An Apple Brown Betty is an incredibly easy fall dessert recipe that transforms day old bread into a lightly sweet and spiced treat, simple enough for every day but tasty enough for a Holiday table.
What is an apple brown Betty?
The Apple Brown Betty is a dessert that dates back to colonial America. The name “brown Betty” first appeared in print in 1864. It is simple and rustic dish made with bread crumbs, spices, and sweet apples.
According to Wikipedia, it was one of the favorite desserts in the White House during Ronald Reagan’s term.
An Apple brown Betty is similar in concept to an apple cobbler or an apple crisp. However, what sets an Apple Brown Betty apart is that rather than fruit topped with a streusel crisp or biscuit-like cobbler topping, fruit and bread crumbs/cubes are layered together. This creates a more dense and hearty dessert, slightly reminiscent of a bread pudding (without the custard mixture).
Serving an easy apple brown Betty
Apple brown Betty is traditionally served with a cream-based sauce, like whipped cream or ice cream. The cream mingles with the crumbly bread and apple mixture, creating a wonderfully creamy and sweet fall dessert.
When you’re busy planning for Holiday meals, an apple brown Betty is a wonderfully easy dessert to throw together. And, if you love apple pie, an apple brown Betty, packs all the flavor of an apple pie without the hassle of messing with pie crust. That’s a win when you’re short on time!
Apple brown Betty: the perfect make-ahead recipe
In addition to being so easy to make, this dessert is even more perfect dessert for busy days because it can be made ahead and refrigerated overnight.
You can either served cold from the fridge, let it set out for a few hours to come to room temperature, or warm it back up in a low oven.
An incredibly easy fall dessert recipe that transforms day old bread into a lightly sweet and spiced treat. Simple enough for every day but tasty enough for a Holiday table.
Yield: 1 (8x8) pan (Double the recipe to fill a 9x13 pan.)
- 8 c bread slices torn (challah or brioche for a lighter dessert, whole wheat bread for a heartier dish)
- 1 lb Gala apples, peeled, cored and diced
- 1 lb Golden Delicious or Cortland apples, peeled, cored and diced
- 1 orange, juiced (roughly 1/4 c)
- ½ c brown sugar
- 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- ½ c water
- 1 Tbsp salted butter, cut into slices
- Preheat oven to 375⁰F. Grease an 8x8 baking dish.
- Crumble the bread by hand into coarse crumbs and place in a large bowl. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, toss the peeled and diced apples with the orange juice, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Place about 1/3 of the bread crumbs mixture in the baking dish, sprinkle with half of the apple mixture. Repeat with another layer of bread crumbs and then apples, finishing off with a layer of the bread crumbs.
- Sprinkle ½ cup of water over the dish.
- Dot the top with thin slices of butter.
- Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes, until the apples are tender. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes, until the top is lightly browned.
- Serve warm with ice cream or fresh whipped cream, if desired.
To Make Ahead: Make the Brown Betty as directed and bake for the initial 45 minutes, covered. Remove the dish from the oven, uncover, and let cool. Refrigerate the dessert overnight.
Remove the dessert from the refrigerator 2 hours before you will be serving it, for it to come to room temperature. If desired, warm the dessert before serving by baking at 375⁰F, covered for 10 minutes and uncovered for 10 minutes.
Easy Holiday entertaining with Sunday Supper
This week the Sunday Supper Tastemakers are sharing recipes to make your Holiday Entertaining even easier.
- Caramel Coffee by Party Food & Entertaining
- Christmas Cranberry Mojitos by Our Good Life
- European-Style Hot Chocolate by Cosmopolitan Cornbread
- Peppermint Hot Chocolate by My San Francisco Kitchen
- Pomegranate Sangria by The Redhead Baker
- Spiced Hot Milk Brandy by Nosh My Way
- Christmas Cranberry Dip by Fantastical Sharing of Recipes
- Festive Shrimp Bites by The Freshman Cook
- Hot Crab Dip by Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch
- Krayl’s Easy Holiday Cheese Board by An Appealing Plan
- Mini Cheese Balls by Books n’ Cooks
- Pear Pancetta Goat Cheese Appetizer Bites by Food Done Light
- Beer Pull Apart Bread by Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
- Ranch Buffalo Chicken Dip by Table for Seven
- Shrimp Puffs by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Smoked Salmon Dip by Palatable Pastime
- Smoked Salmon Shooters by Amee’s Savory Dish
- Spiced Nuts by Confessions of a Cooking Diva
- Tuscan White Bean and Sausage Dip by The Complete Savorist
- Ultimate Taco Dip by Momma’s Meals
Main and Side Dishes
- Fruited Wild Rice by Magnolia Days
- Harvest Roast Chicken with Grapes, Olives, and Potatoes by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Holiday Seafood Fest (La Grande Zuppa del Costiera Amalfitana) by Monica’s Table
- Make ahead Parmesan Mashed Potatoes by A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Pasta With Duck Sugo by The Food Hunter’s Guide to Cuisine
Desserts and Baked Goods
- Apple Brown Betty by Curious Cuisiniere
- Apple Panna Cotta by Caroline’s Cooking
- Banana Coconut Lime Bundt Cake by Desserts Required
- Chocolate Sheet Cake by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Cinnamon Raisin Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies by Take A Bite Out of Boca
- Gluten Free Key Lime Tartlets by Gluten Free Crumbley
- Grown Up Peppermint Bark with Sambuca by Lifestyle Food Artistry
- Microwave Carob Fudge by Pies and Plots
- Orange and Dark Chocolate Chunk Scones by The Texan New Yorker
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread by Ruffles & Truffles
Plus a No Stress Party Checklist and Recipes for Easy Entertaining by Sunday Supper
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