Apple Pandowdy

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Out of all the seasons, the autumn kitchen is my personal favorite. With the warm weather a faded memory, the heat of the oven lends a new warmth. Time slows down as the sun falls lower in the sky and the shadows grow long. Weekend mornings are easily lost among the comforting spices and rich smells. The autumn kitchen carries an ease of relaxation. With the cold air settling in around us like a heavy blanket, there is nowhere to be but in our homes, as we watch the last of the leaves change and fall from the trees. 

With several pounds of apples packed away in the garage, the time was right to pull them out and put them to use. Apple desserts are one of my favorites—the sweet, bright flavor reminiscent of my Grandmother's applesauce recipe. Over the years, apples have taken many forms in my baking, including pies, muffins, and crisps. Instead of coming up with a new use this year, I took a page out of an old book and looked towards the past.

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This recipe for Apple Pandowdy dates back to the 19th century, featuring apples, both sweetened and spiced, hidden beneath a flaky pastry crust. The name pandowdy comes from the idea that the pastry is "dowdied up" over the dessert, or, in modern terms, the pastry is cut into pieces instead of being left whole which makes the appearance look "shabby" or "disheveled." 

The pandowdy is a simple, no-fuss dessert. Due to its homespun nature, it is conventionally meant to be shared by loved ones rather than to impress guests. I chose to spend time in my autumn kitchen free-handing leaves with a knife, but the true spirit of the pandowdy leans heavily toward the simple. Cutting the pastry dough into squares and throwing it over top is perfectly acceptable (and encouraged!) here. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder—the flavor will be the same no matter how you choose to pattern the pastry.

To me, the Apple Pandowdy combines the best aspects of both crisps and pies, with a heap of bright fruit and a thin layer of flaky pastry to make it feel special. 

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The Apple Pandowdy is an old fashioned autumn dessert that is generous on flavor and texture. Thinly sliced apples are combined with warm spices and brown sugar for sweetness. Pie dough is "dowdied up" over the apples and sprinkled with raw sugar before baking to add additional texture. When golden and bubbly, the pandowdy is ready to come out of the oven. Serve warm with a drizzle of caramel or vanilla ice cream, or serve cold with fork straight from the refrigerator (which is especially delightful during breakfast).

One Year Ago: Maple Glazed Pumpkin Scones
Two Years Ago: Pumpkin Espresso Bundt Cake 
Three Years Ago: Pumpkin Molasses Bread, Vegan Caramel, & Rustic Apple Tart
Four Years Ago:  Classic Apple Pie, Butternut Squash Biscuits, & Apple Crisp
Five Years Ago: Apple Cinnamon Scones, Pear Crisp, Pumpkin Rolls, Butternut Squash Cake, & Baked Apples
Six Years Ago: Oatmeal Raisin Crisps, Red Wine Chocolate Cake, Pear Spice Cake, Pumpkin Latte Cheesecake, & Apple Cake
Seven Years Ago: Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes, Butternut Squash Custard, Pumpkin Bread Pudding, & Apple Almond Tart

Apple Pandowdy

Yields 8-10 servings

3 lbs (1.4 kg) apples, peeled, cored, & thinly sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup (100 grams) brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon boiled cider (optional)
Single Pie Crust Recipe, chilled
Egg wash (1 large egg + 1 tablespoon water, whisked)
1 tablespoons raw or demerara sugar

In a medium bowl, coat the apple slices with lemon juice to prevent browning. Add the brown sugar, flour, spices, salt and boiled cider and toss over the apples until they are evenly coated. Place into 9-inch pie pan.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the single pie dough round until 1/8-inch thick. To create a patterned top, use cookie cutters to cut out shapes, use a knife to cut dough into squares, or freehand a unique design out of the dough.  Place the dough pieces over evenly over the top of the apples.

Brush the exposed dough with egg wash and sprinkle evenly with raw sugar. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to chill.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the apples are bubbling. If the edges begin to darken too quickly, cover the pastry with aluminum foil to prevent additional browning.

Cool the pie for at least 3 hours before slicing to allow the juices to set. Drizzle each slice with 1-2 tablespoons of warm caramel sauce before serving or serve with a side of vanilla ice cream.

*To create a vegan version of the pie, use a dairy-free margarine for the butter in the crust (I prefer Earth Balance Vegan Butter), and drizzle each slice with vegan caramel sauce.

3 Comments

Kristin Rosenau

Photographer, writer, and baker of all things sweet.

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Spiced Chocolate Swirled Bread

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The moody fog and rains of autumn have arrived. The rich colors of the leaves are dulled by the cloudy skies, producing an nontraditional landscape of beauty. I've been nestled indoors, sitting near the fireplace and curling up in knitted blankets. It's been a quiet autumn so far, with weekends and evenings spent close to home. When the sun appears, I'll head back outdoors, but for now I feel content with a book in hand and a mug of warm cider nearby. 

To bring this cozy feeling into the kitchen, I wanted to create a bread that would incorporate these comforts of the season. I kneaded together a rich dough, made with butter, milk, and egg . After rising, the dough is spread and swirled with warm spices and melted chocolate. The dough is cut, twisted, and sprinkled with raw sugar for sweetness and texture. The bread can be served for breakfast or dessert, but either time of day it is enjoyed, it will carry the warmth of the season through.

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Spiced Chocolate Swirled Bread is a sweet breakfast bread. A rich dough is rolled out and spread with brown sugar mixed with ground cinnamon and cardamom. Finely chopped chocolate is sprinkled evenly on top before the bread is rolled, cut in half, and twisted. After baking, the top of the bread is golden brown, with raw sugar to provide a crunchy texture. The bread is best served warm, either plain or with a scoop of ice cream.

One Year Ago: Roasted Fig & Almond Cake & Apple Cinnamon Muffins
Two Years Ago: Carrot Almond Muffins & Pear Almond Tart
Three Years Ago: Homemade Chocolate Hazelnut Spread, Espresso Chocolate Coffee Cake, & Boiled Cider
Four Years Ago:  Chocolate Banana Chip Cookies, Vanilla Malt Cake, Cinnamon Raisin Bread, & Apple Cinnamon Pancakes
Five Years Ago: Brown Butter Pear Muffins, Pumpkin Espresso Bread, Coconut Cookies, & Pumpkin Waffles
Six Years Ago: Chocolate Beet Cake, Zucchini Cake, Lemon Blueberry Scones, 3 Milk Coconut Cake, & Pumpkin Spice Latte
Seven Years Ago: Coconut Boba Tea, Cinnamon Chocolate Banana Bread, Maple Roasted Bananas, & Mixed Berry Crumble

Spiced Chocolate Swirled Bread

Yields 1 loaf

Dough
1/2 cup (120 ml) milk
3 tablespoons (43 grams) butter, melted
2 to 2 1/4 cups (250-280 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt

Warm milk and butter until about 100 degrees F (38 degrees C), or until slightly warm to the touch. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add 2 cups flour, sugar, egg, yeast, and salt. Fold together until the batter forms a dough. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour by the tablespoonful until it begins to form a ball. On a lightly floured surface, place the dough and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5-8 minutes. Form into a ball.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and allow the dough to rise in a warm environment until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

Filling
1/2 cup (66 grams) brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
4 tablespoons (57 grams) butter, room temperature
3 ounces (85 grams) semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 large egg, beaten
1 tablespoon raw or demerara sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, and butter until it forms a uniform spread. Set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to approximately an 11 x 15-inch rectangle. Using an offset spatula, spread the brown sugar mixture uniformly on the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge. Sprinkle the finely chopped chocolate evenly over the mixture. Starting lengthwise, roll the dough until coiled. 

Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the coil in half lengthwise and face the inside upwards. Pinch together one end of the dough and twist the two long strands, facing the cut side upwards at all times. Pinch together the remaining end. Form the dough into a circular shape. Transfer the circle to a lightly greased cast-iron pan or 9-inch round cake pan. Brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle the raw sugar evenly over the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until dark brown and fragrant.

Run a knife around the outside of the pan and allow to rest for 15-20 minutes before serving.

12 Comments

Kristin Rosenau

Photographer, writer, and baker of all things sweet.

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Plum Almond Tart

In the midst of the chaos that accompanies the beginning of the school year, my mind has been absent from the kitchen, fixating on my new students and lesson plans instead. These early school days can be long and exhausting, as we all look for a new footing and gradually settle into a routine, developing the new rhythm of another year.

Knowing of the movement on the horizon, on the final day of summer vacation I made it a point to spend a slow afternoon in my favorite location—the kitchen. Since plums have been especially sweet this year, I wanted to make the fruit the feature of my next pastry. With this tart, I consider the goal accomplished. The bright flavor of the plums stand out, complemented by a buttery crust and a sweet, rich almond filling. It was difficult to keep my fork away for longer than a few hours, as I pilfered bites between meals.

While eating another rushed meal from a box for dinner this evening, my mind drifted back to the lethargic days of summer. The setting of the sun feels too early recently, the dark evenings making the summer months seem more than a couple weeks away. I sliced a plum for dessert, eating it while watching the sky turn orange. While I am excited for the weeks ahead, it is nice to take a moment and bring back the flavors of a simpler moment in time.

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This Plum Almond Tart allows the sweet summer fruit to shine. It begins with a buttery tart crust filled with a rich almond filling. Then, sliced ripe plums are pressed into the top before baking. In the oven, the fruit roasts and the filling toasts. The tart can be served warm or chilled, depending on personal preference. I prefer the first slice warm from the oven and the second slice chilled as I steal a few bites the next morning for breakfast.

One Year Ago: Blueberry Plum Pie & Fig Oatmeal Bars
Two Years Ago: Olive Oil Pound Cake, Iced Matcha Coconut Latte, & Blueberry Honey Scones
Three Years Ago: Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies & Citrus Zucchini Muffins
Four Years Ago:  Nutella Espresso Rolls, Brownie Cookies, Cookie Dough Cake, & Honeyed Apricot Granola Bars
Five Years Ago: Almond Butter Cupcakes, Berry Pavlova, Mango Striped Popsicles, French Silk Pie, Blackberry Coffee Cake, & Blueberry Cupcakes
Six Years Ago: Cherry Almond Muffins, Plum Clafouti, Banana Cake, S'mores Pie, & Malted Chocolate Cupcakes
Seven Years Ago: Chocolate Prune Cake, Wild Blueberry Muffins, Chocolate Pear Cake, & Strawberry Shortcake

Plum Almond Tart

Yields 9-inch tart (8 to 12 servings)

Tart Dough
1 1/4 cups (150 grams) all purpose flour
1/3 cup (66 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (113 grams) butter, cold
1 large egg, lightly whisked
1 teaspoon vanilla

Filling
3 tablespoons (50 grams) butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups (160 grams) almond flour
3/4 pound (340 grams) ripe plums, cored and sliced

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Cube the butter and add it to the dry ingredients by rubbing it between your fingers until the dough resembles coarse sand. Add the lightly whisked egg and vanilla extract, folding the mixture until the dough comes together with a uniform appearance.

Form dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes, or until cold.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Line a 9-inch tart pan with parchment.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 12-inch circle. Transfer into the tart pan and trim the edges. To blind bake, line the inside of the dough with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans to help the dough keep its shape while baking (alternatively, you can also poke the bottom of the pan with a fork several dozen times). Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Remove weights and parchment, if necessary. Keep the oven temperature at 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, vanilla extract, almond extract, and salt. Stir in the almond flour until uniform. Spread the filling evenly into the tart shell with an offset spatula.

Place the plum slices upright in the filling and press down gently. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the almond filling is baked through and appears lightly browned. Cool to room temperature before slicing and serving.

2 Comments

Kristin Rosenau

Photographer, writer, and baker of all things sweet.

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