17 May, 2017
Apple Brown Betty
Apple Brown Betty
This is one of those “I don’t have anything in my fridge or pantry” recipes that’s easy to throw together at the last minute. Made with sliced wheat bread, apples, butter, and sugar, it’s actually fun to make because there’s no mixing…and very little mess. If you can cut up bread and slice a couple of apples, you’re not too far away from having a good ol’ wholesome goodie at your fingertips. It’s because of recipes like this that I have hope in the world. I hate that “nothing in my pantry” feeling.
I’m sure there are many different interpretations of this old-time recipe, but I love this one because you can use whatever bread you happen to have lying around—everything from storebought sandwich bread to a rustic artisan loaf. You can cut the bread (I do) or tear it (I have before), and no matter what, it will be delicious. And as true with any apple dessert, the addition of vanilla ice cream (cinnamon would be yummy, too), freshly whipped cream, or my personal favorite, Reddi Whip from a squirt can, is always a lovely finish.
Let’s make it, baby!
The Cast of Characters: Wheat sandwich bread, apples, brown sugar, butter, and water. Um…shouldn’t there be something more complicated here? Flour, perhaps? Baking soda? Whole vanilla beans?
Begin by slicing 7 pieces of bread into thin strips…
Then rotate the slices 90 degrees…
…And slice again to create a dice.
Going over it a few times to get the bread into small pieces. You can also tear the bread into small chunks if that floats your boat.
Now core and peel 3 apples…
And slice them thinly.
And try not to eat them all. Mmmm. Isn’t there something so inviting about a stack of freshly sliced apples?
Now rub a baking dish very, very generously with butter.
I said very, very generously. Please don’t be afraid of the butter. Because you know what? You’re going to see a lot more than this here in about 45 seconds.
Sprinkle 1/2 cup brown sugar in the bottom of the dish.
Follow this with a layer of about 1/3 of your sliced apples, then sprinkle 1/3 of your bread crumbs on top.
(You can actually use a little less than a third of your crumbs, as you’ll want to be sure to have enough for the very top layer.
Next, start in with 1/2 cup brown sugar again…
Followed by a layer of apples…
And another layer of breadcrumbs. Breadchunks. Breadcubes. Whatever.
Repeat this one last time: The rest of the sugar…
The rest of the apples…
And the remaining breadcrumbs. Don’t you just love layered dishes? There’s something about it that satisfies my deep need for order and symmetry and symbiosis.
Symbiosis? That didn’t fit at all. But oooh, I love that word and I try to use it in my everyday speech at least twice a month.
Next, slice 1 1/2 sticks butter (regular, salted) and begin placing the slices all over the top of the breadcrumbs.
I warned you earlier: do not be afraid of the butter. Do not be afraid of the butter. Do not be afraid of the butter. (Repeat this an additional seven times. Then go get on the Stairmaster.)
Finally, sprinkle 3 to 4 tablespoons of water all over the top, give it a final sprinkle of brown sugar, and bake on 375—covered in foil—for approximately 45 minutes. When you have about five minutes remaining, remove the foil from the dish. You’ll want to watch it in the oven to make sure it doesn’t get too brown.
When it’s hot and bubbly, take it out of the oven.
Mine almost got too brown, but I’m not afraid of a little color in my cookin’.
To serve, just stick a big ol’ spoon in there…
And dish it up.
Mmmm…there’s just something about this sweet little dessert that makes me smile. First, I’ve always loved the name Betty. Second, the tiny pieces of bread make it so light and lovely.
I’d already polished off my can of Reddi Whip, and I was way too ravenous to bother with whipping up some cream by hand. So I just dug in.
Apple Brown Betty
- PREP TIME:
- 20 Minutes
- COOK TIME:
- 45 Minutes
- 8 Servings
- 3 whole Apples, Preferably Granny Smith
- 7 slices Wheat Bread
- 3/4 cups Regular Salted Butter
- 1-1/2 cup Packed Brown Sugar
- 3 Tablespoons (to 4 Tablespoons) Water
Coat a small baking dish or pie plate with butter. Then add 1/3 of the brown sugar, 1/3 of the apple slices, and 1/3 of the breadcrumbs. Repeat these layers twice more, ending with breadcrumbs.
Slice butter and lay slices all over the top of the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle dish with water and a little more brown sugar, and bake in a 375-degree oven, covered in foil, until done – about 45 minutes. Remove foil in last few minutes of baking to brown the top.
Serve with ice cream, whipped cream, or Reddi Whip, if you’re feeling ornery. Enjoy!