We've been in France for a week now, and life is still somewhat chaotic. I type this at the dining table that we just found room for two days ago, Sami is in the kitchen building me an island (love that!!), and the girls are a bit shell-shocked at being back to school and inundated with the standard amount of homework. And we can't find stuff. Julia has lost her phone. Sami lost his keys today. I'm sure we've all lost our patience at one point or another. All this to say that I can't find my card reader, so I can't post pictures of the peach pandowdy, the last recipe of the Livermore series. (New card reader purchased! Enjoy the show!)
A pandowdy is kind of like an upside-down buckle: it's fruit on the bottom and a kind of cake-like layer on top. This is a very simple recipe, and it's pretty good, but I believe I prefer a cobbler or a crisp--the dough was just a bit doughy, and it was kind of bland. Maida says this is a "very old American recipe," which to me often means not very interesting. I made this for a small dinner party, and while it was praised, we had plenty left over--which no-one then ate. That to me is the sign of a good but not great dessert.
Still, I'm going to give you the recipe and let you decide for yourself. I believe an American cook should make a pandowdy at least once to say she/he has done it.
3 lbs. peaches, peeled and sliced (you could probably use frozen here--thaw them at least partially)
1/3 c. (2.3 oz.) brown sugar
1 T. lemon juice
1 t. cinnamon
1/3 c. raisins (I think these are totally optional, though they add to the Early America vibe)
Heat the oven to 400 and butter a shallow 2-quart baking dish. Throw in the peaches, brown sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, and raisins, toss them together, smooth it out, and let the mixture sit while you make the topping.
1-1/4 c. (5 oz.) sifted flour
1 t. baking powder
3 T. (1.3 oz.) sugar
1/4 t. salt
1/3 c. (2.7 oz.) milk
2 oz. (1/2 stick) melted butter
1 t. vanilla
a few drops (pour it into a 1/4 t. measure and drip it out of that) almond extract
Sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a small bowl. In a larger bowl or perhaps a 4-cup glass measuring cup, whisk together the eggs, milk, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts. Pour this mixture slowly and carefully over the fruit to make as even a layer as possible. It may not completely cover the fruit, and that's OK. Bake for 28-30 minutes, until the peach juices are bubbly and the top has browned a bit (mine didn't brown much). Serve warm with ice cream and reflect on simpler times.