Desserts

Skillet Apple Pandowdy

An old-fashioned dessert that’s similar to pie, skillet apple pandowdy relies on a juicy filling to add even more flavor to a buttery crust.

By Aimee Tucker

Sep 15 2017

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Skillet apple pandowdy.

Photo Credit : Aimee Seavey
Each fall we head out into the orchard, pick pounds and pounds of apples, and then wonder what to do with them once we get home. If you’d like to try something a bit different than your standard (but super) apple pie, a skillet apple pandowdy is a fun way to get old-fashioned apple flavor.
apple pandowdy
Skillet Apple Pandowdy
Photo Credit : Aimee Seavey
In another NewEngland.com post, I explained the difference between the many Funny Names for Old-Fashioned Fruit Desserts — pandowdy being just one of them. In it, I explained that pandowdies start off looking like a pie (bottom crust optional), but the real fun occurs towards the end of baking, when the cook “dowdys” the crust by slashing it and lightly pressing it down so that the bubbling fruit cooks up around the flaky layers. The effect may be decidedly dowdy, but the taste will be divine.
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The perfect slice of sweet apple pandowdy.
Photo Credit : Aimee Seavey
In this version (adapted from the award-winning The Apple Lover’s Cookbook by Yankee senior food editor Amy Traverso), rather than cutting the crust with a knife during the last bit of baking, I did it upfront by cutting the dough into strips, then squares, with a pizza cutter. I layered the squares on top of the apples with plenty of gaps in between to let the juice bubble up and do its job. I also decided to double the dough recipe so I could add a bottom crust.
apple pandowdy
Apple Pandowdy
Photo Credit : Aimee Seavey
Amy sheds a little more light on the origins of the recipe by reminding us that early pastry recipes called for little more than flour and water, so they lacked the rich and buttery crusts we expect today. It wasn’t uncommon for early baked crusts to require a lot of dunking to be palatable, so a pandowdy, which bathes the bland crust in sweet fruit juices while it’s still in the oven, was a tasty way to banish the lack of flavor upfront. To be honest, I probably should have done a better job of pressing down on my crust (it looks like it could have used some more liquid on there), but it still tasted terrific, and the skillet gives the dessert such a homey and traditional appearance. Are you a fan of apple pandowdy? This post was first published in 2014 and has been updated.

GET THE RECIPE: Skillet Apple Pandowdy Recipe

SEE MORE: Best Apple Orchards in New EnglandBest Apple Recipes | 10 Fall Fruit Favorites10 Best Apples for Apple Pie