Apple Pan Dowdy

Recipe by Julia Zampine

Apple pan dowdy (or pandowdy) is a traditional American dish which saw its heyday in the 1800s and early 1900s. A combination pie and pudding, the name comes from the method in which the recipe is completed: after an apple-based filling is baked in a crust-lined casserole, the baker takes a fork and "dowdies" the crust, breaking it into pieces which manage to remain crisp despite being partially immersed in the juicy filling. And the filling is juicy; don't be surprised when you cut into the crust and find a sea of liquid. As the dish cools, the "dowdied" crust absorbs a lot of the liquid, leaving you with an almost pudding-like confection. This comfort food classic is best served right from its baking pan.

40 mins
45 mins to 1 hr
2 hrs 30 mins
one 9" x 9" pan, 9 servings
Apple Pan Dowdy - select to zoom
Apple Pan Dowdy - select to zoom
Apple Pan Dowdy - select to zoom


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  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 9" pan.

  2. Divide the pie crust dough into two pieces, one slightly larger than the other.

  3. Roll out the larger piece to fit into bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan.

  4. To make the filling: Peel, core and slice the apples into 1/4" slices, and toss them with sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

  5. Spoon the apples into the crust.

  6. To make the topping: Mix water and boiled cider, molasses, or maple syrup, and pour over the apples. Dot with butter.

  7. Roll out the second piece of dough, and fit it over the apple mixture. Seal it to the bottom crust.

  8. To top the dowdy: Brush the top crust with milk and sprinkle with granulated sugar for a golden, crunchy crust.

  9. Bake the dowdy on the lowest oven rack for 45 minutes, then decrease the heat to 325° and continue to bake until the crust is well browned.

  10. Remove the dowdy from the oven and cool it on a rack for 5 minutes.

  11. After 5 minutes, take a knife and slash, in a random pattern, all the way through the dowdy.

  12. With a fork and spoon, gently lift pieces of crust from the bottom, and submerge pieces of the top crust; in effect, you're just really messing this whole thing up. Don't get carried away; crust pieces should remain in fairly large (2" square) chunks.

  13. Let the dish cool to warm before serving; it you serve it too hot, it will be very runny.

  14. Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to five days; freeze for longer storage.