By Lisa Brunette
This is a rhubarb custard pie, baking inside our Sun Oven.
So yes. The answer is yes, you can bake a pie in a solar oven! Here's how.
Once you've received your Sun Oven and are mentally ready for the task, prepare your pie the way you usually do. For me, that meant a from-scratch crust (my secrets: freezer-chilled gin instead of water and grated, frozen butter), a yogurt-custard base, and rhubarb picked from the garden. It's not that I'm a snob about ingredients; it's that anything artificial can make me sick for days, and supermarket pie crusts are full of a lot of crap that doesn't even sound like food. Plus, homemade pie crusts just taste a lot better.
Set up the Sun Oven in a location without shade, where it will get several hours of direct sunlight. Position it so the sun shines on the solar reflectors. You can tilt the angle using the adjusting rod in the back. Rotate the oven so that the hole gauge aligns with the sun, its shadow lining up in the gauge. You can see the gauge in the upper right here, the white plastic bit with the hole in the center. It's simple but ingenious.
Then you wait for the pie to bake. How long depends on the heat of the day, the time of year (and thus the angle of the sun where you are on the globe), amount of cloud cover, etc. You can monitor the heat of the oven using the temperature gauge. Here you can see it's getting pretty toasty in there, about 325º F.
You're basically slow-baking this pie, and that means you're going to see some condensation build up on the oven's glass door. Don't worry, though! Your pie will turn out nice. Better, in a way, as this method of baking keeps moisture in, so your pie is less likely to dry out.
It was a hot day in July when I baked this pie, so it baked within a couple of hours. Yours might take longer, depending on the time of year and weather. Side note: That's one of the benefits of a Sun Oven; normally, you wouldn't want to bake a pie in the middle of July when it's broiling outside, as baking in your oven will heat up the indoors and make your A/C have to work a lot harder. But with a Sun Oven, that whole problem dissipates!
The pie turned out pretty good... I would say perfect, except the crust was too thick. This wasn't the fault of the Sun Oven; I should have rolled out the dough a little thinner before pressing it into the pie plate. Lesson learned.
But here's the finished proof that yes, you can bake a pie in a solar oven. As you can see, the perimeter crust is nice and flaky, and the custard is cooked all the way through to the middle.
As I've mentioned before, the Sun Oven is made in the United States of America, at a small company here in the Midwest, which has been producing them for 31 years. You can read more about how it works and its many uses here.
Brunette Gardens is a proud Sun Oven affiliate. If you purchase using this link, we might earn a commission, at no extra cost to you.