I'd never heard of a pandowdy before, but when I saw this recipe (through Tastespotting), I knew I had to try it. Pandowdy seems to be in the category of old-fashioned, baked fruit desserts like cobblers, crisps, crumbles, grunts, and slumps. Kind of an unfortunate name for fruit and pie "glop" covered with a top crust. I'm not sure why rolling out a bottom crust is particularly difficult, but I loved the thickness of the top crust, the ease and aesthetic of using cookie cutters to make a shingle-style design, and the fact that the leftovers don't get soggy because of the missing bottom crust. Josh liked it, but he was of the opinion that you should just make two-crust pie and call it a day. I thought it was delicious, particularly the crunch of the demerara sugar on the crust, and it would definitely work with a whole variety of stone fruits, berries, apples, or whatever you fancy.
A couple of notes.
1. The original recipe called for rolling the dough to 1/2" thickness, but that was way too thick for me. Without measuring, I'd say that I rolled it 1/4" thick.
2. I didn't have crystallized ginger, so I skipped it, but I think the flavors would have been complementary.
3. I used the food processor to make the dough and it came together really easily. I made it the day before and threw it in the fridge to chill. Four ounces of shortening plus 4 ounces butter seemed like too much. I only used about half the shortening. I know a lot of people (Jenn) hate shortening, but it does make pie crust flaky.
4. My peaches turned out to be not terribly sweet. I should have compensated with more sugar, but I didn't know that 'til later.
5. Just for fun, next time, I'd make 1 1/2 recipes of pie crust, roll out a thin bottom crust, and do the top crust exactly the same. To suit Josh, I'd make it with cherries. [grin]
3 cups (12.75 ounces) unsifted flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon powdered ginger (I omitted this accidentally)
1 stick cold butter, cut in cubes
4 ounces cold shortening, cut in cubes
2 tablespoons sugar
2 egg yolks
4 tablespoons ice water (or more as needed)
Place flour, salt, and ginger in the food processor and pulse a few times to mix. Add butter and shortening and pulse on and off until fat is reduced to large flakes. Sprinkle all over with sugar and pulse for 1-2 seconds to blend. In a small bowl, beat egg yolks with 4 tablespoons ice water, then pour over flour mixture, and pulse to combine until a rough dough begins to form. If it seems to dry, add a little more water a few drops at a time. Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and press together into a smooth flat round. Cut dough in half, wrap each half in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use.
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup (3.5 ounces) sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
7 large peaches, pitted, peeled, and cubed, tossed with zest of one small lemon and 2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 cup (3 ounces) crystallized ginger, diced small
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon milk/cream/half-and-half
1 tablespoon water
demerara sugar for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 400F. Whisk together cornstarch, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt. Stir together cornstarch mixture, peaches, crystallized ginger, and vanilla. Stir well to combine, then pour into a pie dish. I used a large (10" I think) dish, but a deep pie dish would work well, too.
Roll out both dough circles to about 1/4" thick on a floured surface. Use a round cookie dough to cut out as many circles as possible, and save the scraps for re-rolling and for forming a pie crust edge. Layer the dough rounds over the peach filling, overlapping them in a shingle pattern, until all the fruit is covered. Pinch the edges of the dough to the dish. (I forgot to do this, but it all worked out okay.) Roll remaining dough into a rope and lay it around the edge of the dish. Pinch the rope like you would pinch the edges of a regular pie crust, and gently push it down to join it with the dough circles. Stir milk and water together, brush it over top, and sprinkle liberally with sugar.
Place in the oven with a foil-lined baking sheet on the rack below to catch any drips. Bake 20-30 minutes until the crust browns and the fruit bubbles through. Let sit for approximately 30 minutes, then serve warm with vanilla ice cream.