Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Blackberry Pandowdy

What the heck is pandowdy?  - turns out it is a very easy and rustic fruit dessert with pastry on the top.  The the word pandowdy refers to breaking up the crust half-way thru the cooking time so that the fruit bubbles up between the pieces of the crust.  You end up with pieces of crisp crust and pieces of crust submerged in the fruit - just like a pie.

Breaking up the pastry immediately caught my attention - this means the pastry does not have to be perfect!  The word 'dowdy' brings to mind something unfashionable, without style...  Warm, sweet fruit with a yummy, whole-grain pastry on top and I'm there stylish or not.

We love berry pie around here - however, I've never been able to master pie crust, so I usually get away with berry crisp and cobblers.  I came across a recipe for Strawberry Pandowdy in the latest edition of Eating Well (June 2011). 

I used blackberries and converted the original recipe to gluten-free and vegan.  Use any fruit you want or combination of fruit.  You may want to adjust the amount of sugar depending on how naturally sweet your fruit is.  (some ideas: strawberry & rhubarb, peach & blackberry with cystalized ginger, apple & maple - the sky's the limit...) 

This reminds me of one of my favorite cookbooks, Rustic Fruit Desserts by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson, which is filled with intriguing recipes for crumbles, buckles, cobblers, pandowdies, and lots more.

I shared a link to this post at Gluten-Free Wednesdays.

3/4 cup gluten free flour mix
1 teaspoon coconut palm sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoon earth balance buttery stick (or butter), cut into small pieces
2 - 3 tablespoon ice water

Berry Filling:
2 lbs fresh or frozen blackberries (about 6 cups)
1/3 cup coconut palm sugar (use less if you like your berries tart!)
3 tablespoons gluten free flour mix
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

To make the crust:  place 3/4 cup flour mix, 1 teaspoon sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine.  Add butter, 1 small piece at a time, pulsing continually.  Mixture should resemble coarse sand.  Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing until mixture begins to come together. 

(to make crust without a food processor: Mix together dry ingredients in a bowl.  Add pieces of butter and rub the into the dry ingredients with your fingers.  Stir in water 1 tablespoon at a time, until mixture begins to form a ball.)

Transfer dough to a piece of plastic wrap, wrap tightly and refrigerate for 30 minutes or so. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Meanwhile, combine all ingredients for the berry filling and place in a 8 x 8 inch baking pan.

Roll the chilled dough out between 2 sheets of plastic wrap.  I've found that this dough does not  hold together like 'normal' pie crust dough, so I just place the dough on top of the filling in pieces, large and small so I end up with a patchwork - which looks interesting and very rustic.  If you've got just one big piece of pastry, cut a few slits for steam to escape.

  Tuck any overhanging dough into the edges of the baking dish. 

You may want to have a baking tray under your pandowdy to catch any drips - depending on how full your baking dish is.  Bake for about 30 mintues.

Remove from the oven and with a small, sharp knife, cut the partially baked crust into 2 inch squares.  Using a spoon or small spatula, press about half of the dough squares into the fruit until they are partially submerged.  This is called 'dowdying'.

(Note:  if your pastry looks 'beautiful' at this point, feel free to skip the step which breaks the pastry into pieces and submerges them into the fruit.) 

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake for 30 - 40 minutes more, until the crust is browned in places and the fruit is bubbly.  Allow to cool a bit.

Double the recipe (that's what I did!) and bake in a 13 x 9 inch pan.  We had it for breakfast with yogurt.

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