Late Summer Recipe: Plum Pandowdy
A pandowdy flips the traditional pie on its head. Here, it’s not all about a beautiful crust. It’s about the fruit. Juicy, ripe, flavor-packed fruit picked at the very peak of its season and not a second sooner. This one is for the fruit-lovers.
It’s very possible that you’ve never heard of a pandowdy. This is a classic New England fruit dessert in the tradition of cobblers, grunts, slumps, and crisps. Ripe fruit is sliced into a baking pan and covered with a single layer of pie crust.
Partway through cooking, you do the unthinkable: you take your beautiful pie crust and slice it into large pieces. The edges sink down into the bubbling fruit filling while the middles stay afloat and crispy. You still get your delicious bits of crust, no worries there. But you also get pudding-like morsels where the pie crust absorbed the hot fruit juices and turned jammy.
Like I said, this one is for the fruit lovers. Embrace it with all its fruity goodness.
Heat the oven to 375°F.
Slice the plums into bite-sized chunks over a mixing bowl to catch the juices. Mix in the brown sugar, spices, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt. Taste and add more spices if desired. Stir in the flour.
Pour the plums into the bottom of a cast-iron skillet, 8x8 baking dish, or 9" deep-dish pie pan. Roll out the pie crust and settle it over the fruit. Tuck the edges into the pan around the fruit. Melt the butter, brush it over the pie crust, and sprinkle generously with cinnamon and sugar. Poke a few holes in the crust to allow steam to escape.
Bake for 30 minutes. Use a sharp knife to "dowdy" the crust into several large pieces. Bake for another 20-30 minutes, until the crust is golden and the fruit juices are bubbling up through the crust. Allow to cool for about 20 minutes before serving.
Unlike a pie, this fruit-filling will still be very loose and liquidy even when fully cool. Spoon it into serving bowls and top with a scoop of ice cream. Leftovers become even more pudding-like and make a dandy breakfast or afternoon snack. Keep refrigerated for up to a week.
(Images: Emma Christensen)