Capital Cooks: Abigail Adams’ Apple Pan Dowdy

Adams County is one of the top apple-producing areas in the United States, well-known for high quality apples and apple products, and we take great pride in that distinction! As a salute to our local heritage, we’d like to share a recipe that calls for apples and was a favorite of our County’s namesake, John Adams. The recipe is from the book Capitol Hill Cooks, which is available at the Hall of Presidents. Enjoy!

Abigail Adams’ Apple Pan Dowdy

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
10 apples
1/2 cup molasses
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup water

Blend flour and shortening together until mealy. Sprinkle a little ice water over dough, enough to hold together. Roll out to 1/4″ thickness and brush with 1/4 cup melted butter. Cut pastry in half. Place halves on top of each other. Roll and cut again. Repeat until you have 16 separate pieces piled up. Then chill for 1 hour. Roll pastry again and cut in half. Line bottom of baking dish with one half. Save the other half for the top.

Peel and slice the apples. Mix with sugar and spices and put in the pastry lined dish.
Combine molasses with butter and water. Pour over apples.
Cover with top crust and seal. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Then reduce heat to 325 degrees.
“Dowdy” the dish by cutting the crust into the apples with a sharp knife.
Bake 1 hour. Serve hot with ice cream or whipped cream.

Doesn’t it just make your mouth water? While you’re visiting Adams County, be sure to pick some local apples to take home with you—they’ll make this recipe even better!