Apple Dowdy

Last night, blessed with an abundance of runty apples from a neighbor, we tried out a simple and delicious old-fashioned recipe that I thought worth sharing. The recipe, which can perhaps be traced back to the earliest European settlers in America, is Apple Dowdy - also known as Pan Dowdy.

Here's another excerpt The Country Kitchen, by Dora Lutes:

"To make it you peel and quarter firm tart apples, and you lay them in a deep earthen pudding dish (The dowdy would probably reconcile itself to a glass baking dish if it had to.)

You fill the dish with apple, and over this sprinkle light brown sugar, the amount depending upon the tartness of the apples, and the size of your dish. Add a slight scattering of nutmeg, a little letss of cinnamon, a dash of salt.

Now, with generous judgement, cut some slivers of butter over the whole, say about a teaspoonful to each serving. Then add half a cup of warm, not hot, water.

Make a rich baking-powder crust. (One cupful of flour, two teaspoonfuls of baking powder, two tablespoonfuls of butter, one-fourth teaspoonful of salt and half a cup of milk. Note - This will make a *very* soft dough, mine required a bit of extra flour ) Roll this out to three-fourths of an inch in thickness, cut a dido in the center - you know, a big S with eyelet holes slashed alongside - and lay the crust over the apples, pinching it to the edge.

So far, so good, but the proof of the dowdy is in the baking. It must be baked in a slow oven (300 degrees) at least three hours. When done it will be delicately brown on top, a rich fruity red on the inside, and delicious withal. Serve it as Aunt Hanner did, with thick cream slightly sweetened and flavored with nutmeg."

According to another old cookbook I consulted, after baking it should be placed where it will keep hot for one hour before serving. Another variation of the recipe, involving cider (yum!) can be found here.

Since I started ours rather late in the evening, we baked it for a mere hour-and-a-half. It probably could have baked for another half hour, but certainly not a full three hours. Next time I'll reduce the heat just slightly and extend the baking time. Catholic Culture suggests serving Apple Dowdy for St. Swithin's Day, which we missed by about a month!


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