I know the name doesn't sound appetizing and last night's example was definitely not worth a photo, but since several people asked for the recipe, it must have turned out OK from a flavor perspective. In short, it's a fruit cobbler without all the work of a cobbler. So, here is one of my favorite last-minute recipes for a tasty and sweet dessert.
Dump (Fruit Pan Dowdy)
2 large cans canned fruit (peaches, apples or cherries)
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 box white or yellow cake mix
1/2 cup butter or margarine (1 cube)
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
1. Pour contents of fruit cans (including syrup) into pan. Measure cornstarch into a small bown and add a little water until cornstarch dissolves. Add to fruit and stir over medium heat.
2. Stir in cinnamon, vanilla and almond extract. Continue to stir until mixture starts to boil and thickens. Stir until desired thickness is reached (no more than another minute or two).
3. Dump mixture into large glass dish (Pyrex works well).
4. Dump dry cake mix over the top and spread across the mixture.
5. Slice one cube butter into thin pats and spread it generously over the top of the cake mix.
6. If desired, sprinkle chopped pecans or walnuts over the top.
7. Bake at 350 for about an hour or until the top has browned.
Lessons Learned: I've called this Dump for years because you literally dump everything in. It's painfully easy to make and requires little thought. I've made it with apples, peaches and cherries, though peaches are my favorite. There's no reason why you couldn't mix fruits (say, peaches and apricots or pears and apples). Be creative.
You can use pie filling and omit the cornstarch and flavoring process, but canned fruit is so much cheaper and works just as well with a little extra effort. Depending on the brand of fruit, you may want to remove some, but not all, of the syrup. Too much syrup makes the dish mushy, which is fine from a flavor perspective, but definitely not from a mouth feel standpoint.
If your baking pan is pretty full, put it on a cookie sheet before sliding it into the oven. It'll be easier to pull out and you won't have caramelized syrup drippings at the bottom of your oven. If you're in a hurry, increase the temperature to 375 and start watching it for doneness after about 30 minutes. (The more butter you add, the more golden your crust will become and the better your cobbler will taste.)
It's best served very warm and a la mode. Whipped cream also works.