Apple Pandowdy

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Old fashioned Apple Pandowdy is an apple cobbler-like dessert with molasses sweetened apples and a buttery rich topping.

Pandowdy is something I’ve heard of for years, but had never tried. After all, with the apple crisps, homemade apple pies and even apple cobblers, how could it really be that much different?

I was wrong, and here’s why. Although this may look like an apple cobbler, it’s uniquely sweetened with molasses, giving it a deep, rich comforting flavor that is like no other dessert we’ve shared on Tastes of Lizzy T. Don’t like molasses? I’ll give you recipe variations below to make this with other sugars.

a spoonful of cinnamon fried apples with cobbler topping

About this Apple Pandowdy Recipe:

  • Flavor: You have to be ok with molasses to love this recipe, because that is the main flavor that is paired with the apples. You’ll get hints of cinnamon and have a simply sweet cake topping, but molasses is where it’s at with this apple dessert recipe.
  • Texture: The apples are soft and tender, just like in an apple crisp recipe. The cake topping is light and tender, but also has a rich flavor thanks to the butter, milk and egg.

What does apple pandowdy mean?

There are many different versions of this recipe. Some are sweetened with maple syrup or brown sugar rather than molasses. Others have a topping that is more like pie crust.

In general, it’s a vintage colonial recipe that is know for its “dowdy” appearance. (In fact sometimes it is separated and called Apple Pan Dowdy.). Whether you use pieces of pie crust baked into the apples as a skillet apple pie or top it with this cobbler-like topping, it’s not the prettiest of desserts. But don’t let that stop you from trying it. A little vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of molasses on top goes a long way.

fried apples with molasses and cobbler topping baked in a skillet

What type of apples are best for apple pandowdy?

For this recipe you’ll want to choose a tart apple that will hold up to the heat and not get mushy. I prefer Granny Smith Apples. However, Fuji or Pink Lady will also work well. These are all common apples that we have in Aldi or Walmart so you shouldn’t have a problem finding them.

How to Make Apple Pandowdy

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray a 1 ½ quart baking dish or cast iron skillet with cooking spray. We used a 9″ pie plate.
  • Arrange the sliced apples in the baking dish.
  • Sprinkle the apples with nutmeg, cinnamon and salt over the apples. Drizzle evenly with molasses.
  • Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
  • While the apples are baking, combine the flour, baking powder and sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk well.
  • Add in the melted butter, milk and whisked egg. Mix just until combined. Do not over mix.
  • After the apples have baked for 20 minutes, spoon the batter over the apples, then bake for another 20-25 minutes or until the toothpick inserted in the topping comes out clean.
apple pandowdy with ice cream and molasses

Recipe Variations

  • If you don’t like molasses, use about ¾ cup of brown sugar instead. If you choose this option, add about ⅓ cup of apple cider or juice to help create the syrup underneath.
  • For a vanilla flavor, add a teaspoon of vanilla extract to the cake part of the recipe.
  • Add any other fall flavors that you’d like such as cloves, ginger or allspice.

Storage Instructions

Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days, or refrigerate up to 5 days.

overhead view of apple pandowdy in a cast iron skillet
overhead view of apple pandowdy in a cast iron skillet

Apple Pandowdy Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Old fashioned Apple Pandowdy is an apple cobbler-like dessert with molasses sweetened apples and a buttery rich topping.
Servings 10
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients
 

For the apples:

  • 3 cups peeled, sliced and cored Granny Smith apples (4 small apples, 330 grams)
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup molasses 130 grams

For the batter:

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour 215 grams
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder aluminum free
  • ½ cup granulated sugar 100 grams
  • ½ cup salted butter 4 ounces, melted
  • ½ cup 2% milk 4 ounces
  • 1 large egg whisked

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray a 1 ½ quart baking dish or cast iron skillet with cooking spray. We used a 9" pie plate.
  • Arrange the sliced apples in the baking dish.
  • Sprinkle the apples with nutmeg, cinnamon and salt over the apples. Drizzle evenly with molasses.
  • Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
  • While the apples are baking, combine the flour, baking powder and sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk well.
  • Add in the melted butter, milk and whisked egg. Mix just until combined. Do not over mix.
  • After the apples have baked for 20 minutes, spoon the batter over the apples, then bake for another 20-25 minutes or until the toothpick inserted in the topping comes out clean.
  • Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.
  • You can serve right from the dish, or you can turn it upside down onto a platter and serve with the apples on top.

Notes

Recipe Source: The Fannie Farmer Cookbook
Refer to the article above for more tips and tricks.
The calories shown are based on the dessert being cut into 10 servings. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information. The information in the nutrition box are calculated through a program and there is room for error. If you need an accurate count, I recommend running the ingredients through your favorite nutrition calculator.**

Nutrition

Calories: 271kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 44mg | Sodium: 152mg | Potassium: 415mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 344IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 96mg | Iron: 2mg
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 271
Keyword apple dessert, old fashioned dessert

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About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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