Monday, October 12, 2009

The Devil's Pandowdy, or How I Spent Labor Day

See, dazee hates Martha Stewart and her empire o' stuff, so generally, if I want to keep something of hers (mostly just magazines), I need to disguise them by ripping off the covers. Or, do like I did with her special cookie issue; rip the pages out, punch holes in them and throw 'em into a binder. Anyway, I have a few prized issues of Living I've managed to shove under the dazee-dar, specifically August 2005 (The Katrina issue), which discusses brown betties, buckles, cobblers, crisps, crumbles, grunts and pandowdies in detail, but unfortunately, gives no advice about patching broken levees.
Labor Day Pandowdy
I heart you, labor.
Over Labor Day weekend awhile back, I decided to give Bryanna's XgfX flour mix a go. I had collected a formidable collection of local fruit, and I wanted to throw them into a pie like form and try my hand at a little devil baking. Also, we were going to a potluck, and I wanted, nay--needed to uphold the Berns-Kerns reputation.

Having read through Martha's recipes and expert opinions on the subject, I settled for a pandowdy. A pandowdy is a type of pie, but with a single top crust; halfway through baking, you take a spoon and whack through the crust a bit, so fruity-juicy stuff oozes out. I liked the single crust plan, as I had no idea how workable the wheat-free crust would turn out. I also liked it, because I wanted to use my brand new mini alphabet cookie cutters to decorate the top.
<3 Labor Pandowdy
Since I had never made a pandowdy before, I decided to stick with Martha's nice crust recipe too, I just veganized it and de-glutenized it, and swapperized her pecans for Oregon's beloved filbert.

Gluten-Free Toasted Hazelnut Pie Dough
  • 1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts, cooled (I left the skin intact)
  • 1 cup flour (plus a little bit more in case your dough is wet like mine was)
  • 1 teaspoon unbleached granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) Earth Balance, cold cold cold and cut into a small dice
  • A smidge of ice water, it might not be necessary
So basically, just do a pie crust thing. First coarsely grind the nuts in a food processor, then add 1 cup of the flour mix, the sugar (obviously leave this out for savories), and the salt. Once combined, throw in the cold Earth Balance and process. Regular pie crusts turn into a crumbly state at this point, but my gluten-free ingredients combined into a pasty sorta pastry--not good, or rather pretty unexpected. If this happens to you, throw in a bit more flour. Mine was so wet, I'm pretty sure I left out the water completely, but if yours isn't coming together, then go ahead and add just the tiniest amount, until the dough just comes together. Gather it all up into a disk, wrap it up and throw it in the fridge to chill well.

I had all sorts of fruit laying around for the filling: asian pears, regular pears, plums, blackberries, dried cherries and raisins, and I used it all. I sliced it all up, threw it in a bowl, sprinkled it with brown sugar, a few tablespoons of the XgfX flour, a little lemon juice, cardamon and salt. Once that was all mixed up, I laid it out in a pie pan, rolled out the dough, carefully transferred it on top of the fruit and finger-crimped the edges. After I cut out my secret message, I glued it on with a little soymilk, brushed more 'milk over the whole thing, then sprinkled it liberally with granulated sugar. Martha says to bake pandowdies at 375F, but I think that was too hot for the dough. Either that, or since I was using a new-to-me oven, I should've baked it on a lower rack. In either case, keep a sharp eye on your crust, you can always wrap the edges with a little foil, if it's browning too quickly. After the crust has set and begins to brown (the recipe said 45 minutes, but again that seemed too long for mine), take the pandowdy out and crush it in a bit with a spoon, then return it to the oven until the whole thing is oozy and crusty and perfectly golden brown.

I looked most forward to the spoon smashing, but when it was time for business, I wussied out. Since I was afraid I would eff up my cute letters, I just carefully smooshed around them. Next pie I'll hold off all bashing and plan for a full-on punched out story on top.


I want to form a vegan and gluten-free webring. If you have a website or blog that centers around these and want to be included, let me know!

P.P.S. I'm sending Teenagedvegan Primal Strip #6. Let me know in the comments if you want one, especially if you are XgfX.


  1. kittee! this is good info. thank you. as you know, I now have GF baking obligations, and I was unsure of how to handle the future of pie making in our family. Thanks!!

    xo xo xo

  2. I forgot to mention in the post, but the crust was really nice. It had a good texture, it wasn't beany, and it wasn't gritty from the rice flour.


  3. I've never heard of a pandowdy before but it looks super scrummy.

  4. thanks for the flour recipe, i've been wanting a good go-to recipe for gf baking. just one question: what's an 'asian pear'?

    and martha stewart is the devil's mistress

  5. This looks AWESOME! I love the mini-letters, such a cute touch.

  6. Wow that looks delicious! I've never had or heard of a pandowdy before but it certainly merits further investigation!

  7. OMG, that looks amazing. The crust is gorgeous.

  8. That looks tasty! Do you remember that old song about Shoefly Pie and Apple Pandowdy? This made me start humming it :)

  9. I LOVE your plan for a vegan, gluten-free web ring. Too bad I don't have a blog or I'd sign right up! I can't tell you how tired I am of de-glutenizing vegan recipes and veganizing gluten-free recipes!!!

    Btw, have you tried Fickle Feast's gf version of Susan V's Coconut Chai Breakfast Cake? Mmmm, mmmm good!!!

  10. Any pie that can be whacked is a good pie in my opinion.

    As for the gf, vegan webring, I'd love to be included. I'm not 100% gf, but over 75% of my posts are now and I'm making it a more important issue.

  11. This is one of the best things I have ever seen. LABOR.

  12. Mmm pie! Is your idea for a webring GF AND vegan, or just either? If it's either, I'll join :D

    Yay primal strips - thanks a lot, I'm super excited to try one now :D

  13. primal strip!

    pandowdy is something i should do, it's good for a lazy girl like me that doesn't like making pie crusts but likes a top crust.

  14. That pandowdy filling sounds SO good! How did you like it?

    And thank you for the link to the gf flour mix! I am gluten free, and have basically stopped baking (for myself, anyway) as a result. I couldn't find a gf flour I is nice to have a tried and true mixture :-)

    I would love to try a primal strip!


  15. Love it! That is one fancy gf-free pandowdy! Martha would be proud. I listen to Martha Stewart radio on Sirius, and I've learned that (especially her prison stint) she's a pretty cool lady.

  16. I'm glad this worked out! I wonder how Bryanna's mix would do in a bottom crust. I sense apple pandowdy in my future...

  17. woo hoooo, kittee! i've never heard of a pandowdy before - yours looks most marvelous! i love the letters and your swapperizing from pecans to hazelnuts. i have been uber intimidated by gluten-free crusts, and i you've just encouraged me to give it a go. i went on a 28 day "high raw, no booze, no sugar, no gluten" cleanse back in june (it was more awesome than it sounds) and it turns out i'm gluten intolerant. had i not tried the cleanse i never would have known - and my years and years and yeeeeaaaars of suffering with ibs would have never gone away. who knew the yum that was gluten was messing me up so much! but anywhooooooo..... now dan & i are making our way through some gluten-free awesomeness over at happyveganface - so we'd love to be included in the gluten-free goodness, fo 'sho!

    p.s. - we made your saag and posted about it this evening. ooooooh - it was the absolute best! we used collards, swiss chard, and spinach from our csa and it was so freak'n delicious! thank you! :)

  18. I think pandowdy's are so fun to bake and eat. Yours turned out really nice.

    I am a mostly gluten free and always vegan blogger. I would love to be included in the webring.


  19. I've never had pandowdy but I'd love to smash in a pie. I must try this.

  20. The little letters are so neat!

  21. Bashing at a pie with a spoon sounds like my kind of baking! Although I might wimp out a bit too since I don't like mess or lack of symmetry.

  22. I just tried this today with apples. I must have done something wrong, because my crust does not have the texture yours did. Mine is very crumbly. I'm eating it now, and it doesn't taste bad, but it is grainy and separated into crumbs. Its more like an apple crisp topping than a crust. I used Bryanna's flour mix, but I substituted pecans in the crust recipe. Maybe I didn't chill it long enough before baking?

    My results are definitely edible, but not the crust I was looking for. I'm going to try the same recipe with a different gf flour mix and see what happens. Figuring out this gf baking is hard work...


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