Apple Blackberry Pandowdy

Apple Blackberry Pandowdy is a unique twist on apple pie that is comfortable, cozy, and just plain delicious. Serve it with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream for maximum enjoyment!

Apple Blackberry Pandowdy with ice cream on top

There’s nothing more American than apple pie… or is there? While the most famous of desserts from the US of A gets a great deal of attention, I’m here to present it’s humbler, less fancy, but possibly even more delicious cousin. Here, in all it’s unassuming glory, is an apple blackberry pandowdy.

If you’re snickering over the name, me too. So let’s start with the question that’s sort of the elephant in the room.

What is Pandowdy?

Pandowdy is an informal, traditional American dessert of sweet, spiced, cooked apples topped with of pieces of buttery pie crust. The crust is pressed down after baking for a while to allow some of the fruit juices to flow over, causing the pan of dessert to look messy and a bit “dowdy.” Hence the name pandowdy.

It’s similar to cobblers, slumps, grunts, and sonkers, all traditional early American fruit desserts. How’s that for an impressive line up? Pandowdy originated in Pennsylvania Dutch Country, and dates all the way back to colonial times.

Apples and blackberries cooked down for for a pandowdy

Ingredients for Apple Blackberry Pandowdy

For the Crust

  • 1 cup (140 g) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup (114 g) cold, salted butter, cut into cubes
  • 3-4 tablespoons of ice cold water

For the Apple Blackberry Filling:

  • 2 lbs. (about 8 cups of peeled and sliced) apples. Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, or Gala are all great options for baking. Choose something that’s fairly firm and will hold it’s shape when baked.
  • 170g (approximately one container) of blackberries. I recommend cutting large ones in half for more even distribution throughout your pandowdy.
  • 6 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice (the juice of one lemon)
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. white sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • Large pinch of salt
  • 1/2-3/4 cup apple juice

For Topping the Crust:

  • 1 Tbsp. melted butter
  • 2 Tbsp. white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Pieces of pie crust dough being placed on top of apples and blackberries for pandowdy
Pandowdy ready for the oven with a cinnamon sugar topping

How to Make Apple Blackberry Pandowdy

  • Begin by making the crust (Note: you can skip this step and use a premade crust if you’d prefer). Stir together the flour and salt, then cut in the butter with a pastry blender until the mixture is the texture of coarse sand. Add 3 tablespoons of ice cold water and stir it in with a fork until you have a crumbly dough. You may need a 4th tablespoon of water to absorb all of the dry flour.
  • Turn the crumbly pie dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and press it together into a disc. Wrap it well, then place it in the refrigerator for at least an hour or up to three days.
  • When the crust is ready, roll it into a 10″ round disc and cut it into four 2 1/2″ wide strips, then cut the other way to make rough squares. You don’t have to be too careful with this step, and the pieces won’t be square around the edges.
  • Place the pie crust pieces on a parchment lined baking sheet, cover them with the plastic wrap, and replace in the refrigerator.
  • Next make the apple filling: Preheat the oven to 425°F and place a rack in the center of the oven.
  • Cut about 2 lbs. of baking apples (firm baking apples are great, like Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, etc. are a great option) into 1/2″ slices. You should have approximately 8 cups of sliced apples.
  • Toss the apple slices in the 2 Tbsp. of lemon juice.
  • In a separate bowl, stir together the brown sugar, spices, salt, and flour. Toss this over the apples, stirring to distribute it evenly.
  • In a 10″ skillet, melt down the 6 Tbsp. of butter over medium heat. Add the apples and cook for a couple of minutes to allow them to soften and release their juices.
  • Add 1/2 cup of the apple juice and stir it in while continuing to cook. If the liquid is getting too thick and starts to stick to the pan, add the other quarter cup, a bit at a time, to prevent the filling from burning.
  • Allow the apples to cook and simmer for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally. They should be soft but still a bit firm in the center and not be mushy.
  • Toss the blackberries in the 2 Tbsp. of white sugar, then sprinkle them over the top of the apples. Distribute them as evenly as possible.
  • Place the chilled pie crust squares on top of the apple blackberry filling.
  • Brush the 1 Tbsp. of melted butter onto the pie crust, then stir together the 2 Tbsp. of white sugar and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon over the top.
  • Place the pan of pandowdy in the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the crust squares are no longer doughy. Remove it from the oven and carefully press down on the pastry squares, allowing them to crack a bit and the juices from the filling to seep over them some.
  • Return the pandowdy to the oven and cook for another 25-30 minutes, or until the top of the crust is a deep golden brown.
  • Remove the pandowdy from the oven and allow it to cool for about 20 minutes before serving.
  • Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.
  • Store any leftover pandowdy on the counter, making sure to cover it well. (cooked fruit fillings are counter safe)
A baked Apple Blackberry Pandowdy with a crisp pastry top

Recipe Tips and Notes

  • I’ve included a recipe for the crust, but you can also use a premade crust.
  • If you have two racks for your oven, place one in the center for the pandowdy. Place the other just beneath it with an edged baking tray on it to catch any drips or over flow from the filling as it bakes.
  • While pandowdy is absolutely delicious on it’s own, a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream makes it even better!’
  • While cutting up the pie crust is the traditional method for topping pandowdy, you can also use a cookie cutter to make fun or festive shapes.
A pan of apple blackberry pandowdy with melty ice cream on top.

Tool and Pans for Pandowdy

  • When making the crust, the easiest way to cut the butter into the flour is using a pastry blender.
  • I made this pandowdy in a 10 1/4″ Le Creuset skillet. If you don’t have one of those (they’re worth the investment!), you could use any similarly sized skillet. If you prefer to bake in a more traditional pan, you can use an 8×8″ or 9×9″ cake pan. Transfer the apples to it after precooking, layer the blackberries, then crust, on top. Bake as directed.
A dish of pandowdy and ice cream

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Apple Blackberry Pandowdy


  • Author: Rebecca Neidhart
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: 1 10″ skillet, approximately 6-8 servings

Description

Apple Blackberry Pandowdy is a unique twist on apple pie that is comfortable, cozy, and just plain delicious. Serve it with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream for maximum enjoyment!


Ingredients

For the Crust:

  • 1 cup (140 g) all purpose flour

  • 1/2 tsp. salt

  • 1/2 cup (114 g) cold, salted butter, cut into cubes

  • 3-4 tablespoons of ice cold water

For the Apple Blackberry Filling:

 

  • 2 lbs. (about 8 cup) apples, peeled and sliced

  • 170g (approximately one container) of blackberries

  • 4 Tbsp. butter

  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice 

  • 1/4 cup (35 g) all purpose flour

  • ⅔ (132 g) cup brown sugar

  • 2 tsp. cinnamon

  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg

  • Large pinch of salt

  • 1/2-3/4 cup apple juice

  • 2 Tbsp. white sugar

  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon


Instructions

Begin by making the crust:
Stir together the flour and salt, then cut in the butter with a pastry blender until the mixture is the texture of coarse sand. Add 3 tablespoons of ice cold water and stir it in with a fork until you have a crumbly dough. You may need a 4th tablespoon of water to absorb all of the dry flour.

Turn the crumbly pie dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and press it together into a disc. Wrap it well, then place it in the refrigerator for at least an hour or up to three days. When the crust is ready, roll it into a 10″ round disc and cut it into four 2 1/2″ wide strips, then cut the other way to make rough squares. You don’t have to be too careful with this step, and the pieces won’t be square around the edges.

Place the pie crust pieces on a parchment lined baking sheet, cover them with the plastic wrap, and replace in the refrigerator.

Next, make the apple filling:
Preheat the oven to 425°F and place a rack in the center of the oven.

Cut about 2 lbs. of baking apples (firm baking apples are great, like Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, etc. are a great option) into 1/2″ slices. You should have approximately 8 cups of sliced apples. Toss the apple slices in the 2 Tbsp. of lemon juice.

In a separate bowl, stir together the brown sugar, spices, salt, and flour. Toss this over the apples, stirring to distribute it evenly. In a 10″ skillet, melt down the 6 Tbsp. of butter over medium heat. Add the apples and cook for a couple of minutes to allow them to soften and release their juices.

Add 1/2 cup of the apple juice and stir it in while continuing to cook. If the liquid is getting too thick and starts to stick to the pan, add the other quarter cup, a bit at a time, to prevent the filling from burning.

Allow the apples to cook and simmer for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally. They should be soft but still a bit firm in the center and not be mushy.

Toss the blackberries in the 2 Tbsp. of white sugar, then sprinkle them over the top of the apples. Distribute them as evenly as possible.

Place the chilled pie crust squares on top of the apple blackberry filling.

Brush the 1 Tbsp. of melted butter onto the pie crust, then stir together the 2 Tbsp. of white sugar and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon over the top.

To Bake the Pandowdy: Place the pan of pandowdy in the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the crust squares are no longer doughy. Remove it from the oven and carefully press down on the pastry squares, allowing them to crack a bit and the juices from the filling to seep over them some.

Return the pandowdy to the oven and cook for another 25-30 minutes, or until the top of the crust is a deep golden brown.

Remove the pandowdy from the oven and allow it to cool for about 20 minutes before serving. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

Store any leftover pandowdy on the counter, making sure to cover it well. (cooked fruit fillings are counter safe)

Notes

  • I’ve included a recipe for the crust, but you can also use a premade crust.
  • If you have two racks for your oven, place one in the center for the pandowdy. Place the other just beneath it with an edged baking tray on it to catch any drips or over flow from the filling as it bakes.
  • While pandowdy is absolutely delicious on it’s own, a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream makes it even better!’
  • While cutting up the pie crust is the traditional method for topping pandowdy, you can also use a cookie cutter to make fun or festive shapes.
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: apple pandowdy, apple blackberry, apple pie

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