Prepared as for a cobbler, but before the baking is finished, you take a spoon to break up the top crust and push pieces of it down into the fruit. This is what was called “dowdying.”
Most recipes are for Apple Pandowdy, but you will also from time to time come across recipes using blueberries or mixed fruit. Usually, a Pandowdy has no bottom or side crusts, but you will see variations that have the crust on the bottom, and you invert the dessert for serving (though why people still call this a Pandowdy is uncertain: sounds more like an upside-down something.)
Literature & Lore
The best guess so far as to the origin of its name is “pan” plus “dowl”, an old, obsolete word for dough. Why is there never an urban food name myth when you do need one?