Easy Apple Pandowdy

This Easy Apple Pandowdy recipe is made with the yummiest baked apple pie filling topped with toasted puff pastry bites and a light dusting of powdered sugar.  All of the great flavors of apple pie…without all of the work required to make a pie! To all of my fellow apple pie lovers out there…have you […]

This Easy Apple Pandowdy recipe is made with the yummiest baked apple pie filling topped with toasted puff pastry bites and a light dusting of powdered sugar.  All of the great flavors of apple pie…without all of the work required to make a pie!

Apple Pandowdy with Puff Pastry

To all of my fellow apple pie lovers out there…have you ever tried making apple pandowdy? ♡

I first heard about this old-fashioned dish, which is said to have originated in the Pennsylvania Dutch tradition, years ago from Martha Stewart.  And I was immediately intrigued because it was basically everything I love about apple pie…without all of the work of having to assemble a pie!

Details about the exact heritage of this dish seem to be a little fuzzy.  But from everything I’ve read, apple pandowdy is traditionally a dessert made in a baking dish (or cast-iron skillet) with a cinnamon apple filling sprinkled with a layer of overlapping bite-sized pieces of pie dough.  Together, everything bakes up in the oven to toasty, bubbly, sweet perfection.  Then once the dish is pulled out from the oven, you take a spoon and briefly press the topping down gently into the filling so that it can soak up some of those hot apple juices, and finally, serve the pandowdy nice and warm with a generous scoop of cold vanilla ice cream.

It’s all exactly as delicious as you would imagine.  And so much quicker and easier to make than apple pie!  So since I figure we could all use some easy shortcuts for our lower-key holiday season this year, this seemed like the perfect time to bring this old-fashioned dish back to the future.

We have loved making this dish with homemade (or store-bought) pie crust in our house over the years.  But I actually recently saw a fun version from Bon Appetit that used fluffy puff pastry as an apple pandowdy topping, and have to say that we’ve loved it even more than the original!  Granted, I have made a few tweaks to their recipe to make it a bit quicker and easier.  And I’ve also been on a big vanilla chai kick this winter, so I’ve added a few extra chai-inspired spices to the apple filling to make it extra-special too.

So without further ado, I wanted to pop in today before Thanksgiving and share the apple pandowdy recipe that we’ve been loving lately.  If you love apple pie as much as I do, I think you’re going to love it!

Apple Pie Filling Ingredients In Bowl

Apple Pandowdy Ingredients:

Before we get to the full recipe below, here are a few notes about the ingredients you will need to make this apple pandowdy:

  • Store-bought puff pastry: One package of store-bought frozen puff pastry, which we will let thaw on the countertop while the apple filling is prepared so that it becomes a bit more soft and pliable.  (That said, if you live in a country outside of the USA where puff pastry is sold refrigerated instead of frozen, no need to let the package thaw — you can just unfold and cut it immediately after removing it from the fridge.)
  • Apples: I used Granny Smith apples, whose tart flavor and firm texture I love in apple pie filling.  But feel free to use any type of apples that you prefer — peeled or unpeeled, cut into either 1/2-inch-thick slices or chunks.
  • Lemon: We will toss both the zest and juice of 1 lemon with the apple, which will add a hint of tartness to the filling and help prevent the apples from browning.
  • Brown sugar: Or you are welcome to use any other type of sugar or sweetener that you prefer.
  • Melted butter: Half of which we will mix into the apple pie filling, and half of which we will brush over the puff pastry.
  • Flour: To thicken the apple filling a bit.
  • Warming spices: I used a chai-inspired blend of warming spices for the apple filling, including ground cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves, nutmeg (plus some fine sea salt).  But if you don’t have all of these spices on hand, you can keep things simple with just cinnamon and cardamom.  Or you could also use pre-made apple pie spice (or pumpkin pie spice) for the apple filling instead, if you prefer.
  • Vanilla extract: To compliment all of those delicious warming spices in the apple pie filling.
  • Powdered sugar: To dust on top of the pandowdy before serving.

Layering Puff Pastry on Apple Pie Filling (more…)

Strawberry Hand Pies

Strawberry Hand Pies

Strawberries are in season and the ones I’ve had this year taste better than ever. I’ve been eating them on my cereal and churning them into ice cream, as well as making classics like strawberry shortcake. Strawberries are often incorporated into dishes where they don’t have to be cooked, since the juicy …

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Strawberry Hand Pies

Strawberries are in season and the ones I’ve had this year taste better than ever. I’ve been eating them on my cereal and churning them into ice cream, as well as making classics like strawberry shortcake. Strawberries are often incorporated into dishes where they don’t have to be cooked, since the juicy berries give off a lot of liquid and tend to lose their shape and jewel-like color when baked, but even though their look changes, strawberries become even deeper in flavor when cooked, so you shouldn’t hesitate to try baking with them this summer.

These Strawberry Hand Pies have a very simple filling that uses up lots of fresh strawberries. Unlike my Fresh Strawberry Pie, this filling is cooked before the pies are assembled. The cooked berries are tender and very flavorful, surrounded by a lightly sweetened sauce that is made with juice from the berries. Combined with the buttery pastry, this is one pie that it is hard to pass up! As an added bonus, they’re also very easy to make and take far less time than most full-sized pies, as both the assembly time and baking time are much shorter. These are a huge hit at summer gatherings at my house, where everyone can simply grab a pie off of a plate and eat them out of hand while enjoying a warm summer evening.

Strawberry Hand Pies

You may have a little bit of the strawberry filling mixture left over after making your hand pies. I make a little extra because I would rather have a spoonful or two more than I need than to run out. You could use it up by making slightly smaller pies and squeezing an extra one out of the dough if you are set on using it in a pie. If not, it can be spooned over ice cream, waffles or pancakes to make a perfectly summery topping. It can also be eaten with a spoon.

The pies are at their very best on the day that they are baked, though the pastry should remain fairly crisp for a day or two after baking. The pies can be warmed up in the oven if you want to recreate that fresh-from-the-oven feeling. Since this recipe makes a fairly small batch, it is worth noting that it can be doubled or tripled if you want to make enough to serve a crowd. If you are going to make more than that, you’ll probably have to increase the cornstarch slightly just to ensure that you can soak up all that extra strawberry juice!

Strawberry Hand Pies
1 1/2 cups diced strawberries
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbsp cornstarch
dough for one 9-inch pie crust
cream or milk, for topping
coarse sugar, for topping

In a medium bowl, toss together strawberries, sugar, salt and cornstarch. Transfer mixture to a large skillet and cook, over medium heat, until strawberries are tender and the strawberry juice/sauce has thickened. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pie dough into a large square (10×10-inches) or a rectangle (5×20-inches). Divide dough into five even (5×5-inch) squares. Transfer squares of pastry onto the prepared baking sheet.
Spoon about 2 1/2 tablespoons of strawberries onto half of each square of pastry, then fold the extra pastry up and over the filling. Pinch the edges together firmly and crimp with a fork.
Use the tip of a sharp knife to cut 2-3 vents in the top of each pie. Brush pies with milk/cream and sprinkle generously with coarse sugar.
Bake for 20-24 minutes, until pies are golden brown and strawberry juice is bubbling through the vents on top of the pies.

Makes 4.

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Pecan Pie (No Corn Syrup!)

This homemade pecan pie recipe is naturally sweetened (no corn syrup!), easy to make, and so comforting and delicious! Alright, so the million dollar Thanksgiving question — which pie do you choose?  ♡ I’m a lifetime member of Team Pumpkin myself, and have already been counting down the days until I get to make this […]

This homemade pecan pie recipe is naturally sweetened (no corn syrup!), easy to make, and so comforting and delicious!

Pecan Pie (No Corn Syrup)

Alright, so the million dollar Thanksgiving question — which pie do you choose?  ♡

I’m a lifetime member of Team Pumpkin myself, and have already been counting down the days until I get to make this naturally-sweetened pumpkin pie recipe again for our big Thanksgiving fiesta here next week.  But my husband is one thousand percent on Team Pecan, and as such, he has already made sure that our pantry is well stocked for at least a few homemade pecan pies this holiday season.  (We usually have to make an extra pie on Thanksgiving just so he can be sure to have some leftovers!)

The thing is that neither of us really want to be cooking with corn syrup nowadays, which has always traditionally been used to sweeten pecan pies.  So for the past few years, we have been trying out some of the internet’s most popular naturally-sweetened pecan pie recipes.  And after a few trials (and a few “whelming” fails, as Barclay calls them), I think that we have finally landed on our new family favorite pecan pie recipe.  It’s our twist on the maple pecan pie recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction, and we absolutely love it.

First off, we love this pecan pie because it is indeed corn-syrup-free and naturally sweetened instead with a combination of pure maple syrup and coconut sugar (or you can use brown sugar, if you prefer).  It’s also delightfully full of pecans, since we prefer a dense nutty filling, versus just a thin layer of nuts floating on top.  We also added in plenty of butter and vanilla and a hint of cinnamon to our filling, as my grandma always used to do with her classic pecan pie recipe.  But then we took things a step further and also added in a generous (yet optional) splash of bourbon, whose flavor kicks this pie up a mega notch and pairs perfectly with the toasted pecans.  So good.

I also used my favorite homemade pie crust in this recipe, but you’re welcome to sub in a gluten-free pie crust if you would like this pie to be completely gluten-free.  And if you’re interested in more of a chocolate pecan pie, I’ve included an option below for how to also add in some chocolate chips too.

Basically, this pecan pie recipe is everything we love about the classic — just modernized with some more natural ingredients, with all of those good flavors amped up a bit.  The result is a total winner.  And if you or your loved ones are on Team Pecan, you should totally give it a try.

Pecan Pie Recipe

Team Pecan

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