Enjoy This Simple Apple Pandowdy Recipe | Think Apple Cobbler!

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So, what if you were invited over for dinner at my place, and I announced we’re having Apple Pandowdy for dessert (Pan-dow-dee), would you know what that is?

Well, to make it easy for you, I’ve turned this into a multiple-choice question:

  1. Oh, that sound’s great Judy, I just love anything you bake!
  2. Just smile and say nothing.
  3. Burst out with “What the heck’s an Apple Pandowdy?

Going for #2?

I don’t blame you. 🙂

Apple Pandowdy is a recipe I’ve been wanting to bake for some time now. I just love the name, don’t you?

So what is Apple Pandowdy?

It’s a classic American dessert, created in the 19th century, and is basically an apple pie, but without the bottom crust.

In making this apple dessert, you don’t roll out a smooth top crust. Instead, you place the pastry or ‘dough’ on top of the apple filling in spoonfuls.

old fashioned apple pandowdy with whipped cream on a delft blue saucer & antique spoon
Doesn’t this dish of apple pandowdy with whipped cream look amazing! If you look closely, I’ve already had a generous spoonful. 🙂

It’s a delicious recipe that’s stood the test of time, just like our Easy Cinnamon Roll Apple Cobbler.

Stay tuned for the detailed recipe, and let’s dive into the world of classic apple desserts together!

Where does it come from?

Wiki says apple pan dowdy (or Apple Pandowdy) has roots in Pennsylvania Dutch cooking, with a recipe dating back to colonial times.

I can’t help but envision colonial-era bakers tending to a wood-fired oven, expertly maneuvering hefty cast iron pans filled with this amazing dessert. Just imagine the heavenly aroma of baking apples wafting through the air!

Bright image of baked apple pan dowdy shows apples and crunch topping in a small cast iron skillet

If you want to learn more about apple pan dowdy history, there’s a great article on Americana apple recipes!

So, next time you hear “Apple Pandowdy,” you’ll know exactly what it is, its history, and why it’s so darn special. 

Now, let’s get baking!

Ingredients

Here are all the ingredients you need to make your very own Apple Pandowdy. You should find them at your local grocery store:

  • Apples: The juicy heart of our dessert, sweet and tender. Prepare ahead using my Freezer Apple Filling recipe
  • All-purpose Flour: Forms the foundation for our doughy topping.
  • Milk: Helps to bind our dough and keep it soft.
  • Butter: Adds a buttery richness, both in the filling and dough.
  • Brown Sugar: Gives our Pandowdy a rich, caramel-like sweetness.
  • Lemon Juice: A splash to keep the apples fresh and tangy.
  • Cinnamon: Offers a comforting, warm spice hint to our filling.
  • Nutmeg: A small pinch boosts the overall flavor, subtly and nicely.
  • Vanilla Extract: Infuses the dessert with a deep, aromatic sweetness.
  • Baking Powder: Gives our crust a little lift, making it fluffy.
  • Salt: A touch to balance the sweetness and make everything taste better.

How to make Apple Pandowdy

Follow these steps to this Apple Pandowdy recipe, and you’ll have your very own fall favorite in no time!

sliced apples with cinnamon, and caramel filling pouring on apples in a small black cast iron skillet
  1. Start by grabbing a saucepan and combining the brown sugar, 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour, and a 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Stir these together until they are well mixed.
  2. Add water and lemon juice to the saucepan, and place it on a burner set to medium heat. Let this cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened. Once it’s the right consistency, remove it from the heat, cover it, and set it aside for later use.
  3. Now, in a large bowl, combine the baking powder, and the remaining flour and salt. Stir these together to make sure they’re evenly distributed.
  4. Cut your softened butter into small pieces and add them to your flour mixture. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut the butter into the flour until it looks like coarse crumbs.
  5. Next, pour in the milk. Stir it gently until it’s just combined. You want to be careful not to over-mix; a few lumps are fine. This is your dough, so set it aside for now.
  6. Grab your 9-inch square baking dish and arrange your apple slices in an even layer. Dust them with cinnamon, adding as much or as little as you like.
  7. Go back to your saucepan. Add the nutmeg, vanilla, and remaining butter to your sauce. Stir this until the butter has melted and everything is well combined.
  8. Pour this delightful concoction over your apple slices in the baking dish, ensuring all the apples are nicely coated.
  9. Now comes the fun part! Take your large mixing bowl filled with dough, and start dropping spoonfuls of it onto your apple and sauce mixture. You’re not aiming for perfection here; the unevenness is part of the charm.
  10. Preheat your oven to 350° F (175° C), and place the baking dish onto a baking sheet. This helps to catch any drips and makes it easier to get the dish in and out of the oven. Bake for about 55 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the apples are tender.
glass bowl with caramel sauce and two small cast iron skillets with sliced apples in them

And there you have it! Your homemade Apple Pandowdy is ready to serve. 

It’s best enjoyed warm, and you can add a dollop of cream on top if you like. 

This delicious recipe makes about 9 servings, perfect for sharing with loved ones. Enjoy!

close up image of baked apple pandowdy in a small black skillet on a wire rack

Expert Apple Pandowdy tips

Here are some expert tips for baking your Apple Pandowdy. You’re well on your way to creating one of the best apple desserts!

  • Juicy Boost: When your Pandowdy is still warm from the oven, press the pastry into the apples using a spoon. This helps it to absorb all those delightful apple juices. Yum!
  • Apple Pickin’: Choose the right apples for the job. Tart apples work wonderfully to balance out the sweetness, but when it’s sweet apple season, feel free to experiment.
  • Roomies: Remember to have all your ingredients at room temperature before starting. They’ll blend together like best friends at a party, giving your dessert the best texture.
  • Oven Watch: Keep a close eye on your oven temperature. If it’s too hot or too cold, your dessert might not cook evenly.

And there you have it – my top five tips for making the most delicious Apple Pandowdy! Happy baking!

FAQs

How to serve apple pandowdy?

The best ways to serve Apple Pandowdy is warm, straight out of the oven. If you’re feeling fancy, add a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top for a delightful contrast.

Or, if you prefer, drizzle some heavy cream over it. Both options pair perfectly with the warm, sweet apples in the dessert.

How to store apple pandowdy?

Apple Pandowdy can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days. If you’d like it to last longer, you can keep it in the fridge for up to a week. 

Just warm it up a bit before serving to get that fresh-out-of-the-oven taste again.

vertical image of 2 cast iron mini skillets with apple filling and caramel sauce in a clear glass bowl in the background

What kind of apples are best to use in Apple Pandowdy?

I recommend using medium apples, specifically tart varieties like Granny Smith apples. However, if it’s sweet apple season, you can also use those. 

Remember to remove the peel before slicing and baking. Feel free to experiment and find the apple variety that tastes best to you.

Can I make Apple Pandowdy ahead of time?

Yes, you absolutely can. Just prepare the dish as per the instructions, but instead of baking it, cover it tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate. 

When you’re ready to bake it, let it come to room temperature and then pop it in the oven. It’s an easy and convenient way to have fresh, homemade apple dessert anytime!

Where did I get my inspiration for this recipe?

When I was looking for an old fashioned apple pan dowdy recipe I could bake, I found a couple of versions. 

Martha Stewart’s version of apple pandowdy is more like an apple pie, with squares of pie crust on top.

And then there’s the Taste of Home version – that’s the recipe I’ve recreated here – it looks more like an apple cobbler.

I like this apple cobbler version of this classic dessert for a variety of reasons:

  • It’s perfect for an easy family dinner – takes less time than making pie crust.
  • I love baking desserts in cast iron skillets, and I really wanted to use these new mini cast iron skillets. I think they’re so adorable!
  • No special skills are required!
serving of baked apple cobbler with whipped cream on a blue and white plate with antique silver spoon and skillet of apple pandowdy in the background

You might also like…

Craving more recipes like this? 

I’ve got a whole collection of apple recipes right here. Check out these particular favorites:

Final thoughts

THANKS SO MUCH for following and being part of the Pie Lady Bakes community! We’re all about sharing easy-to-make vintage recipes that remind us of the ones our moms and grandmas used to make.

If you haven’t already, you can sign up for my weekly email newsletter using this link. It’s absolutely free, and you’ll never miss out on any of my new recipes.

See you soon!

Judy

★★★★★ 

If you’ve made this delicious Apple Pandowdy, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Be sure to give us a 5 star rating!

★★★★★ 

what the heck is an apple pandowdy text at top with picture of a serving of apply pandowdy and ice cream in a blue and white saucer with silver spoon
serving of baked apple cobbler with whipped cream on a blue and white plate with antique silver spoon and skillet of apple pandowdy in the background

Apple Pandowdy Recipe

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Judy
A classic Americana dessert, pandowdy recipes were created before folks rolled out pie crusts! I love the mini cast iron pans too. xo
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Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 433 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup brown sugar - packed
  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour - divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt - divided
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 5 tablespoons butter - divided
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 5 cups apples - sliced peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Whipped cream - optional

Instructions
 

Directions

  • In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add water and lemon juice; cook over low heat until thick. Cover and set aside.
  • In a bowl, combine baking powder and remaining flour and salt. Cut in 3 tablespoons butter. Add the milk and mix just until moistened (a few lumps will remain); set aside.
  • Arrange apples in 9-in. square baking dish; sprinkle with cinnamon. Add nutmeg, vanilla and remaining butter to sauce; pour over apples. Drop dough by spoonfuls over sauce. Bake at 350° for 55 minutes or until top is brown and apples are tender. Serve warm with cream if desired. Yield: 9 servings.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 433kcal | Carbohydrates: 82g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 332mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 31g

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment, star rating or post your photo on Instagram and tag @pieladybakes
pouring caramel filling onto sliced apples in a cast iron skillet, text says Apple Pandowdy

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Judy Kahansky is an experienced writer and baker, creating delicious desserts (including pie!) for over 40 years. She loves to take classic and vintage recipes and update them to fit the busy lives of her readers. When not baking, Judy and her husband Mark are passionate golfers, travelers and dog lovers, spending as much time as they can with their sweet pup Millie.