Also called apple pandowdy, this deep-dish dessert is made of sliced apples, butter, spices, brown sugar or molasses, all topped with a biscuit batter that becomes crisp and crumbly after baking. It can be served hot or at room temperature and is often accompanied by cream or ice cream. The origin of the name is unclear, although some seem to think it comes from the dessert's dowdy (plain and old-fashioned) appearance.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.