Sweet and juicy with a flaky crust, hello spiced Peach Pandowdy you are so delicious. Bake this old-fashioned dessert that is full of fresh ripe peaches topped with a buttery flaky pie crust for the yummiest dessert you can serve warm from the oven. All the great flavors of a pie without the fuss!
This old-fashioned dessert is always a hit when I serve it, and the best part about this pandowdy is it is similar to a pie but so much easier to make. For the life of me, I have no idea why pandowdies aren't more popular.
Because this is one of our favorite desserts to make, I came up with this summertime recipe for a Grilled Cherry Pandowdy. Yes, you can grill this dessert and it is fantastic. Make this dessert on those hot summer days when you don't want to use your oven.
🥧What is a pandowdy
- A pandowdy, also known as pan dowdy, is an old-fashioned Pennsylvania Dutch dessert originating in the 1800s. Apples were usually the fruit used at this time and this dessert made good use of pie dough scrapes.
- This dessert combines two things, fruit and pie crust which sounds like a pie, but a pandowdy is more like a cobbler because the pie crust sits on top of the fruit.
- The dowdy part of this recipe is how the baked pie crust is cut into squares and "dowdied" or dunked into the juices which flow up over the top of the crusts. So now the crust has a dowdy or shabby look to it, but as the pandowdy continues to bake the pie crust absorbs the juices, it's kind of a magical baking process that produces a great topping.
- Today, there are different versions of how to make the crust, such as using puff pastry, or cutting the crusts into squares and laying them on top of the fruit before baking. All of these variations work just fine and will be just as tasty!
🍑Let's make a peachy dessert
For this recipe, you will need a single crust pie dough homemade or store-bought. Today I used a store-bought dough from Trader Joe's that I let defrost in the fridge. I find it is one of the best-tasting, and it rolls out beautifully.
Well, let me clarify that. I have never had a Trader Joe's frozen pie crust that didn't come in one piece when I unrolled it. It's always broken up into pieces. No, worries, just roll all the broken dough up into a ball and roll it out.
- Making your own pie dough is really easy, here is my favorite recipe for Flaky Pie Dough. Did you know you can make extra pie dough and freeze it for later, like when you want to make a pandowdy?
- You can even freeze pie dough scraps, they will turn into delicious desserts like this pandowdy or I use my pie dough scraps to make our favorite bite-sized Jam Filled Pie Tarts.
Step 1. Roll out the pie dough on a lightly floured mat that is larger than the top of the pie plate or your baking dish.
If you have room in the fridge, pop the rolled dough in there to keep it chilled. I set mine in the fridge on the rolling mat that is set on a baking pan.
Make the filling
Step 2. Depending on the type of candied ginger you are using it may need to be chopped first. Mine is in small disks so I just put them on a cutting board and chop them into small pieces. Because candied ginger can be sticky, you can add a little sugar to it to help in chopping.
Note: It is totally optional to use candied ginger.
Step 3. Slice the peaches into a large bowl and toss with the lemon juice. You can peel the peaches if you like but I leave the peel on.
Step 4. In a small mixing bowl add the brown sugar, cornstarch, chopped candied ginger, and ground ginger, and nutmeg; mix together.
Step 5. Pour the sugar mixture over the peaches and mix together.
Step 6. Pour the fruit into a 9" pie plate, casserole dish, or skillet and top the fruit with one tablespoon of diced butter, then top with the rolled-out pie dough.
Step 7. With a small knife, trim the excess of the dough right up to the edge of the baking dish then tuck the edges of the dough into the inside of the pie plate rim.
Step 8. Place the pie plate on a baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees F. for 30 minutes.
Step 9. Remove the baking pan from the oven and with a sharp knife cut 1-inch squares through the pie dough. Now, take the back of a spoon and press the edges of the squares into the fruit of the pandowdy until the juices start to flow over the squares of dough.
Step 10. Sprinkle the top of the pie dough with 1 tablespoon of decorator's sugar or granulated sugar, return the baking pan to the oven and continue baking for 25 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the pandowdy cool for 20 minutes before serving.
What I really like about this dessert is you can eat it while it's warm, unlike a pie that really needs to cool or else all the filling runs out of the crusts. With a pandowdy, you merely take it out of the oven, let it cool a bit and then spoon the warm filling into your bowl and enjoy. It's such a tasty dessert.
Variations for the crust
- There are lots of different ways to make the pandowdy crust. I like to lay the whole crust on top of the fruit and then cut the dough into squares.
- You can cut the dough into different shapes like squares, stars, or circles and lay these pieces on top of the filling, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the pandowdy from the oven and then dunk the edges of the cut-outs into other fruit juices. Just watch that these cut-outs don't get too brown.
You can use other stone fruits, apples, cherries, rhubarb, or berries. You can even mix any of these fruits together and this pandowdy will be delicious.
You can use many different types of baking dishes that are big enough to hold the fruit. Try a cake pan, cast-iron skillet, or even a casserole dish.
Yes, you can use both, just be aware of the juice content and adjust the amount of sugar and cornstarch as needed, especially, since frozen fruits are particularly juicy and pie fillings are thick.
A pandowdy has just a top crust that is cut into squares and purposely dunked in the fruit juices. A pie has a bottom crust.
The difference is the topping. A pandowdy uses a rolled-out pie crust as a topping and a cobbler has a batter-type topping, such as a biscuit.
Pandowdy fruit variations
Try adding about a half-cup of additional fruit in with the peaches.
Other One Hot Oven fruity dessert recipes
Try this rustic Peach Almond Tart with Vanilla Bean for a delicious way to use fresh summer peaches.
Strawberry Curd Tarts are pretty as can be. These tarts have a delicious fresh taste of strawberries.
Pretty in pink, this Raspberry Chiffon Cake is so easy to make and is such a showstopping dessert perfect for a celebration.
Oranges or lemon which is your favorite? Bake this Mandarin Orange Bundt Cake made with sour cream and filled with sweet Mandarin flavor or this Sweet Tart and Tangy Lemon Cake with lots of lemon flavor inside and out. Both are easy and so tasty.
What's your favorite cake or pie? This Lemon Cake Pie dessert has a flaky pie crust, a creamy lemon custard, and a tender lemon cake on top. Yes, two desserts in one.
How to did sound, Fresh Peach Cobbler Pound Cake? This recipe is a great way to use summer peaches for a tasty dessert.
Old Fashioned Classic Desserts
Here are all the fun names of the old desserts that I think are worth mentioning. I say let's bring back these old-timers for a new generation of foodies.
- Betty or Brown Betty - baked with fruit on the bottom and a layer of buttered crumbs on top
- Buckle - a cake with a layer of berries baked into it with a streusel topping that looks buckled when baked
- Crisp - baked with fruit on the bottom and a crumb mixture on top
- Cobbler - baked with fruit on the bottom and a thick biscuit crust on top, the biscuit dough looks like cobblestones
- Crumble - a crumble is the British version of American's crisp, it's not as rich
- Grunt - Like a steamed fruit pudding with a biscuit dough top
- Pandowdy - A spoon pie with a broken up pie crust or biscuit dough on top of the fruit
Easy Peach Pandowdy
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- If using a frozen pie dough, or a store-bought pie dough let it defrost and then roll it out on a floured mat, or a piece of waxed paper. The size of the dough should be a bit larger than your pie plate or baking dish. I'm using a 9" pie plate and rolled the dough to about 11"
- If you are making your own pie dough see my recipe for Flaky Pie Dough.
- It's best to chill the dough while making the filling. I just take the rolling mat with the dough on top of it and put it on a cookie sheet and place in the fridge.
Preparing the fruit filling
- Heat the oven to 375° F.
- Some candied ginger comes in small pieces, but if using larger pieces, chop the ginger into small pea- sized pieces. Place the ginger pieces on a cutting board and chop with a knife.
- Wash and slice the peaches and place into a large bowl. You can peel the peaches if you like. I leave the peel on. You will need about 5 cups of sliced peaches. Place the fruit in a large mixing bowl and stir in the lemon juice.
- In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, cornstarch, candied ginger, ground ginger, and nutmeg. Add this mixture to the fruit and lightly toss until combined.
- Pour the fruit into the pie plate. Dice the butter into very small pieces and then dot the fruit with the butter.
- Place the pie dough onto the top of the fruit, then cut the excess dough around the pie plate with a paring knife. See notes below.
- Tuck the dough inside the rim of the pie plate. Place the pie plate on a baking sheet to catch any drips and put it in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven and using a sharp knife cut 1-inch squares into the pie crust. Now with the back of a spoon press down on the edges of the squares so the juices start to cover the crust. You don't have to do all the squares but make sure the filling can bubble up over most of the crust.
- Sprinkle the top of the crust with decorator's sugar and return to the oven and bake for 25 minutes. The peaches should be tender with the juices bubbling over the pie crust and most likely the rim of the pie plate.
- Let the pandowdy cool for about 20 minutes before serving. Cover any leftover with foil or plastic wrap for several days.
How to get the dough on top of the fruitYou can roll the dough between two pieces of wax paper then chill the dough. To get the dough on top of the fruit Remove the top piece of the wax paper and flip the dough over and remove the wax paper. I use a cloth rolling mat and just pick up the chilled dough and place it on top of the fruit.
VariationsYou can use many different types of fruits for this pandowdy and you can mix the fruits. You still want about five cups of fruit. Try apricots, plums, nectarines, cherries, apples, rhubarb, or berries If you love this recipe try this Grilled Cherry Pandowdy recipe. And if you don't have a grill just pop this pandowdy in your oven and bake. All images and text © Jere' Cassidy / One Hot Oven
First published: June 3, 2012...Last updated: June 30, 2021
From learning to cook on a farm in Indiana to culinary school in California, my passion for food is never-ending. Turning on my oven to bake something for friends and family is my happy place, and I am glad to be here at One Hot Oven sharing both sweet and savory recipes with all my baking friends.