Apple Pandowdy (or Apple Pan Dowdy) is an old-fashioned skillet apple pie dating back to the early 1800’s.
There’s also an old song titled ‘Shoo-Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy‘ that was popular in the mid-1940’s. The pie is lightly sweetened with either molasses or maple syrup and is typically prepared with only a top pastry. The unique feature of this pie comes from the ‘dowdy’ part of the name.
Some old recipes call for the crust to be prepared in one piece and placed over the apples. The crust is then broken up with a knife part-way through baking and partially submerged in the juices using a spatula (dowdying the crust). More recent recipes instruct the crust to be cut into small squares and arranged in a patchwork pattern over the apples. I decided to make our Pandowdy a little more festive by cutting out leaves and acorns using cookie cutters.
The pandowdy should be juicier than a regular apple pie but thickens after the crust is pressed into the apples.
My version is made with apple cider mixed with maple syrup, plenty of cinnamon and just a touch of brown sugar.
Served warm straight from the skillet with a scoop of ice cream makes this an instant favorite. I didn’t add lemon juice to the apples since it was baked in a cast iron skillet and I used mostly tart apples such as Granny Smith. This would be great baked in a casserole dish as well just make sure the sides are at least a couple of inches high.
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- For the crust:
- 1 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons Crisco solid shortening
- 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch pieces
- 4 tablespoons ice cold water
- For the apples:
- 3½ pounds fresh apples, peeled, cored and sliced (about 6 or 7 apples depending on size)
- ½ lemon, juiced (if desired)
- 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- ⅔ cup unsweetened apple cider
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons coarse sugar for sprinkling
- 1 tablespoon milk or cream for brushing on the crust pieces
- To prepare the crust: Combine the flour, Crisco, butter and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse for 2-3 seconds. Do not over process. You want the butter to still be in small chunks. Add the ice cold water and pulse for 5 more times. Pinch a piece of the dough together to see if it holds a shape. If the pastry holds together, gather the dough into a disc and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
- Roll the dough out into a 9x12 inch rectangle, a little less than ¼ inch thick. Cut the dough into 3 inch squares or use a cookie cutter as desired. Place the cut pieces of dough on a parchment lined baking sheet and put back in the refrigerator until needed.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Lightly grease a 9 or 10 inch cast iron skillet or casserole dish. Add the apples (tossed in the lemon juice if not using an iron skillet) and distribute evenly. In a small dish combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and cloves. Sprinkle over the apples. In a 2 cup measure, combine the apple cider and maple syrup. Pour over the apples.
- Place the prepared crust over the apple mixture. Brush the pieces gently with milk and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
- Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the juices are bubbling. Remove the dessert from the oven and gently press the dough into the juices using a spatula. You don't have to dowdy the entire crust but as much as you can is fine.
- Return to the oven and bake another 15 minutes or until the crust is nicely browned and glazed and the juices thickened.
- Cool slightly and serve with ice cream if desired.
Unsweetened apple juice can be substituted for the cider
A refrigerated pre-made pie dough will work just fine too
The perfect, and perfectly easy, fall dessert and a great way to make your apple loving family very happy! Are you ready for Thanksgiving? I’m not! Starting to feel behind so I’ll be hunting down those favorite family recipes this week and making a grocery list. Do you do roast a whole turkey or turkey breast? Are you a ham family? We’re going to be small this year so a turkey breast is all we need. Looking forward to those once a year casseroles and cornbread dressing 🙂
Thanks so much for stopping by – hope you had a lovely weekend.