several people have responded to my prior email regarding the Apple Brown Betty recipe I mentioned. Those who came to our Open House yesterday had a chance to sample the dish, and a few asked for the recipe as well. I have included it below. Other variations are available online. I used canned apple filling (2 cans, rinse off the juices, leaving only the apple slices), and I also used a hearty white bread and lightly toasted it to give it the stale bread texture it needs.
Apple Brown Betty
“Brown Betty” was a popular dessert dating to Colonial times, and very popular during World War I. It makes use of stale bread and any fruit that might be in season, and therefore readily available. This version uses the following ingredients and instructions.
1 ½ tsp. nutmeg
½ cup sugar
3-4 cups of ¼ inch bread cubes, stale or lightly toasted
2 tbsp. butter, melted
Grated rind of 1 lemon
2 pounds apples
2-4 tbsp. water
Dark brown sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Use butter to coat the bottom and sides of an 8” square pan, or round pie plate. Sprinkle with enough dark brown sugar to cover the bottom.
3. Combine the nutmeg and sugar, setting aside two tablespoons of the mixture for later. Place the bread cubes in a bowl and toss with the sugar / nutmeg mixture, the melted butter, and the lemon rind.
4. Peel and core the apples, slice into wedges. Place 1 cup of the bread mixture in the bottom of the pan. Layer ½ the apples over that. Cover with ½ cup of bread cubes, then the rest of the apples. Cover with the rest of the bread cubes. Sprinkle with water, and top with the reserved sugar / nutmeg mixture.
5. Cover tightly with foil or a cover, and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover carefully, and bake for 15 minutes longer or until apples are soft and the top is browned.
6. Enjoy! This can be served warm with a cream topping if desired.
Frank T. Meninno
Curator, Easton Historical Society and Museum