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A recent episode of America’s Test Kitchen featured an apple pandowdy recipe and Chris Kimball moaned that it was even better than apple pie. Now, I love to make pie crust, but it’s a long, cumbersome process and even the best crust will get soggy on the bottom from the juice of the apples. A pandowdy is essentially a top crust only pie. This avoids the soggy crust problem and allows for the apples to be cooked in a skillet, which speeds up the whole process. The recipe was relatively quick; it took 2 hours from start to finish. It was also quite easy. The pandowdy came out golden brown and delicious with flaky crust and soft apple underneath. The best part was the sauce that was created with the maple syrup, apple cider and the apple’s natural juices. A scoop of Christina’s Kaluha ice cream was a perfect accompaniment.

 

The big test? R declared it better than apple pie too.

Serves 6 to 8.   Published September 1, 2008. From Cook's Illustrated.

If your skillet is not heatproof, precook the apples and stir in the cider mixture as instructed, then transfer the apples to a 13- by 9-inch baking dish. Roll out the dough to a 13- by 9-inch rectangle and bake it as instructed. If you do not have apple cider, reduced apple juice may be used as a substitute—simmer 1 cup apple juice in a small saucepan over medium heat until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 10 minutes). Serve the pie warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Use a combination of sweet, crisp apples such as Golden Delicious and firm, tart apples such as Cortland or Empire.

Ingredients

Crust
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (5 ounces), plus more for dusting work surface
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening , chilled
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter , cut into 1/4-inch pieces
3–4 tablespoons ice water
Filling
1/2 cup apple cider (see note)
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/2 pounds sweet apples and tart apples (about 5 medium), peeled, cored, halved, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges (see note)
 
1 egg white , lightly beaten
2 teaspoons sugar

Instructions

  1. 1. FOR THE CRUST: Pulse flour, sugar, and salt in food processor until combined. Add shortening and process until mixture has texture of coarse sand, about ten 1-second pulses. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture and process until mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse crumbs, with butter bits no larger than small peas, about ten 1-second pulses. Transfer mixture to medium bowl.

  2. 2. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons ice water over mixture. With blade of rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix. Press down on dough with broad side of spatula until dough sticks together, adding up to 1 tablespoon more ice water if dough does not come together. Turn dough out onto sheet of plastic wrap and flatten into 4-inch disk. Wrap dough and refrigerate 30 minutes, or up to 2 days, before rolling out. (If dough is refrigerated longer than 1 hour, let stand at room temperature until malleable.)

  3. 3. FOR THE FILLING: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (between 7 and 9 inches from heating element) and heat oven to 500 degrees. Whisk cider, syrup, lemon juice, cornstarch, and cinnamon (if using) together in medium bowl until smooth. Heat butter in 12-inch heatproof skillet over medium-high heat. When foaming subsides, add apples and cook, stirring 2 or 3 times until apples begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes. (Do not fully cook apples.) Remove pan from heat, add cider mixture, and gently stir until apples are well coated. Set aside to cool slightly.

  4. 4. TO ASSEMBLE AND BAKE: Roll out dough on lightly floured work surface, or between 2 large sheets of plastic wrap, to 11-inch circle. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll over apple filling. Brush dough with egg white and sprinkle with sugar. With sharp knife, gently cut dough into 6 pieces by making 1 vertical cut followed by 2 evenly spaced horizontal cuts (perpendicular to first cut). Bake until apples are tender and crust is a deep golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes; serve.

.

I still had many apples left over and so I decided to make a baked apple pancake. This recipe is from Bon Appétit. I did modify it slightly; I used my trusty 12-inch All Clad fry pan instead of a pyrex dish. It was the same technique as the pandowdy; I sautéed the apples, pour the batter in and then baked it. It puffed up like a soufflé and was light and fluffy.

 

These will be great recipes for fall, when you have a zillion apples from apple picking.

This breakfast treat rises like Yorkshire pudding and has the texture of a classic baked pancake. Sprinkle powdered sugar over the pancake after it's baked, if you like.

Yield: Makes 4 servings
 ingredients
1 cup whole milk
4 large eggs
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup all purpose flour
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
12 ounces Golden Delicious apples (about 2), peeled, cored, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar
Powdered sugar (optional)  preparation

Preheat oven to 425°F. Whisk milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon in large bowl until well blended. Add flour and whisk until batter is smooth. Place butter in 13x9-inch glass baking dish. Place dish in oven until butter melts, about 5 minutes. Remove dish from oven. Place apple slices in overlapping rows atop melted butter in baking dish. Return to oven and bake until apples begin to soften slightly and butter is bubbling and beginning to brown around edges of dish, about 10 minutes.

Pour batter over apples in dish and sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake pancake until puffed and brown, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired. Serve warm.

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