I'm pretty sure I was just complaining the other day about how hot it is and how it's definitely too hot to turn on the oven. But then, a beautiful thing happened...we broke down and got ourselves a little window mount a.c. unit and immediately, life got remarkably better. INFINITELY. However, before that happened I worked it out in the heat and made this pandowdy. Gosh, I love that word. Pandowdy. Pan-dowdy. PANDOWDY!! Isn't it fun? Have you heard of pandowdy before? I hadn't until my friend Jenn casually mentioned it and then I was all over it cause...errr...pie! So what is it? Well, it's basically a deep-dish pie, without the bottom crust and it's typically spiced apple with molasses or maple syrup. And the top crust is super rich and flakey, almost like a biscuity-drop crust (but way prettier) and the whole thing is way too easy to throw together (it's dangerous when yummy things are easy to make).
When pulling this guy together, I pretty much threw most of my pandowdy knowledge out the window and went with strawberries and cardamom and no maple or molasses. I'm pretty sure it's still worthy of the pandowdy name, therefore I'm calling it a pandowdy regardless, hehe. ;) I baked it into my new favorite 8" Finex Cast Iron Skillet, so it's the perfect size for a small dinner party (think four to six people). You can absolutely double the recipe below for a larger vessel and if you've got leftover crust and filling, throw 'em into smaller guys like ramekins and such. I highly recommend you serve this up after about 20 minutes of cooling in the pan with a big ole scoop of ice cream. One thing to note is that this filling is meant to be saucier than your typical pie filling, so get excited rather than alarmed when scooping out all that yummy sauce! Finally, make sure your pan is well seasoned and don't let your pandowdy sit in the pan longer than the 20-minute cooling time. Transfer it to another dish if you've got leftovers or feel free to use a ceramic or glass dish instead. And now, pandowdy time!
- 1/2 c. + 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 1/4 c. toasted and chopped pecans
- 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tsp. ice cold water
FILLING AND ASSEMBLY
- 1 1/2 lbs. fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced in half
- 1/4 c. dark brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
- 2 1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp. heavy cream
- Turbinado sugar for sprinkling
- Mixing and glass bowls
- Measuring spoons and cups
- Food processor
- Rolling pin
- 8" skillet or deep dish pan
- Sharp knife or pastry cutter
- Small saucepan (if not using a skillet)
- Glass measuring cup
- Wooden spoon
- Plastic wrap
- Metal spatula
- Mixing bowls
- Parchment paper
- Baking sheet
- Pastry brush
- In a food processor, pulse the pecans until the consistency is a coarse meal. Then add flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon, and pulse just to combine. Add cubed butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with a few pea-size pieces remaining.
- Transfer mixture to a large bowl; drizzle with 1 1/2 Tbsp. ice water and mix with hands or a wooden spoon until mixture just comes together. Turn out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and flatten with the palm of your hand, then continue to spread out toward the edges, spreading dough to an 4 to 5-inch square. Slip your hand under the right half of the plastic wrap, and fold half of the dough over itself, lifting away the plastic. Next, repeat by folding the top half of the dough over itself. Press down on the folded dough to seal the layers and wrap in the plastic, and chill in the refrigerator for about an 1 hour.
- Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and place on a lightly floured work surface. Roll out the dough into a rectangle or square if possible until it's a thickness slightly thinner than a 1/4-inch. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 16 squares and transfer them to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Return the squares to the refrigerator, and chill again until cold, roughly 30 minutes more.
FILLING AND ASSEMBLY
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- In an 8-inch ovenproof skillet over medium heat, melt the butter; continue cooking until it turns golden brown and smells nutty, around 4 to 6 minutes, stirring often and scraping up any bits from the bottom to avoid burning. Remove pan from heat. In a medium bowl, toss strawberries, sugars, cornstarch, lemon juice, vanilla, cardamom, and salt together then add browned butter and toss again until strawberries are evenly coated.
- Transfer the strawberry mixture back to the 8" skillet or an 8" deep dish.
- Arrange chilled dough in a patchwork pattern over strawberries, allowing for some uncovered patches to let vent during baking. Quickly brush squares with heavy cream and sprinkle generously with turbinado sugar. Bake until the juices start to bubble up and the pastry is light golden brown, about 30 minutes. Place a baking sheet under the pan in case the filling boils over.
- Remove skillet/dish from oven, and place on a heat-resistant surface. Using the back of a metal spatula, press down dough so it is submerged slightly under strawberries and juices. Return pandowdy to the oven, and continue baking until the juices bubble up over the pastry, and the pastry is flaky rather than soggy, about 20 minutes minutes. Remove pandowdy from the oven, and let stand to cool 20 minutes before serving.
- Serve and enjoy!
Note: This dish is best served warm with a scoop of ice cream. If baking into skillet, don't forget to transfer from pan to a glass, ceramic, or plastic container if not consuming immediately.