Updated: Apr 15, 2021
From "The Infinite Feast: How to Host the Ones You Love—Recipes from the Big Easy . . . and Beyond" by Brian Theis, 2020 Click here for more info on my new cookbook!
Shoo fly pie, and apple pan dowdy
Makes your eyes light up, your tummy say “Howdy.”
—Sammy Gallop, 1945
This was a really yummy and juicy one, Thanksgiving 2019.
The classic tune.
Makes 8 servings
Bons Temps Rouler the New England way. PERFECT warm or room temp. More tart than sweet, it cries out for a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. A bit of effort goes into this one but if you follow the recipe carefully you will create a masterpiece of YUM. I make this in a 9-inch metal pie PAN, for after all it's called a pandowdy. The metal is also a bit better at cooking the bottom crust compared to glass.
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup lard, or vegetable shortening
10 tablespoons chilled butter, cut in small cubes
3 pounds Granny Smith apples peeled, cored, sliced in bite-size chunks (5 to 8 apples depending on
size. Keep in bowl of water as you work on them to avoid browning.)
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon arrowroot starch or cornstarch
2 tablespoons molasses
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
In large bowl, whisk together flour and salt. With fingers, break up lard or shortening into small pieces, work thoroughly into flour till sandy. Work chilled cubed butter in to flour mixture till just combined. Add 4 tablespoons and two teaspoons ice water as needed, knead together to form dough. Don't overdo it or you will lose flakiness. Divide and make two disks, one about 2 thirds of the dough and the other about 1 third, wrap in plastic, refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
Heat oven to 425°F. Butter a 9-inch metal pie pan.
Drain and dry apples with paper towels if you've held them in water. Working quickly, in a large deep skillet, over medium high heat, melt 6 tablespoons butter. Add brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, mix to combine. Add apples, lemon juice, vanilla, stir. Whisk together apple cider vinegar and starch and add. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 12 to 15 minutes till apples have softened but are not mushy. Set aside to cool.
Roll out larger portion of crust for bottom of pie to about 1/4" thick, cover bottom of pan and up the sides ending a bit over the edge. It helps to roll out between two sheets of parchment paper, with a rolling pin. It's okay if the edges look "rustic."
Pour in apple filling. If there is too much liquid, remove with soup spoon. Mixture should, however, still have a lot of the pan juices remaining. Drizzle with the molasses. Roll out remaining dough to 1/4" and cover, sealing by folding edge of the bottom crust over the edge of the top (or just smoosh them together well). Whisk the egg together with a tablespoon of water and brush top (or spread on with your fingers if you don't have a brush handy). Sprinkle egg wash with the granulated sugar. Place on a cookie sheet to catch any overflow and bake till puffed and nicely set, 15 minutes.
Reduce heat to 350°F.
With a paring knife, slice top crust into 1 to 2 inch squares and push down into filling a bit. This is your chance to do an awesome art project. It's called "dowdying!"
Bake 25 minutes more till filling is done and crust edges are tinged with gold. Rest at least one hour so the pan dowdy can fully find itself, then serve.