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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 hostess 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.

At a glance

one 9" x 9" pan, 9 servings


Choose your measure:

  • 2 recipes for Classic Double Pie Crust, chilled for at least an hour
  • 8 cups cleaned, large apples (7 to 8 apples)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup molasses or 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into bits


  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 9" pan.
  2. Divide 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. 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. Mix water and 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. Brush the top crust with milk and sprinkle with granulated sugar, for a brown, sugary crust.
  9. Bake on the lowest oven rack for 45 minutes, then decrease heat to 325° and continue to bake until the crust is well browned.
  10. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
  11. After 5 minutes, take a knife and slash, in a random pattern, all the way through the pan 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 fridge for up to 5 days.