I mentioned last week that I had a whole lot of peaches on my hands, so in my effort to make sure these beauties didn’t go to waste, we’re having an end the of season peach double-header. Though I was tempted to make obscene amounts of peach ice cream, I had to abandon that dream as I have limited space in my crazy freezer. And then I remembered pandowdy.
The first time I had ever heard of pandowdy was just a few years ago, when Rodney, my father, insisted that an apple cake I had made tasted just like an apple pandowdy from his childhood. Apple huh? Pan what? I was sure he was making this up until I did a Google search and found this. A pandowdy is basically a fruit pie sans bottom crust, and though my cake was not even slightly reminiscent of a one-crust pie, I was a little bit intrigued by this silly name, which easily could have been just another Rodney’ism.
I was trying to figure out why someone would make a pandowdy rather than a good ol’ double crust pie. I guess maybe if you were being carb conscious, you might eliminate the bottom crust of a pie in the manner that one would eat a burger with only one bun (though if you were being carb conscious you probably wouldn’t be eating dessert). And then I thought about all of the work that goes into rolling out pie dough and while it’s not difficult, it can definitely be a bit time consuming. So maybe it’s a sort of lazy man’s pie, which is kind of perfect for summer if you ask me.
A few weeks ago I flagged this recipe for peach pandowdy. And then, of course, forgot all about it. Luckily, seeing all of those peaches reminded me that I had business to take care of. So I handled my business. There is something really beautiful and rustic about pandowdy, especially when baked in a cast iron skillet. Initially, I felt that the ginger in this recipe was a bit overwhelming, but after it cooled for an additional hour, it seemed less intense and I actually rather enjoyed that unexpected hint of ginger. While I really liked the peach and blackberry combo, I feel that this would be just as good with the blackberries omitted (which is what I’ll try the next time someone brings home a lifetime supply of peaches). Either way, it’s a winner. I like to think of this little number as summer in a skillet. Rodney will be thrilled.
gingered peach and blackberry pandowdy
from Rustic Fruit Desserts by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature, for dish
1 disk all-butter pie pastry
4 peaches, pitted (2 lbs prepped)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
juice of 1 large lemon
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons chopped candied ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 dry pint (2 cups) blackberries
all-butter pie pastry
makes 2 disks
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 1-1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup ice water, or more as needed
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the pie pastry:
Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl, stir to combine, then put the bowl in the freezer for about 10 minutes, until super cold.
Cut the butter into 1-inch cubes, then add it to the flour mixture and toss to evenly coat. Cut the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry blender, food processor, electric mixer, or your hands, just until the mixture becomes coarse and crumbly and the butter is about the size of peas.
Stir the water and lemon juice together, then drizzle over the dry ingredients, tossing with a fork to distribute the liquid. The pastry will be shaggy but should hold together when squeezed in the palm of your hand; if not, add an additional teaspoon or two of ice water.
Dump the pastry onto a lightly floured work surface and press down on the dough, folding it over on itself a few times until it holds together. Try not to handle it too much, or it will warm up and may become over-developed. Divide the pastry into 2 equal parts and shape each piece into a disk 1 inch thick. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
For the pandowdy:
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Butter a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan (skip this step if you are going to bake in a cast iron skillet).
Wash the peaches, pierce the skins all over with a fork, then slice each peach into 10 to 12 slices, depending on the size of the fruit. Put the peaches in a bowl, add the sugar and lemon juice, and toss gently until evenly coated. Set aside for 15-20 minutes to draw out some of the juices.
Strain the peach juice into a small saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half. Rub the cornstarch, candied ginger, ground ginger, and salt together in a bowl.
Roll the pie pastry out a little larger than the diameter of your pie pan. Place the pie pan upside-down atop the pastry and use it to cut the pastry to size.
Add the cornstarch mixture and reduced juice to the peaches, add the blackberries, and stir gently until evenly combined. Pour into the prepared pan and top with the pastry circle. If the crust is a bit larger than the pan, tuck it inside the pan. Place the pie on a baking sheet to collect any drips.
Bake for 50 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the fruit is bubbling. Cool for 1 hour before serving, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream ( I liked it best after it had cooled for about 2 hours).
This dessert should be eaten soon after it is made, but any leftovers can be covered with a tea towel and stored at room temperature until the next morning.