What’s not to like about pancakes? The batter is simple to make, you can top them with almost anything you fancy, the right ingredients are almost always in the cupboards, they’re fun to make, and they taste blooming delicious. However, making pancakes over a campfire when camping is where my list of ‘likes’ ends. You see loads of amazing images of perfect campfire pancakes in cast iron skillets dripping with maple syrup and insta-ready. But my experience attempting to cook pancakes, in anything but a non-stick pan, couldn’t be further from photogenic if I tried. That is, until I tried making pie iron pancakes!
- What are pie iron pancakes?
- How to cook in a pie iron
- Dairy-free, low FODMAP pancakes
- Pie iron pancakes recipe
What are pie iron pancakes?
Simply put, pie iron pancakes are pancakes cooked over a fire inside a pie iron! They only take a few minutes to cook and they taste as good as pancakes cooked in a regular pan. The main benefit of cooking pancakes in a pie iron is that they are way less messy, in my opinion. Flipping them in a pan, though fun, can result in a ruined campfire breakfast and a pile of stodgy dough instead of fluffy discs of deliciousness. Cooking pancakes in a pie iron, however, doesn’t require a flip of faith to ensure an even cook. This method of cooking pancakes over a campfire also means that you don’t get rogue ashes leaping into the pan to add an unwanted smoky flavour to your batter.
How to cook in a pie iron
Cooking in a pie iron is such a simple concept that I’m amazed more campers haven’t adopted this method of cooking the favourite campfire breakfast. When I first tried cooking pie iron pancakes I searched the internet for some guidance on how to do it, but found very few recipes. So I gave it a go with an adapted recipe and it turned out to be extremely easy and way more successful than I’d anticipated.
So how do you cook pancakes in a pie iron?
If you are new to pie iron cooking then you’ll love how easy pie iron pancakes are to make:
- Grease the inside of the pan on both sides.
- Pour your batter into one side of the pie iron.
- Close up the pie iron and place it over the fire keeping it flat.
- After a couple of minutes, turn the pie iron over and cook for another couple of minutes.
And that’s it! If you have a couple of pie irons then you can cook more than one at a time, and it’s a relatively safe way for kids to get involved in campfire cooking. You can also increase your cooking output by using a double pie iron. But we use a single one which you can read about in our campfire cooking equipment article.
One of my favourite things about pie iron cooking is that you can actually get pretty experimental with what you cook in it. Another favourite of mine at the moment are campfire pizza pockets. The more you cook in a pie iron, the more you’ll realise that you can create way more than just toasted sandwiches.
Dairy-free, low FODMAP pancakes
For those with dietary requirements, finding yummy recipes that agree with them can be challenging. As a result, it can be all too tempting to just go with the traditional recipe that is filled with things you probably shouldn’t be having. This is especially true, for me at least, when I’m camping. I feel like it’s OK to let all the rules and dietary restrictions go out the window. It’s only for a couple of days, after all. But when you wake up on day one feeling groggy and sick then it really is worth putting in the effort to get your camping menu as stomach-friendly as you can. You’ll thank yourself for it when you’re bounding with energy on that sunrise hike you’d planned!
So, with this in mind, I’ve adapted a more traditional pancake recipe, containing regular flour and milk, to be dairy-free and low FODMAP. For those not in the know, a low FODMAP diet is a relatively new way of eating that can have hugely beneficial effects on those suffering with IBS. There are lots of food types that you need to cut out when following a low FODMAP diet. However, there are also lots of things that you just need to cut down on.
For most people suffering with IBS, wheat is a big no-no. Which is where buckwheat comes in. This ancient grain is actually a seed and not a grain. As a result its makeup is different to wheat and is less troublesome to the gut. Buckwheat is also nutritionally rich, containing B vitamins, iron and zinc, and a phytonutrient called rutin. Plus, it’s high in magnesium, manganese and fibre.
In this pie iron pancake recipe I’ve used buckwheat flour and almond milk instead of the traditional alternatives. I’ve also omitted sugar. You can simply add a sweet topping if you really want a sugar hit.
Pie iron pancakes recipe
These fluffy and light pancakes are dairy-free and low FODMAP, but they work equally well using regular flour and milk.
Makes 4 pie iron pancakes
- 135g buckwheat flour (plain flour works too)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 130ml almond milk (regular milk works too)
- 1 egg, beaten
TOPPINGS: Everyone has their favourite pancake toppings, so feel free to stick to what you love. When we last cooked pie iron pancakes (and photographed them), we topped them with:
Chopped conference pear
- Crumbled walnuts
- Date syrup
How to make the pancake batter
- In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- Slowly stir in the milk and then egg.
- Mix into a thick, smooth batter.
- Use straight away or store in a tupperware for use at camp.
How to cook the pie iron pancakes
- With some oil or butter, lightly grease the inside of both sections of the pie iron.
- Spoon or pour the batter into one half of the pie iron so that it is almost full, but not quite.
- Close the pie iron and place it over the coals of a mature fire, keeping it as flat as possible.
- After a couple of minutes you should start to see the batter bubbling out of the sides of the pie iron slightly. At this point, your pie iron pancake is ready to ‘flip’. Gently turn the pie iron over and cook over the fire for another couple of minutes.
- Remove the pie iron from the fire and carefully open it up. Have a quick check to make sure the pancake is lightly browned on both sides. If it’s not then close it up and cook for a little longer.
- Once the pancake is cooked, gently remove it from the pie iron using a soft spatula or bendy knife. Then top with your favourite toppings and enjoy!
COOKING TIP: To jazz up this recipe you can easily add some toppings into the batter before you cook the pancake. Dried or fresh fruit work well if you’re making a sweet pancake.