Raspberry Pandowdy is brimming with sweet fresh raspberries cooked with a flaky pastry topping for a rustic dessert you’ll love! It’s a homey, relaxed dessert with classic American comfort food roots.
Despite it’s odd name, pandowdy is a favorite old-fashioned dessert recipe dating back to colonial times in the early 1900’s. That doesn’t make it out of date, quite the opposite! This easy, delicious dessert recipe is always a crowd pleaser. Sweet bubbling fruit filling topped with torn pie crust dough on top of the filling.
It all bakes into a tasty scoopable dessert made even better with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream served on top of the crust. If you like an easy cooking process this will be one of your favorite desserts!
Raspberry Pandowdy is one of the classic Americana recipes you’ll love!
What is a pandowdy?
If you’ve never heard of a pandowdy or have no idea what it is, you aren’t alone. A pandowdy is part of the Crisp and Crumble family of desserts. Like cobblers and crisps, it’s very basic and simple to prepare.
It’s a homey comfort food with sweet berries cooked in a casserole dish or baking pan with a pastry topping making a relaxed summer dessert.
The homemade pastry topping is layered on in pastry scraps which allows the steam from the bubbling juices to escape during cooking. It has patchwork pattern look. Hence the name pandowdy; ‘pan’ from being cooked in a pan instead of a pie dish and ‘dowdy’ because of it’s messy, inelegant appearance.
A pandowdy is almost an upside-down pie in concept though with a format like a crumble. It’s very simple; fruit on the bottom, crust on top in a very rustic form. It is not a fussy dessert by any means but rather a flavorful and simple celebration of seasonal fruit.
Apple pan dowdy and peach pandowdy are more well known. We used fresh raspberries and I adapted one of my Great Grandmother’s pie crust recipes that is light and flaky for the topping.
Recipe Ingredient Notes
All-Purpose Flour. Regular or gluten-free measure-for-measure flour can be used. We love Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour for a gluten-free version.
Unsalted butter. You’ll need 5 1/3 tablespoons of cold butter for the flaky crust plus a bit more to grease the baking pan.
Fresh raspberries. 5 cups of fresh raspberries rinsed and patted dry.
Granulated sugar. This is used to sweeten the fruit mixture.
Lemon juice. Use freshly squeezed juice for best flavor.
Nutmeg. If you can freshly grate the nutmeg, do it! If not ground nutmeg works great too.
Kosher salt. We recommend kosher salt because it’s a less salty tasting salt.
Cornstarch. Corn starch thickens the juicy filling as it cooks. Arrowroot starch can be substituted if preferred.
Ice water. Combine cold water with some ice to really chill it. This will be added to the crust mixture.
Note about pan and serving sizes
Raspberry Pandowdy is a scoopable dessert so though the size of the pan will determine how deep the recipe is, a serving is more the volume of your scoop!
Typically I’ve found making the recipe in an 8-inch by 11-inch baking dish is about right (refer to photo below for the depth), though even a 9-inch by 9-inch pan or a deep-dish pie pan would work well. The Raspberry Pandowdy in the photos above was cooked in a 9-inch by 13-inch pan which leaves it a bit thin.
It serves six perfectly maybe even eight with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!
How to make Raspberry Pandowdy
STEP 1. Preparation
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8-inch by 11-inch baking pan with butter (the extra butter).
STEP 2. Make the crust
Combine the flour, butter (1/3 cup), salt in the bowl of a food processor equipped with the kneading blade and process until forming a coarse meal. If making by hand use a dough or pastry blender.
Slowly add ice water while blending to allow the dough to make a smoother consistency and form a ball. Do not over blend.
NOTE: depending on whether you use gluten-free or regular all-purpose flour, you may not need to use all of the ice water.
Place the dough ball between two pieces of wax paper or plastic wrap and roll out to be about 1/8 inch thick with a rolling pin. Place in the dough in the wax paper in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes to chill.
Note: if the dough is too warm/sticky to roll out, you can chill the dough ball 20 minutes and then proceed with rolling out and re-chilling.
STEP 3. Make the raspberry filling
While the dough chills, in a large bowl combine the raspberries, sugar, lemon juice, and nutmeg and gently fold in to combine. Sprinkle the mixture with the cornstarch and fold in completely. Spoon berry mixture into the prepared baking dish.
STEP 4. Make and bake the pandowdy
Remove the crust from the refrigerator. Breaking off pieces of the crust, cover the berry mixture completely. Placing the crust in this way allows for steam to more easily escape as well for the berry juices to seep through to the top over some of the crust.
NOTE: If using a smaller pan, place on a baking sheet before baking in case of any spillage.
Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour baking time. Remove and allow to cool 20 minutes before serving.
Use a store bought pie crust. If you are feeling lazy you can even use regular pie dough or a store-bought pie crust especially since it’s broken into pieces when added to the top to allow steam to escape. Regular or gluten-free pie crust will work.
Cut out shapes. If you’d rather have a less rustic appearance to the pandowdy, cut the top crust into dough squares or use a large cookie cutters to make shapes. Be sure to leave some small spaces when putting it on top of the fruit so it cooks properly.
How to Store
Store cooled pandowdy tightly sealed or transferred to an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. Warm before serving leftovers.
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- 1 cup all purpose flour regular or gluten-free measure-for-measure flour blend
- 1/3 cup (5 1/3 tablespoons) unsalted butter cold and sliced (plus extra to grease the pan)
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher Salt
- 2 1/2 tablespoons ice water
- 5 cups raspberries rinsed and patted dry
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 pinch ground nutmeg freshly grated if possible
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot starch
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8-inch by 11-inch baking pan. NOTE: this is a scoopable dessert which will be about 1-inch thick in this pan size. The serving size provides enough volume per person.
- Equip a food processor with the kneading blade (or if making by hand use a dough/pastry blender). Combine the flour, butter (1/3 cup), salt in the food processor bowl. Blend until grainy.
- Slowly add ice water while blending to allow the dough to make a smoother consistency and form a ball. Do not over blend. NOTE: depending on whether you use gluten-free or regular all-purpose flour, you may not need to use all of the ice water.
- Place the dough ball between two pieces of wax paper or plastic wrap and roll out to be about 1/8 inch thick.
- Place in the dough in the wax paper in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes to chill. If the dough is too warm/sticky to roll out, you can chill the dough ball 20 minutes and then proceed with rolling out and re-chilling.
- While the dough chills, in a large bowl combine the raspberries, sugar, lemon juice, and nutmeg and gently fold in to combine. Sprinkle the mixture with the cornstarch and fold in completely.
- Spoon berry mixture into the prepared baking dish.
- Remove the crust from the refrigerator. Breaking off pieces of the crust, cover the berry mixture completely. Placing the crust in this way allows for steam to more easily escape as well for the berry juices to seep through to the top over some of the crust.
- Bake at 375 degrees for one hour. Remove and allow to cool 20 minutes before serving.
Originally published: July 2012
So delicious and I am so excited to make this agsin for my family,
This is such a great dessert. Made it the other day and the whole house smelled amazing the rest of the day. It was really easy to make and the flavour is out of this world. Thanks for a great recipe!
Love this yummy dessert! Raspberries are a summer favorite and they are shown off to perfection in this. Delicious!
This really turned out so good! Loved the uniquness!
Gimme all the fresh berries! Such a yummy dessert!
What an interesting dessert recipe to try with raspberries. SOmething new to me. So delicious. Thanks for sharing.
The pandowdy was delicious everyone was asking for the recipe! thanks!
Lovely recipe! I used frozen raspberries, and it made this dessert one of the most budget-friendly treats ever!
Claudia Lamascolo says
Huge huge fans of raspberry and this recipe was loved by all will make it often in this season its amazing!
Stacey D says
So incredibly delicious! I think next time I’ll make it with blueberries!