Apple Brown Betty is an apple pie without the crust. The recipe was developed during America's colonial times and has survived, so it must be good!
Apple Brown Betty is a tasty fall dessert.
October is National Apple Month and October 5 is Apple Brown Betty Day, both good excuses for making this sweet dessert. Brown Betty is a traditional way to serve fruit dessert, Apple Brown Betty, Blueberry Brown Betty, Peach Brown Betty, you get the idea. It's similar to a fruit pie but much simpler since you won't need to make a crust. The top crust is made from small cubes of bread, toasted in butter, with walnuts added.
Just about any good bread will do for the topping. You can even use homemade Gluten Free White Bread. In the next section I tell you how Apple Brown Betty got its name.
How Did Apple Brown Betty Get Its Name?
Consensus seems to be that a woman named Betty created it and it was the color of her skin, rather than the color of the dessert, that helped determine the name. Here's something I found on Quora, written by Aaron Percefull:
"The story behind this classic dessert is somewhat nebulous. The Oxford Companion to Fooddeduced [says] that there was in fact a real 'Betty' of African-American descent for which the dish is named. It is believed that "brown" wasn't referring to the dish, but to the cook herself, who may have been of mixed racial background. During colonial times it was common to name desserts after people, and there is further speculation that this Betty might have been a slave. The recipe, made from Granny Smith apples, lemon juice, sugar, sandwich bread, butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar, was first published in the Yale Literary Magazine as 'brown Betty' in 1864."
What You Need
This one's simple. I used a knife, cutting board, small food processor, cast iron frying pan, and a beautiful pie plate and server. Sometimes I use individual ramekins (affiliate link) instead of a pie plate.
Apple Brown Betty Recipe
Apple Brown Betty
- 3 slices good bread with crusts removed and cut into ¼ inch squares
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter divided, save 1 tablespoon to butter the pie plate
- ½ cup walnuts chopped fine in a food processor
- 3 large Granny Smith apples about 4 cups sliced apples
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- Heat the oven to 350F degrees.
- Melt the butter in a skillet over medium low heat.
- Toss the bread cubes in the butter with the finely chopped walnuts. Set aside.
- Slice or dice the apples, removing the stem and core. Toss them with the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and corn starch until thoroughly coated.
- Pour the apple mixture into a buttered pie plate or individual ramekins.
- Bake in the heated oven for about 30 minutes, until the fruit filling is soft and bubbly.
- Remove the pie from the oven and spread the bread cube mixture over the top. (See note for gluten free option.)
- Return the Apple Brown Betty to the oven for 15 minutes more—until the filling is done and the top has browned.
- Let cool before cutting.
- Serve with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or half and half. But it’s great just by itself, too!
Recipe Nutrition Information
This recipe is SF, EF, V*
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.
Nourish Your Body & Soul
I encourage you to care of yourself by eating satisfying, nourishing food that is good for your body and makes you feel healthy. Protect your spirit by living authentically, moving your body, and taking time to replenish and rest. I think you might also like these recipes & posts from Recipe Idea Shop:
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Lois Carter Crawford is an author, home chef, health advocate, and food coach who fought her way back from several debilitating health issues, including a moderate heart attack! She discovered that inflammation caused by the food she ate was the underlying cause of most of her health problems and developed a method and tools to help others research their food sensitivities.