This gingered pear and raspberry pandowdy is an old-fashioned, rustic, comforting dessert made with a pear and raspberry filling buried beneath a ginger-infused biscuit dough.
This gingered pear and raspberry pandowdy carries a sorta old-fashioned title yet appeases contemporary palates with its unconventional collision of pears and raspberries and a jolt of ginger in an otherwise basic biscuit dough. In other words, a revelation.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Gingered Pear and Raspberry Pandowdy
For the pandowdy pear and raspberry filling
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter at room temperature, for pan
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- Pinch fine sea salt
- 4 to 6 large pears, any variety peeled, cored, and sliced
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 pint (2 cups) raspberries fresh or frozen
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter cold, cut into small pieces
For the pandowdy biscuits
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour plus more for the work surface
- 3 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon (1 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter cold, cut into small chunks
- 1/3 cup chopped candied ginger
- 2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk cold (either low-fat or full-fat)
Make the pandowdy pear and raspberry filling
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and adjust the oven rack to the lower third of the oven. Butter a 9-inch cast-iron skillet or 9-inch deep-dish pie pan.
- In a large bowl, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add the pears and lemon juice and toss until evenly coated.
- Gently fold in the raspberries. Carefully transfer the filling to the prepared skillet or pan and sprinkle the butter evenly over the filling.
Make the pandowdy biscuits
- If mixing by hand, in a bowl, combine the flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and toss until evenly coated. Using your fingertips or a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture is the size of large peas. If mixing in a food processor, toss the flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is the size of large peas. Transfer to a bowl.
- Stir the candied ginger into the flour mixture. Then pour in the 2/3 cup buttermilk and stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened. The dough will be a little crumbly, with large pieces of butter still visible.
- Place a large sheet of parchment paper on your work surface and lightly flour it. Turn the dough out onto the floured surface and gently press the dough together. Then press it into a 9-inch circle.
Assemble the pandowdy
- Carefully lift the parchment and dough and invert it so the dough is atop the fruit. Brush the dough with the remaining 1 tablespoon buttermilk and then sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.
- Bake the pandowdy for 30 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350°F (175°C) and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the juices are bubbly and thick. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before scooping and serving. The pandowdy will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days. Originally published September 14, 2009.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
We have an almost comically large raspberry bush on our property. Every summer even making jar upon jar of jam, I cannot find enough recipes to use all my raspberries. So when this one came up, I jumped on it. My husband loves pears, and had declared this summer the “Summer of Pie” (I have been making at least one pie a week since May). Pandowdy is close enough to pie to count as far as I am concerned.
This pandowdy is an extraordinarily simple recipe. The biscuit topping is really in many ways easier than a short crust since you don’t even have to roll it. I pressed the biscuit dough on parchment paper and then just flipped it on top of the fruit mixture effortlessly.
While I found the biscuit topping to be a tad too gingery, my husband thought I was nuts and deemed it perfect. Whichever side you fall on, this recipe is worth making. I used Anjou pears and they worked beautifully with the raspberries. I threw it into a deep-dish, 9-inch cast iron skillet. We had it warm with some fresh whipped cream and it was a perfect ending to a long day.
We will definitely make this one again. And I may play with other fruits and spices. But the bones of this recipe are solid enough you can’t go wrong.
I used a cast iron skillet. And I would again.
Served it warm. Tasted it this morning, too. Still delicious.
This was the very first recipe I tested for Leite’s Culinaria. After studying the list of recipes that needed to be tested I selected this one because I love the combination of pear and ginger. Happily, the ginger in the crust really came through and complemented the filling beautifully.
I followed the instructions exactly, although if I was not testing, I might have added some lemon zest to the fruit mixture. I used Bosc pears as those were the ripest available. The fruit filling was a bit on the sweet side (perhaps because the pears were fairly ripe) but the raspberries really balanced it out overall.
This pandowdy has such a nice contrast of flavors and textures: sweet pears, tangy raspberries, warm ginger. And the crust was nicely crisp on top and soft underneath. I shared it with my husband, who is not much of a dessert guy, and he loved it. You should get 8 generous servings from this. It was so delicious eaten warm.
The description of the consistency of the dough was accurate, although I had to add an extra splash of buttermilk to get it to come together a bit. I think a note in the ingredients list beside the amount of buttermilk that the extra tablespoon is for brushing the topping would be helpful (same with the sugar for the topping); it’s easy to miss that.
To get the dough off of the work surface and onto the fruit I used a very thin plastic prep board I have and slipped it under and that worked fine. Also, you could do the dough on a separate prep board that is bigger than the 9-inch circumference and slide it off easily.
I ate some while still warm and the flavors were really pronounced. I had some after it cooled and it was still deliciously balanced and the pear flavor came through more than when warm. All said, a delightful dessert (and I think it may be breakfast, too!)
Originally published August 08, 2019