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Apple Pandowdy - A Family Feast

Apple Pandowdy is an old-fashioned, incredibly delicious dessert from New England dating back to the 1800’s.

It’s a cross between an apple pie and an apple crisp – a baked apple filling is cooked down under an extremely flaky crust. But midway through the baking process, the crust is “dowdied” – broken into pieces, then partially pushed down into the apple filling. The unsubmerged crust pieces stay crispy and golden to top, while the portion that gets pushed down into the filling absorbs some of the liquid and creates a soft, gooey apple pudding.

Apple Pandowdy - A Family Feast

The Apple Pandowdy (sometimes also spelled pan dowdy) is very rustic in appearance – but has an amazing flavor unlike any other apple dessert I’ve had before! The apple filling has many classic flavors such as cinnamon, cloves, and lemon – but this vintage recipe is sweetened with maple syrup and seasoned with a some freshly ground black pepper as well as salt pork that is rendered down along with the apples.

This Apple Pandowdy has a rich, sweet but also slightly savory flavor that is very unique and absolutely addictive!

Apple Pandowdy - A Family Feast

Served still warm from the oven, right from the baking pan – simply drizzle it with some maple syrup-flavored heavy cream before eating. Talk about heaven on a dessert plate!

Apple Pandowdy is a great addition to your Thanksgiving dessert table – or any time of the year when you want a deliciously different dessert.

Adapted from American Home Cooking (Affiliate Link)

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Apple Pandowdy

  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings


Extremely Flaky Pie Crust

  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter cut into small pieces; well chilled (or frozen)
  • 4 tablespoons lard, well chilled (we found lard at Walmart)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, well chilled
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water, divided


  • 2 ½ pound baking apples such as Courtland, Granny Smith or Jonathan
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch or two of ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup real maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons finely minced salt pork
  • Heavy cream, for serving
  • Maple syrup, for serving


  1. Make the crust by adding the flour and salt to a food processor and pulse to combine.
  2. Add the cold butter cubes and pulse just to coat them in the flour.
  3. Add lard and again, pulse just a few times.
  4. Add shortening and again pulse a few times.
  5. Add two tablespoons of the ice water and pulse to make a dry dough until it just starts to hold together.
  6. Pour out onto a lightly floured work surface and add remaining water a little bit at a time and mix with your hands. As soon as it stays together, flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate 30 minutes or longer. (I made this a day in advance).
  7. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  8. Butter a 9X9 baking pan and set aside.
  9. Peel and core apples and slice into thick slices. Place in a bowl add lemon juice as you go so they do not brown.
  10. Add cinnamon, black pepper, cloves and flour and toss to combine.
  11. Pour apples into prepared baking pan and drizzle the maple syrup.
  12. Finally sprinkle the raw minced salt pork over the top.
  13. Take the dough from the refrigerator and open the plastic but leave the dough sitting on the plastic.
  14. Flour your hands or a rolling pin and flatten dough to 10X10 square.
  15. Lift the plastic and invert it over the apples and press the edges down into the pan. Don’t worry about it looking neat.
  16. Bake for 45 minutes.
  17. Remove from oven and with a spoon, break the crust up and push some of it down into the filling and bake for 15 more minutes.
  18. While the pandowdy is baking, drizzle a little maple syrup into some heavy cream to sweeten it and to serve, spoon the warm pandowdy into a bowl or plate and drizzle the top with the sweetened cream.

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Apple Pandowdy - A vintage New England recipe, this apple dessert has a rich, sweet and very distinctive flavor!

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  • Margaret L Wright wrote:

    Would anyone know what is referred to as an “apple cut”? Someone (I think my aunt) wrote such a recipe on the inside back cover of the Farm Journal’s Country Cookbook, copyright 1959. “Betty’s Apple Cut” – a list of ingredients (starting with 5 cups of flour) & no instructions on how to proceed – there are no other handwritten entries or annotations in this well-worn paperback. Thank you – Margaret Wright

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Margaret – I’m sorry – neither Jack nor I have heard of such a recipe. But hopefully someone will see your question here and know the rest of the recipe! (Keep us posted if you learn more!)

  • Laurie wrote:

    I had several Great Aunts from Maine who made it with the salt pork in it – although their brothers would tease them it was a dish cloth!

    Glad to find this…and will make it for a family gathering over the holiday!!

    • Martha wrote:

      LOL – the salt pork is for sure a unique ingredient (but it adds great flavor)! Hope you enjoy the recipe Laurie!

  • Lynn wrote:

    The apple pan dowdy sounds delicious but I can’t eat pork products such as lard and salt pork.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Lynn – You can feel free to leave the salt pork out!

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