Gingered pear pandowdy
Pandowdy is sliced fruit baked with sugar and spices, in a deep dish or skillet, with a thick, crumbly top crust.
On Sunday morning I lay in bed, warm and relaxed. Half awake, or maybe half asleep, I was thinking about how much I love the end of daylight savings. A whole extra hour. How should I use it? Maybe I would stay right there and spend it luxuriating in sleepy dreams and fancies. Why, I mused, do we have to stop with just one hour? What if we could fall back one day, or one year instead? What if we could fall back to last Tuesday, or to 1988, or even further? What could we do with the extra time, with the opportunity for a do-over? Daylight savings is sort of the every-man’s time machine, although we only travel an hour backwards or forwards in time.Skip to next paragraph
The Rowdy Chowgirl
Christina Masters is a Seattle-based food blogger. As The Rowdy Chowgirl, she writes about recipes, gardening, restaurants, food ethics, feeding the hungry, and more. She believes that food is never just food – it is always part of a larger story that includes context, community and connections. An enthusiastic home cook, she favors local, seasonal ingredients prepared in simple, flavorful ways
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It’s funny how just one more hour is enough to stretch out the day until it feels infinite in its possibilities. I surely spent that surplus hour sleeping in, then again eating pancakes, and once more playing with the new kitten, and still by afternoon there seemed to be plenty of time to create a dessert for the Amazing Race dinner party that night.
The weekend before, I had picked up some beautiful Bartlett pears at the farmer’s market. These sat ripening to mellow perfection all week, just waiting to be transformed into dessert. I hadn’t yet decided what form this dessert should take. Ever since I set forth on my dessert initiative at the beginning of 2010, I have been turning to Rustic Fruit Desserts by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson for inspiration. And this trusty cookbook did not let me down this time.
However, I tinkered so liberally with their Gingered Pear and Raspberry Pandowdy recipe that it was scarcely recognizable in the end. I eliminated the raspberries all together, substituted brown sugar for white, and whole wheat pastry flour for all-purpose flour. The original recipe called for cornstarch, but I don’t like cornstarch much, and used all-purpose flour in the fruit filling. And so on, tweaking and nudging until I had the dessert I was looking for.
What is a Pandowdy, you may ask? Basically, it is sliced fruit baked with sugar and spices, in a deep dish or skillet, with a thick, crumbly top crust. It is not to be confused with a pie, which would require some special talent or skill at making a fine flaky crust. Rather, it is a hearty, wholesome, simple dessert.
The pandowdy was a snap to make – little more than slicing and stirring was required. And when the cast-iron skillet came out of the oven, all brown and nubbly with thick syrup bubbling up here and there, the scent of pears and sugar was well-nigh irresistible.
We scooped out portions into bowls with a big spoon, and topped them with ice cream. The pears had gone silky soft in the caramel-brown syrup made from their own juices. The crust was bumpy and humble, tender and crisp and shot through with bits of candied ginger.