What is Brown Betty?

Chopped fruits such as peaches are included in a Brown Betty.

Brown Betty is a baked fruit dessert that resembles a cobbler or crunchy. It is made with fresh fruit, buttered bread crumbs and a variety of spices of choice, typically including cinnamon and nutmeg. It is popular year-round and can be served plain or with a variety of toppings. Typically, Brown Betty is served hot out of the oven, or can be roasted in individual ramekins for a more elegant presentation. The classic fruit used in Brown Betty is the apple, although other fruits can also be used.

Cinnamon is often used to season various types of Brown Bety.

Brown Betty’s origins can be traced back to Europe, where medieval cooks made a range of dishes with fruit, spices and sugar. Pies evolved during this period, as did a variety of other baked fries and cobblers. A variant of Brown Betty was likely brought to the United States from England with early settlers, and the dish has become an enduring favorite. The dish is closely related to a number of other popular American desserts such as buckle, crisp, crumble and grunt.

Many people like to use Granny Smith sour apples in a Brown Betty.

Brown Betty’s core is high quality fruit. Apples for crunchy pies such as Granny Smiths or Gravesteins are classic inclusions. The cooks also make Brown Betty rhubarb, which can also include strawberries. Softer fruits like berries and peaches can also be used. The fruit is supplemented with a small amount of sugar, which aims to enhance the natural sweetness of the fruit. Typically, Brown Betty is seasoned with melted butter before being baked, creating a crispy crust.

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Clove is one of the spices commonly used in Brown Betty.

To make Brown Betty, mix a cup of breadcrumbs with ½ cup of sugar and a half to full teaspoons of spices like cinnamon, ginger, cloves, lemon zest or nutmeg. You may also need to adjust the Brown Betty’s sugar level depending on the type of fruit being used. Add three tablespoons of butter to the breadcrumbs mixture, mixing well to coat the breadcrumbs lightly with butter.

Pears can be used on a brown betty.

Divide half of the bread crumbs on a buttered baking sheet and top with chopped fruit such as apples, strawberries, peaches, pears or fresh berries. Spread remaining bread crumbs on top and drizzle with melted butter if you want a crunchier Brown Betty. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius) for 45 minutes. You can serve Brown Betty hot with hard sauce, whipped cream, ice cream or other sauces of your choice.

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