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Looking back in history it’s unclear how pandowdy actually got its name, however they first popped up in regional cookbooks in the 1800’s. Originally designed to use up stale bread as it baked over apples, today it has transformed into a rustic version of a single-crusted fruit pie. The beauty of pandowdy is its simplicity…….no fuss over the perfect crust! In fact, once the crust has baked it is gently pressed down into the fruit juices, then baked further to develop a beautiful golden glaze. This is old-fashioned farm cooking at its best!
OLD-FASHIONED APPLE & PEAR PANDOWDY
Yield: 10” deep pie
1 ¾ c. all-purpose flour
¼ c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
10 tbsp. cold, unsalted butter (1 stick + 2 tbsp.)
¼ – 1/3 c. cold apple cider
4-5 each of large fresh pears and apples, peeled & sliced (measuring 10 heaping cups fruit total)
½ c. packed light brown sugar
¼ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground ginger
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ c. apple cider
Crust: combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter or fingers until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the cider and mix gently until a dough is formed. Gather dough into a ball, wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes or longer. Note: this dough can be prepared ahead and refrigerated for two days or frozen for 1 month.
Preheat the oven to 400. Toss together all filling ingredients in a large bowl, blending well before transferring to a 2-3” deep x 10” diameter baking dish or skillet (note: a shallow pie pan will not be suitable). Remove the dough from the refrigerator and working with half at a time, roll the dough on a lightly floured surface into a rectangular shape, ¼” in thickness. Use a knife to cut 1” wide strips of dough and place strips over the filling in alternate directions, creating a lattice appearance over the fruit (no need to be fussy here…..this is a wonderfully rustic dessert!). Place the pandowdy on a baking sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and fruit mixture begins to bubble.
Remove from the oven and use the back of a large kitchen spoon to gently press the crust into the dish, allowing some of the liquid to come over the top and coat the crust (there should be liquid in the pan, however if the fruit is particularly dry drizzle over a small amount of apple cider to glaze the crust). Place the dessert back in the oven for an additional 15 minutes, or until the fruit is completely tender and crust is glazed and golden but not soggy. Serve pandowdy warm or at room temperature with ice cream or whipped cream!
Recipe: Carolyn’s Farm Kitchen
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Photo: Darren Pellegrino Photography