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Apple Pandowdy, Fancy Style

A pandowdy is half apple pie, half apple dumpling. It’s an old recipe, going back to colonial times. This version is gussied up a little at the end by being drizzled with sauce Anglaise–the liquid custard sauce that I find adds a touch of elegance to anything. This is best baked in a glass or ceramic dish. It prevents bottom heat from overcooking the apples, which lie on the bottom without a layer of crust. I have a glass pie dish that works perfectly, but a shallow glass casserole works too.

Much of the fame of this dessert came from June Christy. The beautiful, short-haired blonde singer with the Stan Kenton big band could make even a domestic song sound alluring. She proved that with a sultry version of “Shoo Fly Pie, And Apple Pandowdy.” She was near the top of her fame then.

Apple pandowdy, fancy style.

  • 4 or 5 Granny Smith apples (or other tart variety)
  • 2 Tbs. cranberry or orange juice
  • 5 Tbs. dark brown sugar
  • Scant 1 Tbs. cinnamon (to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp. ground mace
  • 1 Tbs. Steen’s cane syrup
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • Sauce Anglaise:
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

1. Coat a nine-inch glass baking dish with a thin film of butter.

2. Peel and core the apples, and cut into dice about 3/4 inch on a side. Place the apples into the baking dish and toss with the cranberry or orange juice to coat. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, mace, and cane syrup, and toss the apples again.

3. Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer in a bowl, until the mixture is fluffy and not gritty. Mix in the egg and the egg white until they disappear completely.

4. Add about 1/2 cup of flour and mix in completely. Add about 1/4 cup of milk and mix, and continue alternating flour and milk, with one final addition of flour at the end.

5. With a rubber spatula, spread this batter over the apples, pushing it down to fill the spaces between the apples on top, but not at the bottom.

6. Put the dish into the center of the oven at 350 degrees and bake for 45-50 minutes, until lightly browned. (I recommend using the convection feature of your oven, if you have it.)

7. Let the pandowdy cool for fifteen minutes. Turn it upside down on top of a serving plate, or just set the baking dish out to be scooped from. Spoon warm sauce anglaise over it at the table.

Serves six to eight.

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