bake biscuits, rolls or any other item that is normally cooked in the oven. It also isn’t restricted to campouts. It can also be used in the driveway or the yard following a major storm that has knocked out electricity. Since it does burn charcoal, the cardboard oven should never be used indoors due to the potential for carbon monoxide poisoning.
For those feeling up to the challenge, using a bigger box makes it possible to even cook a turkey in a cardboard oven.
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