Apple Pandowdy is a classic American dessert. Spiced apples are topped with rustic puff pastry and drizzled with melted butter, with a crunchy sugar crust.
You may be wondering, what is apple pandowdy?
Apple pandowdy, or pan dowdy, is a classic American dessert much like an apple pie. Popular in the 1800s and early 1900s, this dessert is filled with sweetened and spiced apple slices, then topped with dough pieces.
The name comes from the dowdy, or shabby looking, crust. When your dessert is fresh from the oven, use the back of a spoon to press your dough down into the apple filling. This process further breaks apart your rustic style crust, and the puff pastry soaks up extra flavor from the apple juices.
Perfect for sharing with a group, this pandowdy serves eight. Top with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any event that calls for a crowd-pleasing dessert.
For this recipe, you’ll need one sheet of puff pastry, peeled and sliced apples, all-purpose flour, vanilla extract, allspice, cinnamon, melted butter, a lemon, brown sugar, and turbinado sugar.
Puff pastry can be substituted with one pie crust instead – modern pandowdy is often made with either pie crust or puff pastry.
Turbinado sugar is optional, but I enjoy the crunchy crust it adds on top. If you don’t have any on hand, granulated sugar can be used instead.
What type of apples should I use?
Granny smith apples are a great choice for baking because they are firm and keep their shape after baking. They’re also widely available in grocery stores year round.
Other great choices are Honeycrisp, Golden Delicious, or Rome apples. For more information, check out this article: Bob’s Red Mill – Best Apples for Apple Pie.
Assembling your pandowdy
You’ll be surprised how quickly this dessert comes together. First, you’ll mix your filling and pour it into a 2 to 2.5 quart shallow baking dish.
Next, roll out your puff pastry into about a 12 inch square. Slice your puff pastry into pieces – you can use squares and rectangles like I did, or slice your puff pastry into random shapes or triangles. You can’t really go wrong here.
Place your puff pastry pieces randomly across the top of your filling, overlapping them slightly and leaving gaps for the filling to show through.
Last, drizzle your melted butter over your puff pastry and sprinkle with turbinado sugar (or granulated sugar).
Puff pastry crust
Whether using puff pastry or traditional pie crust, you’ll want to take one extra step once your dessert is removed from the oven.
While your dish is still warm, use the back of a spoon to press the crust down lightly to soak up the filling juices. Your crust may break apart slightly, this is intentional.
- 2 1/2 pounds apples peeled, cored, and sliced into 1/2" wedges
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1 sheet puff pastry thawed
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar or granulated sugar
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a shallow 2 to 2.5 quart baking dish (like a 7x11 dish) and set aside.
- In a large bowl, add sliced apples, brown sugar, flour, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and allspice. Toss to evenly coat apple slices. Pour apple filling into prepared baking dish and spread into an even layer. Set aside.
- Roll out puff pastry into a 12 inch square. Slice into pieces (about 2 inch squares), then scatter on top of your apple pie filling, overlapping slightly and leaving gaps to show filling.
- Drizzle melted butter over puff pastry, then sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
- Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until apples in the center of the dish can be pierced through easily with a fork. Baking time will depend on thickness and type of apples used. Puff pastry should be golden brown across the top.
- While still warm, use the back of a spoon to gently press puff pastry down into filling, allowing it to soak up some of the juices.
- Serve warm, optionally with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
- Lemon zest and juice = one medium sized lemon
- Puff pastry can be substituted with pie crust instead.
- Granny smith, honeycrisp, or golden delicious apples are ideal for baking.
- Any leftovers will keep for up to two days, sealed with foil or fitted lid, at room temperature.
- A shallow, 2 quart baking dish is best for this recipe. I used a 7 x 11 inch pyrex glass baking dish.