From America's Test Kitchen Season 9: More Easy Apple Desserts
Apple pandowdy harks back to Colonial-era New England—the dessert takes a more rustic approach to apple pie in that it features just one pastry crust, placed on top of a lightly sweetened apple filling. During or after baking, the pastry is broken and pushed into the filling—a technique known as “dowdying.” We found the idea of an easier approach to apple pie very appealing—no fussy crimping and only one piece of pastry dough to roll out, so we set out to make our own version—one with a flaky crust and tender, juicy apples.
For a juicy apple filling with bright fruit flavor, we added cider to the apples and sweetened the filling with maple syrup—the tart intensity of the cider deepened the apple flavor and maple syrup’s rich character added the right degree of sweetness. Both additions also made for a pleasantly saucy filling. Parcooking the apples in a skillet until caramelized before adding the other ingredients helped to deepen their flavor. For the crust, we cut a standard pie crust into squares after rolling it over the fruit right in the skillet—this encouraged a multitude of crispy edges that contrast nicely with the tender fruit and recall (in a less dowdy way) the broken-up crusts of a traditional pandowdy.
Serves 6 to 8
If your skillet is not heatproof, precook the apples and stir in the cider mixture as instructed, then transfer the apples to a 13- by 9-inch baking dish. Roll out the dough to a 13- by 9-inch rectangle and bake it as instructed. If you do not have apple cider, reduced apple juice may be used as a substitute—simmer 1 cup apple juice in a small saucepan over medium heat until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 10 minutes). Serve the pie warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Use a combination of sweet, crisp apples such as Golden Delicious and firm, tart apples such as Cortland or Empire.