Wednesday, May 25, 2011


The charming old Apple Brown Betty, dating from colonial times, is related to a cobbler or bread pudding. Basically, a “betty” is a baked dessert comprised of a layering of spiced, sweetened fruit with buttered bread cubes or crumbs. The most well known “betty” is the apple brown “betty”, which of course features apples. 

The crumbs for a “betty” can be toasted white bread or oats, but graham crackers, untraditional until the 1950’s, make a fabulous accompaniment to apples, either mixed with or as a replacement for the breadcrumbs. Instead of layering, mixing all thoroughly in a bowl is also good.

I was going through some old materials in a box and came across a recipe my late aunt used to use; I haven’t had this dessert in decades now. Many people I ask have heard of Apple Brown Betty, but none have ever eaten any.

I baked some the other day and it was excellent. Not quite a bread pudding, nor a cobbler, but a delightful hybrid. Many times when re-visiting something from the past, it’s not the same as you remembered, but apple brown betty certainly is a wonderful dessert.

Here is the old recipe.

Apple Brown Betty                           serves 6

1-cup soft bread crumbs (Or replace with crushed graham crackers or a flaked cereal)
4 tablespoons of butter
2 teaspoons of grated orange peel
½ cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
4 medium apples; peeled, cored and sliced or diced
¼ cup, approximately, of orange juice

Preheat oven to 375F/190C.
Mix everything except the apples and orange juice in a bowl
Put half of the prepared apples in a buttered baking dish

Cover with half of the crumb mixture
Add remaining apple slices and cover with remaining crumb mixture
Sprinkle with the orange juice. 

Cover and bake for 45 minutes. I didn’t, but you can uncover and crisp the top for ten minutes or so.

You could serve this with cream, custard sauce, vanilla cream sauce, or any dessert sauce. We liked it with vanilla ice cream.


Holly Jones said...

Sound yummy, I am going to have to try this out on the weekend. Thanks for posting :)

sandy axelrod said...

I love desserts with fruit. Somehow they seem healthy. Glad you liked my Bang Bang Wednesday Salad minus the avocado of course. I'm sure you could substitute a spicy Thai shrimp for Bonefish Grill's shrimp if there isn't one near you. Gotta go. Gonna make your dessert.

Priya Sreeram said...

lovely recipe for the betty ! the ingredients in it is a sure-shot winner !

Holly Ruggiero said...

I've heard of these but have never tried one. Now, I just might have too.

Kitchen Flavours said...

Delicious recipe.....easy and flavorsome....

aipi said...

I would totally dig that with a dollop of vanilla ice cream :)
US Masala

kitchenmorph said...

goodness! how much i tried commenting here...there was some problem. thank God i'm persistent :P

sure a deliteful hybrid! flagged!

Monti said...

Sounds absolutely delicious. If I weren't heavy into writing a book manuscript right now I'd head straight to the kitchen!


L. Diane Wolfe said...

Now that sounds delicious! I'm a big fan of baked fruit in any form.

Jean said...

This sounds excellent. The first cookbook in my family was The Joy of Cooking. My mother went on from that to become a really good cook. I like cooking as well and I am interested that your recipe employs orange juice--that sounds like a terrific addition!


Sylvia Ney said...

Mmmm... orange peel and custard sauce!

Indie.Tea said...

Retro, but still delicious. It souns relatively healthy, because of the large amount of fruit.

kathy stemke said...


Karishma said...

Hi Anthony, thanks for sharing this recipe, it came at the right time for me as I'm trying to get my son to eat apples and he doesn't seem to like them much-this should solve my problem :-)

thank you for your comment on my blog, on the pressure cooker chicken are right, in India the pressure cooker is commonplace! Everyone has one or even two or three or four, different sizes and colors :-)

Great to know your wife is coming out with a book of her! Good luck to her! Looking forward to the virtual book tour!

Sensible Vegetarian said...

This looks fantastic, I love fruit based desserts.

Duncan D. Horne said...

I made this in a cooking competition when I was a teenager! Love the cinnamon!

Duncan In Kuantan

Plateful said...

I love crumbles and cobblers and I usually bake crumbles at home, especially during summer when fruits are in plenty. But honestly, I've never heard of betty. I'm sure gonna try this authentic hybrid next time I'm in a mood for crumbles :)

Michelle M. said...


Fa L'Americana said...

Mmmm, this recipes makes me wish it was winter again!

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