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What is Pandowdy?

Lora Brody provides a fresh-from-the-garden spring recipe for Apple-Rhubarb Pandowdy in the April issue of Horticulture and at But what exactly is pandowdy?
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Pandowdy, or pan dowdy, is a dessert whose origin is uncertain, although some suggest European settlers of the Americas created it, originally using apples. Apple pandowdy remains the most common rendition.

In a pandowdy, a layer of sweetened and spiced fruit is given a thick top crust, usually made of pastry or piecrust. As the dessert cooks, the baker pushes the crust into the fruit with a fork, which allows the juices of the baking fruit to bubble over it. Alternatively, the baker can manipulate the crust after the pandowdy is removed from the oven. The name “pandowdy” is said to come from the “dowdy” appearance of the top crust—it ends up rumpled and messy (though delectable). This dish is usually baked in a pan rather than a pie dish, perhaps creating the first part of the name.

Pandowdies can be made with peaches, apricots and berries, aside from the traditional apples.

See Lora Brody’s Apple-Rhubarb Pandowdy recipe