This recipe for Peach and Cherry Pandowdy is so easy to make using juicy peaches and red cherries and it’s all 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!
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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 this dessert isn’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 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 just as tasty!
- Single crust pie dough – you can make your own or use store-bought
- Pie dough – flour, sugar, salt, butter, water
- Lemon juice
- Brown sugar
- White Sugar
Let’s make a peachy dessert
Make the pie dough first
Step 1. Mix flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl then add the cold cubed butter. Cut the butter into the flour with a pastry cutter until it’s the size of peas.
Step 2. Add ice-cold water 1 tablespoon at a time to the flour mixture until the dough forms into a ball.
Step 3. Place the dough on a piece of floured wax paper and pat it into a disk, then with a rolling pin roll the dough into an 11″ circle. Move the dough onto a flat surface and place in the fridge to chill.
Making the filling
Step 4. Peel and slice the peaches, pit the cherries and cut them in half. Add the fruit to a large bowl and toss with the lemon juice.
Step 5. In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg together then mix this into the fruit.
Step 6. Pour the fruit into a 9″ pie plate, casserole dish, or skillet and top the fruit with 1 tablespoon of diced butter.
Step 7. Place the chilled pie dough on top of the fruit by flipping the wax paper upside down on on the fruit. 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. Next, 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 9. Sprinkle the top of the pie dough with 1 tablespoon of sugar and 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 eating.
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.
Tips and FAQ’s
- This dessert is very customizable so feel free to use different fruits. This particular recipe can be made with just peaches or you could swap out the cherries for a different kind of berry.
- You can bake this dessert in so many other baking pans, it doesn’t need to be a pie plate. Just try to make it about 9 to 10 inches around. Cake pans, casserole dishes, and skillets will all work.
- To make this dessert quicker and easier use premade pie dough and canned pie filling. If the premade dough is frozen, let it thaw first.
- Can you cut the pie dough into squares before baking? Yes, cut the squares and lay them on top of the fruit, and bake for 30 minutes then press the edges into the fruit.
- What is the difference between a pie and a pandowdy? A pandowdy has just a top crust that is cut into squares and purposely dunked in the fruit juices.
Try these other One Hot Oven fruity desserts
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 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.
Old Fashioned Classic Desserts
Here’ 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 and Cherry Pandowdy
Making the pie dough
- In a large bowl add the flour, sugar, and salt and mix together.
- Cube the cold butter and add to the flour, then cut the butter in with a pastry blender or two knives until the butter is the size of small peas.
- Add the water one tablespoon at a time, mixing with a fork until the dough comes together. As always with pie dough, if needed add extra water 1 tablespoon at a time if the dough is too dry.
- In order to move the pie dough to the pie plate it will be easier to roll the dough on a piece of wax paper. Turn the dough on the wax paper or a floured surface and roll the dough into an 11" circle, that is about 1/4" thick. Just make sure the dough will cover the pie plate. Chill the dough until ready to use.
Preparing the fruit filling
- Preheat the oven to 375° F.
- Prepare the fruit by peeling and pitting the peaches, and slicing the peaches. You will need about 5 cups of sliced peaches. Pit the cherries and cut them in half. Place the fruit in a large mixing bowl and stir in the lemon juice.
- In a small bowl mix the brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, 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. If the dough is on wax paper, just flip the wax paper over so the dough is on top of the fruit, and then carefully peel the wax paper off of the dough. Make sure the dough is centered over the pie plate.
- Tuck the dough inside the rim of the pie plate. Plate 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 is can bubble up over most of the crust.
- Sprinkle the top of the crust with sugar and return to the oven and bake for 25 minutes. The peaches and cherries 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.
First Published: June 3, 2012… Last Updated: April 9, 2021
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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.