Apple Pan Dowdy, Yes That’s a Real Dessert

If you don’t have quite enough apples for a pie you can make this quick and delish apple pan dowdy. It sounds very old fashioned and I think it is just that: old school yummy.  I believe the name comes from the messy way you create the final look; turning the crust under the hot fruit and baking again so that crust get finished as it soaks in the juices and your dessert becomes a bit more like an apple crisp than a pie. I believe my recipe came originally from a very old Betty Crocker cookbook.  I have adapted it to make it gluten free. Its one of my favorite quick fruit desserts for cold winter nights.

Dowdy means not very pretty, drab and this is a bit of a hot mess in its looks but the flavor is spicy, fruity and far more exciting than a plain apple pie. I think it has spoiled me from apple pie. Definitely worth a try.

I have made it with golden raisins, regular raisins or currents which are tiny raisins. All work great.

Please use a firm baking apple that will hold its shape for a decently long bake. I used yellow delicious this time. I have used a number of different baking apples for this; Rome, Braeburn work fine; just don’t use red delicious which is an eating only variety. Green granny smiths tend to be a bit too firm for this recipe while Empire apples get a bit too squishy and applesauce like. Most any other type of apple will do.

This might be my second favorite apple dessert; after that apple galette I made a few weeks ago; easy, low sugar and oh so delightfully spicy.

apple pan dowdy

Messy but oh so tasty!

Apple Pan Dowdy

Crust:

1 c plus 2 Tbsp. brown rice flour mix (at bottom of recipe)

2 Tbsp. sweet rice flour

1 Tbps. granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbps. cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 lg egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

Butter the inside of a glass baking dish: I used a 9 inch glass pie pan.

Mix dry ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer.  Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal.  Add egg and juice.  Mix until it comes together into big chunks.  Shape into a ball with your hands. Put it on a crust sized piece of wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of wax paper and chill it all in your fridge 15-20 minutes while you prepare the filling.

Filling:

1/3 cup golden or regular raisins

2 Tbsp. peach schnapps

5-6 large Golden Delicious apples

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup sugar

Heaping ½ tsp. cinnamon

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

Sprinkle ground cloves

1 tsp. lemon zest if you like

1 -2 tsp. softened butter

Directions: Put raisins in a small glass dish, add schnaps, microwave one minute on high. Let stand so the booze soaks into the raisins. Peel apples, cut in quarters, remove cores, cut each quarter into 4 or 5 slices. Place in a large mixing bowl, sprinkle with lemon juice.  Mix the dry ingredients in a cup; pour over the slices, toss with a big spoon; sprinkle with lemon zest if desired.

Pour the apple mixture into the glass pie pan that you had rubbed with soft butter. Get out the crust and roll it out; just slightly bigger than the top of your baking dish. Lay it on top of the apple slices and tuck in the edges so nothing hangs down over the edge.  Bake for 30 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Remove from oven, use a sharp knife to cut a cross hatch into the top (4 big cuts) so you end up with 9 pieces. Use a big serving spoon to gently tip up the crust and get it under some of the hot apples.  Don’t worry if it breaks up further or looks like a mess.  That’s part of its charm! Let bake 25 to 30 more minutes.  The crust (whatever peeks out of the messy fruit pieces) should be very lightly browned and the apples are bubbling. Let it rest a bit; don’t serve boiling hot but warm will be awesome.  Slice and top with a big dollop of vanilla ice cream, crème or yogurt if you like that sort of thing.  We ate it with ice cream and then the next time I had some plain – just my favorite way to appreciate the flavor and texture of this spicy treat. Enjoy!

Brown Rice Flour Mix (same as King Arthur basic gf blend)

2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch – not potato flour!

1/3 c tapioca flour

The crust recipe is from Annalise Roberts great cookbook, GF Baking Classics, Second Edition.

 

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Meyer Lemon Tartlets

Winter suddenly is upon us and I always look forward to all the fresh winter citrus. I was lucky enough last week to get a small shipment of fresh Meyer lemons from my brother who lives in Texas and has a tree in his back yard. He didn’t send a lot as he had somewhat of a crop failure but a box came my way when I thought none were going to be shared so I am thrilled at my horde of smallish, greenish lemons. He was heading out of the country and picked them a tad early due to his eminent departure.  They are relaxing safe in my fruit bin of the fridge and I decided to make a special dessert yesterday.

I have made plenty of full sized lemon tarts but not so much in my small 3 inch across flat bottomed tartlet pans. I have two 4 piece pans so I could make 8 at a time. I chose to make 4 yesterday and the rest today.  That way my crust for tonight is incredibly fresh so I can present them with the perfect contrast of the flaky buttery crust and the lightly sweetened but tangy lemon filling.

We ate a couple last night for dessert and I served them with full fat plain Greek yogurt from Aldi’s which has great flavor and a thick smooth texture. It is rich and still somehow light.  A better topping than ice cream which melts…unfortunate in a lemon tart and less work than making whipped cream. I suppose you could top with some spray whipped cream but I chose something healthier and I happen to love it used as a pie topper.  High end plain yogurt is also really good for this purpose; StonyField Organic Low Fat is my preferred choice.

I make my standard pie crust dough and chill before rolling out chunks of it. I didn’t make thick fancy edges; smaller edges being better for the putting of the lemon flavor as the forward taste of these tartlets. I ended up with six shells and I took the leftover crust bits and make a hand pie filled with homemade pawpaw jam. Can’t wait to try that treat!

Notes: You can make these tartlets with regular lemons that you freshly juice. You might want to up the sugar by ¼ cup if you do that.  Also, these tarts should be stored in the fridge until serving. Enjoy!

tartlet shells

lemon tartlet

Meyer Lemon Tartlets  makes six

Crust:

1 c plus 2 Tbsp. brown rice flour mix (at bottom of recipe)

2 Tbsp. sweet rice flour

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbsp. cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 large egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

Directions: Mix dry ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer.  Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal.  Add egg and juice.  Mix until it comes together into big chunks.  Shape into a ball with your hands. Put it on a crust sized piece of wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of wax paper and chill it all in your fridge 15-20 minutes.  Roll chunks of it out to thin circles and fit into tartlet pans. Mine have removable disc bottoms and I highly recommend them. Prick the bottoms with a fork to prevent puffing up and bake at 375 degrees for about 11 or 12 minutes until lightly browned. Let cool.  You need six tartlet shells as the filling is just fill six. You should have enough crust for 7: hence my hand pie.

Lemon Filling:

¾ cup sugar

2/3 cup fresh lemon juice

The zested rind of 1 and a half Meyer lemons, of just one lemon if you use regular lemons

4 large eggs

2 egg yolks (freeze whites for use later)

½ tsp. lemon extract

¼ cup butter cut into 4-6 small pieces

Directions: combine sugar, lemon juice, eggs and yolks in heavy bottomed medium sauce pan; 1 quart size works perfectly.  Heat over medium low while stirring constantly with a whisk. Heat until it thickens a lot and coats the spoon thickly.  Will take 8-10 minutes.  Do not stop stirring or it will boil and overcook! No boiling…. An instant read thermometer will be at 175 degrees. Pour into a mixing bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap and cool in fridge at least until lukewarm. It will look a lot like the filling for a lemon meringue pie but soft and almost pudding-like. Spoon into tartlets and chill at least an hour or two before serving; the tartlets should be icy cold when you plate it. Top with a spoonful of high quality Greek yogurt or freshly whipped cream and maybe a thin wedge of lemon. Enjoy!

The filling and crust are out of Annalise Roberts’ great cookbook; The Heirloom Collection. I just adapted it to small tartlet pans.  The flour is King Arthur’s basic blend or you can make it at home; see any pie recipe I have posted for the proportions of flours; easy as there are only 3 ingredients to it.

Lemon Meringue Pie Heaven

This pie is old school delicious.  This is my mom’s bastardized version of a Betty Crocker recipe and made gluten free with my favorite crust.  It has no gelatin for you gel haters! I make it with the lesser amount of sugar in the filling but you can more than double it if you are a sweet freak.  I have never met a man who didn’t love it, well…maybe one. My friend Russel doesn’t care for anything with lemons. But his wife Claire adores lemon so this pie is for her and Mom…and my brother Christopher who often requests this pie when he is in town.

lemon pie 008

If I have them, I always use Meyer lemons for this recipe.  Your pie will have a delicate flavor – so light I sometimes call it lemon cloud pie!  Don’t worry; regular lemons work just fine. It can be difficult to find Meyer lemons and pricy too.

I have never gotten my mom to admit it but I am positive she added extra egg whites to her meringue.  Her pie was towering with the white fluffy stuff unlike my nearly level pie made with just three whites.  It is up to you how impressive you want your dessert to look. But if you have company you might want to go for the big bang of a four- five egg white meringue topping for maximum wow power!

My mom added the corn syrup to replace some of the reduced sugar and because it makes the texture of this pie creamier and more delicate.  Don’t make this pie on a very humid day or the meringue will weep and bead on the top.  It will taste fine but the look will suffer from the humidity.

Store any leftover pie in the fridge. It doesn’t keep more than two days but frankly none of it ever lasts more than two days.

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Thickened cornstarch, sugar and water mix all stirred up.

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Baked pie crust.

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Mom’s Lemon Meringue Pie

Crust:

1 c plus 2 tbsp brown rice flour mix (at bottom of recipe)

2 tbsp sweet rice flour

1 Tbps. granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbps. cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 lg egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

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Spray 9 inch metal pie pan with cooking spray, dust with white rice flour.

Mix dry ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer.  Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal.  Add egg and juice.  Mix until it comes together into big chunks.  Shape into a ball with your hands. Put it on a crust sized piece of wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of wax paper and chill it all in your fridge 15-20 minutes. Then roll it out and line a 9 inch pie pan with it.  Make sure you get the middle nice and thin; this crust can be tough to get the center as thin as the edges. Prick it all over with a fork to keep it from bubbling out and bake the empty crust at 375 for 10-12 minutes until light brown.  Let cool to room temperature.

Lemon Filling:

Ingredients:

1/3 to ¾ cup sugar

1/3 plus 1 tbsp. corn starch

1 ½ cup water

3 eggs, separated; yolks for filling, save whites for meringue

3 tbsp. butter cut in small chunks

2 tsp. lemon zest

½ cup fresh lemon juice

2-3 tbsp. clear corn syrup

Directions:

Start oven heating to 400 degrees for browning the topped pie.

Mix the sugar and corn starch in a heavy bottomed medium sized saucepan.  Add the water, stirring.  Heat until it boils, stirring constantly, boil one minute, take off heat.  Beat yolks briefly in a small mixing bowl, then add the hot stuff slowly to it; half the hot mixture, stirring constantly.  Then dump it all back into the saucepan, bring to a boil, stir like a crazy person so it doesn’t scorch. Boil 1 minute at medium heat.  Remove from heat and stir in the butter. Let it melt as you stir. And then stir in the lemon juice and zest. Glug in some corn syrup. Pour the hot lemon filling into the pie crust.  Top while still hot with the meringue you just beat up. Make sure you get the meringue all the way across the top and along every single edge. No cracks, no gaps. Bake it 10-11 minutes until light brown. Cool to room temperature (avoid drafts while it cools) and then chill your masterpiece for 2-6 hours.  Slice and serve. Makes six-seven lovely slices.

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This slice is from the second day; we were in a feeding frenzy and forgot to take a picture when the pie was cut and served. It is a tad weepy from the passage of time.

Meringue topping

three egg whites (or 4-5)

¼ tsp. cream of tarter (or 1/2 tsp)

6 tbsp. granulated sugar (or 8-10 tbsp.)

Directions:

Beat the three whites and the cream of tarter until it is past the foamy stage, add the sugar half a tbsp. at a time beating on high until the whites are stiff and glossy.  This will take several minutes.

If you add one or two extra egg whites add another ¼ tsp. cream of tarter and add 2 tbsp. sugar for each extra white.

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Brown Rice Flour Mix  (same as King Arthur blend)
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour

Crunchy Tasty Cranberry Crackle Tart

Like a fruit tart and a pavlova had a baby: this is the felicitous result.  Light and delicate, making it perfect after a hearty feast.  It is really guilt free if you eat it minus any toppings like the whipped cream or ice cream.

I found this recipe on line, back before Thanksgiving, at splendidtable.com.  I loved the look and sound of it but didn’t find time to make it until Christmas Eve.  Once I tasted it; love at first bite.   I devoured it with vanilla ice cream on top at the Christmas lunch, nice flavor combination.  New Years Eve is coming up and I want to bake another, this time serving it like you do a Pavlova, with lightly sweetened real whipped cream on top. Yumm!

crackle tart 007

It is really easy to throw together.  If you are gf you can use the recipe I provide, I adapted her recipe to make it gluten tree. At holidays like Christmas Wegmans often has gf redi-made crusts. If you are a wheat eater use whatever cookie tart crust you like.  I included cinnamon in the crust and found it added a lot to the complexity of the flavors.  The crust absolutely needs to be pre-baked before you put the tart together.

I should say I seldom use fresh cranberries; I generally make a fresh relish – old family recipe – for Thanksgiving but never got it made this past November.  So I had the bag of cranberries in the fridge in the fruit bin.  Yeah, it sat there a month: I did have to pick through it (you always should) after I rinsed them and remove and squishy ones.  There are usually a few of those mixed in and they aren’t great for anyone to eat.  Let them dry. Anyway, my point is; this tart is fantastic tasting even if you aren’t a huge cranberry fan.

I used some smooth raspberry jam (what I had) but you could probably use most any jam.  Just chose one full of real fruit in a flavor you enjoy as you can definitely taste the jammy flavor mixed in with the crust and the meringue topping. I loved it with raspberry jam, a favorite flavor for me.

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Fresh out of the oven

I didn’t take a lot of pictures as I wasn’t really planning to blog this recipe but it was so tasty I had to get it out there for people to try.

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Sweet cookie crust, gf

Place the following in a stand mixer bowl and combine:

1 cup GF flour (recipe below)

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 tsp xanthan gum

½ tsp. cinnamon

Add 5 tbsp cold butter, cut into 6-7 chunks.  Mix on medium low until the butter is just crumbs blended in.

Add 1 tsp. vanilla extract and 1 tbsp water.  Blend well.

Pour the crumbs into a ten inch tart pan that was sprayed with cooking spray.  Or a glass pie pan.  Spread it up the sides.  Press gently in so it is a cohesive crust but do not press really hard or it will be like concrete when you finish baking it!

Bake at 350 degrees for 18 minutes. Set the crust on a rack to cool to room temperature.  Do not let it get more than light brown.

crackle tart 006

Just before cutting it

Brown Rice Flour Mix
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour

Filling

2 tablespoons chunky cherry, raspberry or strawberry jam

2 large egg whites, at room temperature

Pinch of fine sea salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups cranberries (if they’re frozen, don’t thaw)

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting.

When you’re ready to fill and bake the tart: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Gently spoon the jam on top of the crust and spread it evenly over the bottom, I used the back of my big spoon for this operation. In a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the egg whites with the salt at medium speed just until they are fluffy and fairly opaque. With the mixer going, add the sugar in a slow, steady stream, then keep beating on high until the whites are shiny and form definite peaks; they will look like marshmallow.  This is a meringue.

Pour the cranberries into the bowl of meringue and, using a flexible spatula or spoonula fold them into the meringue. Try to distribute the fruit evenly, but don’t mix too much– you want to keep the meringue fluffy. Spoon the meringue over the jam and spread it to the edges, making it swirly if you’d like. The jam might push up around the sides of the meringue, and that’s fine.  Don’t fret if it looks like not enough filling, it will puff up in the oven to fill the pie pan.

Bake the tart for 1 hour, at which point the top will be light beige and cracked here and there. (If you’d like more color, you can bake it a bit longer or even put it under the broiler.)  I did not go there!  Transfer the tart to a cooling rack and cool to room temperature.  I did cut it while slightly warm and we all thought that was just perfection.  If you’d like, and I do, dust the tart with confectioners’ sugar before serving. Whipped cream on top is also great.Storing: The tart is best the day it’s made, although it’s still pretty nice the next day. Leave the tart at room temperature, covering only the cut part with a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap.  I doubt you will have any the second day anyway. It is that tasty.