I know you’re already thinking “pardon?” I love finding a recipe I’ve never heard of before! I found the original version of this in my very old and battered American cookbook and was instantly intrigued, particularly as it’s egg free and therefore easily made vegan. There wasn’t even a picture, so I had no idea what to aim for and the instructions were unlike any other I’ve followed. The word ‘Pandowdy’ is probably a nod to the pan in which you might have originally cooked this recipe. In fact, if you have a pie-sized hob-proof dish or cast iron skillet, you could do just that; make the sauce, stir in the apples, add the topping then transfer to the oven. This recipe seems utterly crackers when you’re making it, but it is very easy and all makes sense in the end! This is an apple-based pudding; the lovechild of a crumble and a cobbler. Or possibly a pie? Who knows? I’ll leave that for you to decide. My husband reckons it’s the tastiest apple puddingy-thing I’ve ever made; a compliment indeed (I think?!). I tweaked the original recipe slightly, and I am very pleased to share it here. We enjoyed it warm with a dollop of Swedish Glace vegan ice-cream.
600g apples (I used 6 large eating apples, but any would be fine here)
150g soft light or dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
125g plain flour
1/2 tsp natural vanilla extract
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
60ml/4 tbsp sunflower oil
65ml milk (I used oat milk, any is fine)
Preheat the oven to 190c/375f/gas mark 5. Peel, core and chop the apples into even little chunks and place into a buttered pie dish (any 1.5-2 litre dish works.) In a saucepan, place the sugar, spices, 1/4 tsp salt and just 3 level tablespoons of the flour.
Add the water and cook, stirring all the time, over a low heat until you have a thickened paste, as shown. It’ll only take a few minutes. Stir in 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.
Spoon the mixture evenly over the apples. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining flour, baking powder and salt. Mix together the oil and milk then pour over the flour. Stir together until you have quite a thick, muffin-like batter.
Use a teaspoon to distribute small blobs of batter over the apples. You’ll probably need to spread it out a bit with a fork, depending how wide your dish is. Don’t worry about the odd gap here and there, just try to cover the apples fairly evenly. The batter really expands and puffs up as it cooks. Place in the centre of a preheated oven for approximately 35 minutes until a deliciously golden brown colour. Leave to stand for a bit before serving warm with cream, ice cream or custard of your choice.