A Pandowdy is an early American dessert made with sliced fruit and topped with a pastry crust that is cut up and pressed back into the fruit mixture during the last minutes of baking. The final product appears "dowdy," hence its name. Here we make a version with a summery mix of fruit, but keep in mind that any fruit would work just fine.
- 2 apples, such as Golden Delicious or Granny Smith, peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick
- 2 pears, such as Anjou, peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick
- 4 nectarines or peaches, pitted and sliced 1/2-inch thick
- 2 plums, pitted and sliced 1/2-inch thick
- 1 cup strawberries, rinsed and patted dry, hulled and quartered
- 1/2 cup blackberries, rinsed and patted dry
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar or maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Pinch salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Basic Sweet Pie Crust, recipe follows
- 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon orange liqueur or brandy
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl combine the apples, pears, nectarines, plums, strawberries, and blackberries with the lemon juice and cornstarch and toss to combine. Add 1/2 cup sugar, cloves, nutmeg, and salt and stir well. Butter a deep pie dish or a 9 by 12-inch baking dish with 1/2 tablespoon of the butter. Transfer the fruit mixture to the buttered dish, and dot the top of the fruit mixture with the remaining tablespoon of butter.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the pie crust to a thickness of 1/8-inch and transfer to the top of the fruit mixture. Trim the edges flush with the edges of the dish, and brush the pastry with 1 tablespoon of heavy cream. Sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of sugar. Using the tip of a sharp knife, cut several steam vents in the top of the pastry.
Bake the pandowdy, uncovered, until the pastry is lightly golden, about 30 minutes. Remove the pandowdy from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Use the edge of a metal spatula to cut the crust into 1-inch squares, then press the crust down into the filling. Return the pandowdy to the oven and bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes longer. Let cool 15 to 20 minutes before serving.
When ready to serve, in a large bowl, whip the remaining 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream to soft peaks with the confectioners' sugar. Add the orange liqueur and continue to whip to firm peaks. Serve the pandowdy warm, with a dollop of the whipped cream on top, or pass the whipped cream at the table.
Basic Sweet Pie Crust:
- 8 ounces flour, about 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick (1/4 pound) cold butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening
- 3 tablespoons ice water
Sift the flour, sugar, and salt into a large bowl. Using your fingers, work in the butter and shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add 2 tablespoons of ice water and work with your fingers until the water is incorporated and the dough comes together. Add more water as needed to make a smooth dough, being careful not to over mix. Form the dough into a disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.
Yield: 1 (9 or 10-inch) pie crust