Saturday, November 20, 2010

Apple Pandowdy

My son asked that we make a cake for his friend Raiko's third birthday. Since he has not yet formulated a rigid definition of cake, I suggested we make an apple recipe I'd been wanting to try from Rustic Fruit Desserts by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson. It's called a pandowdy: baked right in a pan with no claims to elegance or beauty. 

The recipe suggests using a mixture of apples. I used granny smith and braeburn, peeled, cored, sliced, and tossed in sugar, cinnamon, vanilla extract and lemon juice.

We piled these into a cast iron skillet and dotted them with butter.

The pastry was a simple biscuit dough with butter cut into flour and then just enough milk stirred in to bring it together. We rolled this out to just less than the size of the pan.

Then we carefully inverted the dough onto the apples (a silicone baking mat comes in handy for this) and my daughter cut three steam vents.

The pandowdy baked for 35 minutes until the top was golden.

I was expected the final product to be a kind of lowbrow tart tartin, an upside down tart with caramelized apples, but it is really more of an apple crumble, with the apples remaining quite firm. Still, it was really delicious, especially with a scoop of Prince Puckler's vanilla bean ice cream. And it was sturdy enough to hold up three birthday candles and withstand two toddlers' huffing and puffing.

Apple Pandowdy
adapted from Rustic Fruit Desserts

1 1/2 cups flour
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
6 Tbsp cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup whole milk or buttermilk

Fruit Filling
8 large apples, peeled, cored, and each cut into 16 slices (3.5 lbs. prepped)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of fine sea salt
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

1. To make the pastry, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl. Cut the butter into 1-inch pieces, add to the flour mixture, and toss evenly to coat. Using your fingertips or a pastry blender, cut in the butter until completely broken down into the flour mixture. Add the milk a couple tablespoons at a time, stirring well after each addition to evenly moisten the dough. Add only enough milk for the dough to come together in a relatively dry mass. Gather the dough into a ball, then pat it flat. Wrap the dough in a silicone mat or plastic wrap and refrigerate it while you make the filling.

2. To make the fruit filling, toss the apples, sugar, cinnamon, salt, lemon juice, and vanilla together in a large bowl, then transfer the mixture to a buttered 10 inch cast iron skillet or baking dish. Cut the butter into small cubes and scatter over the apples.

3. Roll out the pastry just a bit smaller that the size of the pan. (The small gap between the pastry and the sides of the pan will allow steam to escape.) Carefully drape the pastry over the apples, then cut 3 stem vents in the pastry.

4. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and the filling bubbles up around the edges. This pandowdy is best served warm, topped with a small scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

1 comment:

Renee said...

So fun!! Happy Birthday Raiko!