Cookbook author Molly Gilbert walks us through the steps of her recipe for “Apple Pandowdy”, a flavorful dessert that comes together quickly and simply with apples, supermarket puff pastry and sugar. See Gilbert’s recipe below from her latest book, “Sheet Pan Sweets”.

Apple Pandowdy


A classic American pie(ish), pan­ dowdy consists of warm, sweet fruit under a baked crust. If you love a high fruit­to­crust ratio, pandowdy is your girl. Sure, there are some who may call her frumpy, but that’s entirely by design— pressing the (store­bought! easy­ peasy!) pastry crust down into the bubbling juices midway through baking results in a downright gorgeous flavor and crispy­soft texture.

Unsalted butter or nonstick cooking spray

8 to 10 apples (I like a mix of Granny Smith and Golden Delicious), peeled, cored, and sliced into 1⁄4-inch-thick wedges

1⁄2 cup packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1⁄2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1⁄2 cup crème fraîche

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1⁄3 cup all-purpose flour

Zest of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 (17-ounce) package frozen puff pastry, thawed and sliced into 2-inch squares

1 large egg

1 teaspoon water

Turbinado sugar

Vanilla ice cream, for serving

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F with a rack in the center position. Grease a sheet pan with butter.

2. In a large bowl, toss the apples with the brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, crème fraîche, vanilla, salt, flour, lemon zest, and lemon juice until well coated.

3. Pour the apple mixture onto the prepared pan and spread it evenly to the corners. Arrange the puff pastry squares on top of the apples, overlapping in places, until covered.

4. In a small bowl, beat the egg with the water, then brush the egg wash on top of the puff pastry pieces and sprinkle liberally with turbinado sugar. Bake for 30 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and use a spatula or large wooden spoon to gently press the puff pastry crust down into the warm fruit juices. Continue baking for another 30 minutes, until the crust is deeply browned and the filling is bubbling.