There will be sun honest and If you’re looking for ways to mix things up next time you dine al fresco or head out on a camping trip, why not swap out your barbecue for a wood-burning pizza oven?

The experts at Boutique Camping have provided a range of recipes and some high-level hacks to getting the best out of a pizza oven:

The benefits of a pizza oven

  • Easy to start and provide more even heat, making it easier to cook your dishes to perfection
  • Faster cooking speeds in a pizza oven than on a barbecue 
  • Woodfired for unique smoky taste and aroma 
  • Can stay hot for several hours. 

What can you cook in a pizza oven? 

Despite the name, these ovens can cook far more than just pizza. Below are just some of the ways you can use your pizza oven outside of making pizza: 

  • Bread: Pizza ovens are excellent for baking bread. The intense heat and even distribution of heat in the oven help create a crisp crust and a soft, airy interior.
  • Roasting: You can use a pizza oven for roasting meats, vegetables, and even a whole chicken. The high heat seals in the flavours and juices, resulting in succulent and evenly cooked dishes.
  • Grilling: Some pizza ovens — like our Original Pizza Oven and our Pizza Oven Plus — come with a grill grate, allowing you to grill vegetables, seafood, steaks, and other grilled favourites. 
  • Baked Dishes: You can use a pizza oven to make casseroles, lasagnas, baked pasta dishes, and gratins. This is because the even heat distribution ensures thorough cooking and the perfect browning of the top layer.
  • Desserts: Pizza ovens can be used to bake desserts like fruit crisps, cobblers, pies, cookies, and even simply baked fruit. 
  • Starters and sides: There are various smaller side dishes and starters you can cook in your pizza oven which you wouldn’t be able to with a barbecue, including stuffed mushrooms, garlic bread, and baked brie or Camembert.

Tasty pizza oven recipes 

Picture credit:@gypsyhillphotography

So what recipes can you try? Here are two of our favourites:

Gratin potatoes 

This creamy and delicious dish is the perfect side for a variety of meals, from pizzas to steak. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make gratin potatoes:

  • 1kg russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 285ml full fat milk 
  • 285ml double cream 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 100g Gruyère cheese, grated 
  • 30g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh thyme or parsley for garnish (optional)

To whip this dish up in your pizza oven, simply follow the steps below: 

  1. Preheat your pizza oven to around 190°C and grease a large baking dish with butter or cooking spray.
  2. Peel and thinly slice your potatoes to around 3mm width. Place them on a clean tea towel and pat dry. 
  3. Add the double cream and milk to a saucepan, along with the minced garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Let it simmer over a medium heat until the mixture is hot, but not boiling, then transfer into a jug for easy pouring.
  4. Layer half of the sliced potatoes in the prepared baking dish, slightly overlapping them. Sprinkle half of the grated Gruyère and half of the grated Parmesan over the potatoes.
  5. Pour half of the garlic-infused cream and milk mixture over the cheese and potatoes, making sure to coat everything evenly.
  6. Repeat the layering process with the remaining potatoes, cheeses, and cream.
  7. Dot the top of the potato mixture with the small pieces of butter, to help brown and crisp the top of the gratin.
  8. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake in the preheated pizza oven for about 40 minutes. The potatoes should be tender when pierced with a knife.
  9. After 40 minutes, remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the top is golden brown and bubbling.
  10. Once done, remove the gratin from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before serving.
  11. Garnish with some fresh thyme or parsley (optional).

Maple glazed peaches 

A fantastic sweet treat and ideal for the summer months, this is a great dessert for rounding off your al fresco dining. Use the ingredients below to make this sweet dish:

  • 4 ripe peaches
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 240g mascarpone cheese
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Crushed walnuts for garnish (optional)

Follow the steps below to whip up this dessert in your pizza oven: 

  1. Preheat your pizza oven grill to a medium-high heat.
  2. Wash the peaches and slice them in half, removing the pits.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the melted butter, maple syrup, vanilla extract, ground  cinnamon, and a pinch of salt.
  4. Brush the cut side of each peach half generously with the maple glaze.
  5. Place the peaches on the grill cut-side down, and cook for about 2-3 minutes until the peaches have softened slightly. 
  6. While the peaches are grilling, prepare the mascarpone topping by whisking together the mascarpone cheese and honey until smooth and well combined.
  7. Remove the grilled peaches from the heat and let them cool for a minute or two.
  8. Serve the warm grilled peaches with a dollop of the honey mascarpone mixture, and if you want a little extra crunch, sprinkle some crushed walnuts on top.

Tips for using your pizza oven 

 Fortunately, using a pizza oven is simple and relatively intuitive. However, to make sure you get the absolute best results every time, it’s always a good idea to get some tips before making your first meal. 

  • Choose high-quality wood to ensure your dishes cook evenly. 
  • Preheat your pizza oven for even cooking.
  • Generously flour your dough to prevent it from sticking too much to the pizza stone. I• Monitor the food closely: cooking times can vary depending on the temperature of your oven and what you are cooking, but they tend to cook food very fast. 
  • Protect your flooring and make sure that the grass, flooring, or groundsheet below your pizza oven is protected with a fireproof mat or stand.