I had a birthday!
It was lovely – C and I hiked, went to the symphony for some Stravinsky and ate a bunch of good things (like matcha verbena ice cream omg yum) and this thing! He also gave me some beautiful flowers – all around it was a wonderful birthday!
Of course, true to form, I made my own birthday dessert! No surprises there, I don’t think. I haven’t had much of a chance to bake (other than a wedding cake, which was SO fun) lately, so it felt good to get this out – I’m overdue!
Besides, I love pandowdies – they are pie’s unfussy cousin! So very easy, and so fun. Another excuse to play with your food! Cutting up the crust and flooding it with cream is my favorite part – it’s simultaneously soothing and satisfying.
I sliced and froze a bunch of peaches over the last month while they were at their peak – frozen peaches do really well in this, as long as you don’t thaw them first – which makes for even easier baking, since you just toss them in some lemon zest and a few other things and go! The only bit of this that requires more planning is the crust refrigeration, but it can be made the night before or just an hour before, so you have some flexibility.
I highly recommend this for breakfast after hiking – it’s filling and delicious without being overly heavy. Pair it with some whole milk (not like I speak from experience or anything!) and go to town. Whole grain, refined sugar free – as C said, this is no namby pamby fruit situation! We’re just into the tail end of peach season – enjoy it while it lasts!
Enjoy the rest of your week!
Swamped Peach and Blackberry Pandowdy
No namby pamby fruit here! This is a very fruit-foward dessert, so make it with the ripest, most perfect fruit you can find! Best for late summer/early autumn peaches. Whole wheat, refined sugar free goodness. Pandowdies are the unfussy cousin of pie – no bottom crust nonsense here! Yield: 1 9″ pandowdy, serves 6-8.
For the crust:
1.25 c whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 c cornmeal
1 tsp sea salt
zest of 1 lemon
9 tbsp unsalted butter, cubed into small pieces
3-5 tbsp ice water
Add whole wheat flour, cornmeal, sea salt, and lemon zest to a large bowl and stir to combine. Add in butter, toss to coat, and use your fingers or a pastry cutter to cut in the butter until a coarse mixture forms and the butter chunks are the size of peas (I prefer to use my fingers for this since I a) like the feeling of having my hands in flour and b) have greater control over butter-chunk sizing). Add ice water 1 tbsp at a time until the dough just begins to hold together when pinched between two fingers. It’ll look a little crumbly, but that’s fine.
Toss the dough out onto a clean counter or wax paper (I prefer the counter method; less fuss), and use a bench scraper to gather the dough into a rough rectangle. Using the heel of your hand, smear the last fourth of dough away from you, against the counter. Repeat until you smear all the dough (see? playing with your food!), then gather the dough back into a rectangle and repeat, smearing it all away from you. The dough should be cohesive by this point, so gather it up into a disc, wrap in plastic, and stick it in the fridge for at least an hour, or up to overnight.
For the filling:
3 c peaches, sliced*
1.5 c blackberries*
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp almond extract
1.5 tbsp arrowroot starch
juice & zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp maple syrup
egg white & 1 tbsp coconut sugar for glaze
1 egg yolk
3/4 c heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
*I used some that I had frozen earlier; if you do as well, bake them straight from frozen instead of letting them thaw beforehand
In a large bowl, combine the peaches and blackberries. Add 1 tsp vanilla, arrowroot, lemon juice, and maple, and toss to combine. Pour all this goodness into your pie plate or skillet of choice – 9″ pie plates are fine as long as they’re the deeper variety; a 10″ cast iron skillet would also work well.
Preheat the oven to 400. Roll out the dough to be roughly circular (no need to be perfect here, like I said – pandowdies are pie’s unfussy cousin), and lift the dough onto the fruit. Tuck in the edges, leaving a rim of dough between the edge of the pie dish and the fruit – I crimped mine because I’m an overachiever and I also had extra dough, but no need to do that. Make a few slits for steam to vent, brush the top with egg white and dust with coconut sugar. Pop the whole beautiful thing into the oven for 40 minutes; best if you line the rack beneath with foil or a large baking sheet – the juices runneth over!
In a liquid measuring cup with a spout, measure the cream, beat in the egg yolk and 1 tsp vanilla, and let it sit at room temp.
Once you hit the 40 minute mark, take the pandowdy out, and use a sharp knife to break up the crust, thus ‘dowdy-ing’ its looks (now begins the really fun part). Carefully pour the cream into the new breaks in the crust, filling each – some of the cream will pool under the crust, and some will sneak out on top, which is fine. Just be careful not to drown the whole crust! Go slow, and fill each vent/break. Stick the pandowdy back in the oven, and bake for another 10 minutes, until the cream is just set and barely jiggles in the center. Let cool completely before serving; it will be gloriously juicy and delicious so might I suggest serving it in bowls? Ice cream is… optional, sort of, if you’re out of cream; otherwise, this can be served even swampier with extra cream poured over the top. You do you!
Store any leftovers (who are you) covered in the fridge, but make sure to save some for breakfast. You’ll thank me later!