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Under with Cobbler Umbrella: Gingered Apple Pandowdy {SRC Rescue}

It's the first Monday of the month which means one thing: Secret Recipe Club reveal for Group A. While I was assigned - and cooked from - An Italian Cooking in the Midwest, there was some mix-up and one blogger was left without a partner. So, I stepped up to rescue the orphan.

Meet Wendy from The Weekend Gourmet. She has a ton of recipes that I want to try, including her No-Stress Lemon Panna Cotta, but I needed to cook and blog tonight to make sure she gets into the hop; so I couldn't make a recipe that requires overnight chilling. Bummer. But I have it bookmarked for another time.

Not only did this give the boys dessert mid-week - yes, they were super excited about that - but it offered me the chance to do some reading about fruit desserts. I've heard the term 'cobbler', 'crisp', 'crumble', and 'brown betty.' But if you asked me to differentiate them, I'd have to shrug my shoulders and smile. No clue.

According to What's Cooking's the (paraphrased) seems to me that the 'cobbler' is an all-encompassing term that includes some of the others. What do you make of this?

Cobbler: an American deep-dish fruit dessert or pie with a thick crust (usually a biscuit crust) and a fruit filling (such as peaches, apples, berries). Some are enclosed in the crust, others have a drop-biscuit or crumb topping.

Crisp / Crumble:  fruit mixture on the bottom with a crumb topping, which can be made with flour, nuts, bread crumbs, cookie or graham cracker crumbs, or even breakfast cereal. Crumble is the British version of the American Crisp.

Betty / Brown Betty: fruit, usually apples, baked between layers of buttered crumbs. Betty was a popular baked pudding made during colonial times in America.

Grunts / Slump: an American colonialist attempt to adapt the English steamed pudding to the primitive cooking equipment available in New England resulted in the grunt and the slump, a simple dumpling-like pudding, basically a cobbler, that was usually cooked on top of the stove.

Buckle / Crumble: a type of cake made in a single layer with berries added to the batter. It is usually made with blueberries. The topping, which is similar to a streusel, gives the dessert a buckled or crumpled appearance.

Pandowdy: a deep-dish dessert that is most commonly made with apples sweetened with molasses or brown sugar. The topping is a crumbly type of biscuit and the crust is broken up during baking and pushed down into the filling to allow the juices to come through. Sometimes the crust is on the bottom and the dessert is inverted before serving. The exact origin of the name Pandowdy is unknown, thought it might refer to the deserts plain or dowdy appearance.

Bird's Nest Pudding: a pudding containing apples whose cores have been replaced by sugar. 

Sonker: a deep-dish pie or cobbler served in many flavors including strawberry, peach, sweet potato, and cherry. I’ve also read this same dish is called zonker (or sonker) in Surry County, North Carolina. The community of Lowgap holds an annual Sonker Festival.

With all that in mind...and really because I like the word...I adapted one of Wendy's recipes to make my own...

Gingered Apple Pandowdy 
with Cinnamon Whipped Cream

Preheat oven to 350 and butter a baking dish.

7 apples, peeled and sliced
juice from 1 lemon
1/4 C ginger syrup
1 T ground cinnamon
3/4 C packed organic brown sugar
2 T flour
1 t ground nutmeg
1 T ground cinnamon
dash of ground cardamom

With a wooden spoon mix all of the apple filling ingredients until thoroughly combined and the apples are all coated with the other ingredients. Spoon the apple filling into the prepared pan and dot with 2 T butter that's been cubed.

1 C white whole wheat flour
1/2 C packed organic brown sugar
3/4 t baking powder
3 T melted butter
1 T pure vanilla extract
1 egg
1 t ground nutmeg
1 T ground cinnamon
dash of ground cardamom

Stir until all the ingredients are combined. The consistency will be between a cookie dough and cake batter. Drop dollops of the dough on top of the apples and use a spatula to spread it over the apples. Don't panic if it doesn't completely cover the apples. As the pandowdy bakes, it spreads out.

Bake the pandowdy for 40-50 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbly. 

1/2 C organic heavy cream
1 t pure vanilla extract
1/4 C ginger syrup
1 t ground cinnamon
2 T organic granulated sugar

Whip until stiff peaks form. Serve the pandowdy with a dollop of the cinnamon cream on top.

This pandowdy was delicious albeit a tad on the sweet side! But the apples cooked up perfectly without getting mushy, and the topping was pillow soft. The ginger flavor wasn't overpowering, and it paired very nicely with the cinnamon in the topping and the whipped cream. I can't wait to make this again after we go apple picking!


  1. That looks yummy! Pandowdy is just fun to say.

  2. I can almost smell that luscious ginger and all those definitions were helpful. I've discovered in the South that to some folks "cobbler" is really a deep dish pie with lattice crust (blueberry or blackberry mostly). Funny how it means different things to different families.

  3. Sally from Group D stopping by to say hello and say I was in awe about you writing up such a nice post on short notice like this!

    AWESOME JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Sally. It's so nice to see bloggers from other groups in the SRC perusing the reveal. I'll definitely stop by Group D's reveal and check out your blog, too.

  4. Kudos for stepping in to the rescue. I learned a lot here and this is my first pandowdy ever, love the ginger.

  5. so nice of you to make this so quickly! it looks fantastic. i'd love to try it :)

  6. Mmm! Thanks for the schooling on all the definitions. And for filling in for an orphan. You rock.

  7. Thank you for being such a doll and jumping to my rescue this week! Your pandowdy looks fabulous...can't wait to give it a try. Have a lovely week, my dear!!!


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