Autumn is wafting out of my oven right now. More telling than the fragrance of damp leaves, bales of hay, or chrysanthemums, my kitchen heralds the season. Cinnamon, nutmeg, caramel, apples – these are Fall.
A trip to our local orchard proved too tempting for me, and I came home with twenty pounds of Honeycrisp apples. These are my absolute favorite for fresh eating, but also made a delectable apple pandowdy. An apple pandowdy is similar to a cobbler, lacking a bottom crust but boasting a thick top crust. In the old days dough was dropped on the top like a cobbler, but I wanted it to scream “Fall”, so I cut leaf and acorn shapes out of a cream cheese pie dough and sprinkled the whole thing with cinnamon sugar to give it a little crunch..
Because that just wasn’t enough (eyeroll) I added some homemade caramel sauce to the apple mixture. Somewhere along the way I emotionally stalled out at about four years old; I like to do things myself! It makes The Man crazy to watch me struggle with something that he could set to rights in a minute, but I want to do it myself! Opening a jar of caramel sauce would have been the easy way to go, of course, but…
If you choose to use jarred caramel sauce in this recipe I will totally understand. No judgements from me, honest. I just get a real kick out of making everything from scratch, which for this recipe meant homemade sauce. The recipe I’m going to give you makes about a cup of sauce, which is more than you’ll need for the pandowdy, but I’m pretty sure you’ll find a good use for the leftovers. I dipped apple slices in it, but there are so many other options besides dip. I’m going to try drizzling it over oatmeal in place of brown sugar. I’ll bet that will be wonderful, especially with toasted pecans on top.
If you’re making the caramel sauce, you’ll need to do that first so it will have a chance to cool a bit.
To make the Caramel Sauce:
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Measure the cream, slice the butter into 8 pieces, and set both aside.
In a medium size pan with a heavy bottom, put the sugar and water and turn the heat to medium-high.
Stir constantly until the sugar melts (it will go through some strange looking stages…don’t worry… and turns a molten, deep golden brown.
Add the butter and stir until melted, then remove the pan from the burner.
Stir in the cream and vanilla. This will steam a lot – you may want to use a long handled wooden spoon. Stir or whisk until the mixture comes together into a creamy sauce. It will thicken as it cools.
|Caramel Apple Pandowdy|| |
- 3 large apples, thinly sliced (approximately 6 cups)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ cup caramel sauce
- ½ cup sugar
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 1 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon milk
- 1 egg white
- cinnamon sugar
- Heat oven to 350 F.
- Prepare an 8"x8" casserole dish (2 quart) or deep-dish pie pan by greasing generously. (I use Baker's Joy)
- Place sliced apples into a large bowl and toss with the lemon juice.
- Add the caramel sauce, sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir together well and pour into pan.
- Make the pastry by combining the cream cheese, butter, flour, and milk, mixing well into a smooth dough. Gather into a ball and put on a piece of floured parchment. Turn to coat the dough with flour. Place another piece of parchment over the dough and roll out approximately ¼" thick. This will be much thicker than a normal pie crust.
- Cut into designs and place over the apple mixture.
- Mix the egg white with one teaspoon of water and brush on the pastry.
- Sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes. Let the dessert cool - it's best eaten warm, not hot.
A little scoop of vanilla ice cream takes this over the top.
Now go work off the calories by raking leaves or cleaning gutters so that I don’t get blamed if you can’t fit into your fancy duds for the office Christmas party!