Extra juicy and oh so doughy, Skillet Blueberry Bourbon Pandowdy…with flaky puff pastry “stars” for a festive July 4th twist. Every bite is layered with fresh blueberries, sweet cherries, and hints of warming bourbon. This classic Pandowdy pie is topped with a buttery flaky puff pastry and cream. It’s so pretty, super simple to make, and you can swap out the blueberries for any berry you love. Or simply use a mix of all your favorites. Serve with vanilla ice cream for a festive (and delicious) red, white, and blue dessert to celebrate July 4th…and any other summer occasion to follow.
Well, hey, hi, and happy Friday to you all!
It’s been such a full week of busy, non-stop days, so I’m happy that Friday is here. But honestly, it’s mostly because I’m excited to share this recipe. And to hopefully watch you make it over the weekend on Instagram. Have I mentioned to you guys that my very favorite thing about any social media platform is being able to connect with you all so closely? Watching everyone recreate recipes on their own Instagram accounts keeps me going day in and day out. I love seeing how excited you all are to recreate HBH recipes!
It’s so much fun, and definitely the best part of my job. So thank you all for being so awesome!
My hope is that you all bake this one up over the weekend in preparation for July 4th next Saturday. We all need to “test” our recipes, so this is the weekend to do it! And you guys…this blueberry bourbon pandowdy? It’s truly one of my favorite recipes. I love a pandowdy more than any other pie or cobbler…which a pandowdy is basically a cross between. But a pandowdy has the most delicious and unique crust. I have a peach pandowdy in the HBH Super Simple Cookbook, but this is my first berry pandowdy…and it’s now my favorite.
Oh so GOOD…and very festive!
So, what exactly is a Pandowdy?
For those of you who don’t know what a pandowdy is, let me tell you.
To put it simply, traditionally it’s an apple-filled pie, baked in a skillet with cut up pieces of dough over top of the apples, instead of one whole pie crust. The idea is that the dough sinks into the apples while baking and in turn becomes very “doughy”. Think of a pandowdy as an apple pie, but with a lot more sauce (that’s sweet and caramelized, almost caramel-like) and a crust that is beyond perfect.
It. Is. Incredible.
Me being me, I switched things up a bit, swapping out the apples for summer blueberries and sweet July cherries.
Here’s how you make this pandowdy…
Start with the crust. It’s traditional to use regular pie dough, but I wanted to keep this simple as can be, so I used puff pastry. I love puff pastry more than you know. I’ve said this before, but I always keep puff pastry in my freezer. Always. It lasts forever and can be used in both savory and sweet recipes. It’s one of my favorite “freezer staples” along with frozen berries.
Roll the pastry out and cut it into stars. You can do two to three different size stars, as I’ve done, or you can simply use regular-size star cutouts. Either works great and will give you a very festive July 4th pandowdy.
Alternately, if you don’t want to make stars, you can just cut the dough into large squares. That’s great too!
Now place the cut-outs in the freezer to stay chilled.
Next, in a cast iron skillet, toss together the filling. It’s a simple mix of blueberries, cherries, cornstarch, bourbon, and lemon. I used honey for sweetness and also threw in a little lemon thyme from the garden…because I am obsessed with the combination of lemon thyme and blueberries.
If you don’t have a skillet, use a rectangle baking dish or a deep pie plate of similar size.
At this point, layer the chilled stars over the filling, leaving a few gaps so that the berries and cherries are peaking out. Brush the top with a beaten egg and sprinkle with a little coarse sugar.
Again, be sure to leave those gaps between the stars and the filling. The gaps between the stars will help to create a sweet sauce that slowly seeps up and over some of the pastry, which in turn causes parts of the pastry to caramelize while other parts remain softer and “doughier”.
And now you bake.
Finish it up..
The final step of this recipe is to spoon cream over top of the pandowdy just before it’s done baking. This creates more of a custard-like pie and makes this recipe better than any other pandowdy. I learned about this method from Food 52 and will never make a pandowdy any other way.
The cream topping is KEY and essential.
The directions might sound kind of odd, and you might even be a little confused. But just follow them. Even if you start to wonder if you’re really doing it right…and all will be good.
So, pour the cream over the stars and then bake another few minutes to “set” the cream.
When the pandowdy comes out of the oven, the sauce will be bubbling up over the crust. The smell is going to make you want to dig right in…and you should! But with ice cream, of course.
And be sure to spoon that dark red-purple sauce that’s left in the skillet over top. So. Very. Good. Every bite is bursting with sweet blueberries, juicy cherries, and hinted with bourbon + lemon thyme.
My notes and tips.
One, there is a LOT of sauce. This is not your average pie with very little sauce. This pandowdy is saucy – and that’s the best part. It’s looser than a caramel, but yet it’s caramelized, sweet, and so full of wonderful flavors. If you would like a slightly thicker sauce, you can use more cornstarch to thicken it up.
And two, you might need to cover the pandowdy with foil towards the end of baking to prevent the pastry from burning. You want the top of the pandowdy to get pretty dark golden brown. But during the last fifteen minutes, I found I needed to cover the edges to stop it from turning black all over. Just be sure to keep an eye on it while baking!
So, who’s making this sweet skillet blueberry bourbon pandowdy with me this weekend?? I’m ready…and the ice cream is in the freezer!
Looking for other 4th Of July dessert recipes? Here are some favorites:
Lastly, if you make this skillet blueberry bourbon pandowdy, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Skillet Blueberry Bourbon Pandowdy.
Calories Per Serving: 770 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
- 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 5 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
- 3 cups fresh or frozen sweet cherries, pitted
- 1 1/2-2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/4 cup bourbon (optional)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1-2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 large egg, beaten
- coarse sugar, for topping
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry sheets out. Cut out as many stars as you can and arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Chill in the freezer while you prepare the filling. Alternately, you can cut the pastry into larger squares or another desired shape. 2. In a 10-11 inch cast iron skillet or large pie plate, combine the blueberries, cherries, and cornstarch, toss to evenly coat. Add the honey, bourbon, vanilla, lemon zest, thyme (if desired), and salt. 3. Brush the egg over the stars. Arrange the stars evenly over top of the filling, leaving some gaps between the stars (see above photo). Brush again with egg and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Place the skillet on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temp to 350. Continue baking for another 20 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling up through the cracks of the pastry. If needed cover the top with foil to prevent burning. 4. Spoon the heavy cream over top and then return to the oven for another 10 minutes to "set" the cream. The pastry will turn a dark golden brown. 5. Using a spoon, press the pastry down into the warm juices, but don’t submerge. Serve warm with ice cream. ENJOY!
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Cornstarch: for a thinner, more traditional sauce, use 1 tablespoon cornstarch. For a thicker sauce use 2 - 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch. You can also use an equal amount of flour. To Make Ahead: the cobbler can be baked up to 2 days ahead and kept in the fridge. Serve at room temperature or warmed. To Halve the Recipe: you can easily cut the recipe in half and bake in an 8-inch skillet, 8-9 inch pie plate, or an 8x8 inch square baking dish. If You don't Have a Skillet: bake in a 9x13 inch baking dish or dish or similar size.