This is an amazing apple dessert and sounds like it might be fussy. It isn't! I impressed guests with this one at Thanksgiving dinner.
Apple Pandowdy (or pan dowdy) is a classic comfort food that was quite popular in the 1800's and early 1900's.
A combination of almost pie and pudding, the name comes from the way the traditional recipe was finished: "*after an apple-based filling is baked in a crust-lined casserole, the hostess takes a fork and "dowdies" the crust, breaking it into pieces which manage to remain crisp despite being partially immersed in the juicy filling."
And the filling is pretty juicy so don't be surprised when you dive into the crust and find a sea of liquid. As the dish cools, the "dowdied" crust absorbs a lot of the liquid, leaving you with an almost pudding-like desert.
For the crust:
¾ cup all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
¼ teaspoon granulated sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons cold, unsalted butter cut into pieces
1-2 Tablespoons ice water
For the filling:
3 Rome apples and 4 McIntosh apples peeled, cored and cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 cup cranberries (thawed if frozen)
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 Tablespoon heavy cream
2 teaspoons course sugar
For the crust:
In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, and salt until combined.
Add butter and pulse until mix resembles coarse meal with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining.
Sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon ice water.
Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed. (if necessary, add 1 T more ice water). Do not overmix.
Form dough into a 1-inch thick disc, wrap tightly in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour (or up to 2 weeks).
On a floured piece of parchment, roll out dough to 1/8 inch thick.
Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.
For the filling: Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In large bowl, toss together apples, cranberries, brown sugar, lemon juice, flour, and salt.
Transfer to a 2-quart baking dish; dot with butter.
Tear or cut dough into pieces (around 3 inches square).
Lay dough pieces, overlapping slightly, over apple mixture.
Brush dough with cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
Bake until crust is browned and juices are bubbling, about 1 hour. Let cool 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.