Can I just say that I’ve recently discovered swamp pie, and I will never be the same again.
Sometimes, the messiest food is by far the best food, and the less-aesthetic desserts are actually the tastiest. And sometimes, they have ridiculous names and it just gets better and better!
Ugly and strange sounding, but delicious. I promise. Would I lead you wrong in the dessert department? I think not.
Let’s talk verbiage for a minute…
Best word ever. And also, hilarious (and slightly unappealing I suppose, if you’re normal… unlike me) connotations when we’re talking about food. Side note, I was Bride of Swamp Thing for Halloween one year, and I think it might be one of my more inspired costumes to date.
Typically, it’s pies that are swamped (i.e. have cream poured into them so not only are you getting pie, but you’re also getting this delicious mash up of cream and custard and pie and all the goodness, all at once), but since I’d never made a pandowdy, I decided to swamp that instead.
What a great combination of words!!! Swampy pandowdy. Which sounds potentially unappealing but I promise it isn’t.
Pandowdies are basically pie’s less fussy cousin. Or maybe they could be considered pie’s artsy, bohemian cousin who comes to visit once a year, bakes, does art things and wears colorful, ridiculous jewelry and lots of scarves and… omg that’s me! I’ve apparently found my spirit food. Or food totem? As in, if I was a food, I’d be a pandowdy. Low maintenance, boho weirdo… that sounds about right. Actually, I’d probably be a swampy pandowdy because that’s even weirder and more awesome. But, y’all like me for my weirdness, right?! So it’s fine. I’m at peace with having my spirit food be a swampy pandowdy.
Though the origin of the word is technically unknown, I’ve read the theory is that pandowdies apparently get their name from “dowdy-ing” its looks by mucking up the crust. I just enjoy playing with my food, so you’re not going to hear any complaints from this corner.
AND THEN not only that, but you get to pour a bunch of cream in there, which is an experiment in and of itself if/when you realize you don’t actually own a funnel, and careful pouring is going to have to do.
It’s fun! It’s delicious and makes great dessert and breakfast (especially breakfast). And there are great words involved…
Cherry, Peach and Raspberry Swampy Pandowdy
Refined sugar free, lightly sweet, whole grain, and perfect for the late summer stone fruit season! I’m all over the stone fruit lately… Pandowdies are like pies, only way less fussy and much more messy and fun. They’re kind of like pie’s artistic, bohemian cousin (that’ll be me, later in life… oh wait. It probably already is) – only a top crust, and you get to mess it up and play with your food! Besides that, I love love love cream, so what better excuse to eat some than to flood your pie? Swamp pies are a thing. Also, I love the name. Pandowdy crust lightly adapted from Food52, here and the swamp business is adapted also from Food52, here! I didn’t do much to the crust, the recipe was pretty much perfect as is. Yield: 1 9″ pandowdy, serves… several. 2 if you eat it for breakfast too ;)
For the crust:
- 1.25 c whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/4 c cornmeal
- 1 tsp sea salt
- zest of 1 meyer 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 cherries (mine were Bing cherries; I think Ranier would be awesome here too)
- 2 c peaches, sliced
- 1.5 c raspberries*
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp arrowroot starch
- 1 tbsp meyer lemon juice
- scant 1/4 c maple syrup
- egg white & 1 tbsp coconut sugar for glaze
- 1 egg yolk
- 3/4 c heavy cream
*I used some that had been frozen; if you do as well, bake them straight from frozen instead of letting them thaw beforehand
In a large bowl, combine the cherries, peaches and raspberries. Add 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. Once the dough has chilled, roll it out 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 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!