Serious Eats: Sweets

Bake the Book: The Brown Betty Cookbook

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[Photograph: Alison Conklin]

This week, Bake the Book is doing something a little different. We're participating in the Brown Betty Cookbook Blog Tour. We'll be featuring three recipes from The Brown Betty Cookbook today, Wednesday and Friday, kicking things off fittingly with Apple Brown Betty, a dessert several notches higher than your standard apple crumble. With homemade rum sauce and a potato bread crust, as well as a three-apple filling, it's a stunning, simple treat with the kind of spice so pleasant in cold weather.

The Brown Betty Cookbook comes to us from Philadelphia's beloved Brown Betty Dessert Boutique. The Boutique was founded by the original Betty West's daughter Linda, and her daughter Norrinda. Linda and Norrinda celebrate and commemorate Betty's memory by recreating her best recipes (as well as more than a few of their own) and have bound them together in a volume that brings her magic to your kitchen.

The subtitle, "Modern Vintage Desserts and Stories", is apt. Usually, dessert recipes are born of something personal, or something inherited. This time, it's both. The recipes themselves are simple, and some are full of history. Sweet potato pudding, for example, was made every week by Betty herself, and fondly remembered by her daughter and granddaughter. When there aren't full-color photos of the desserts themselves, pictures of the process hook your interest and make you yearn to be in the kitchen, up to your elbows in flour.

But not every recipe is handed down from generations past. Two recipes we're featuring, for Red Velvet Cake and Apple Brown Betty, were developed by the bakery owners themselves. There are plenty of tips and suggestions with recipes that prove to be a little tricky (there's a great technique for making sweet potato pudding as smooth as possible).

If you like a little story with your sweet, this is the book for you.

Win A Copy!

Thanks to the generous folks over at John Wiley & Sons, we are giving away five (5) copies of The Brown Betty Cookbook this week.

All you have to do is describe your favorite childhood dessert in the comments section below.

The standard Serious Eats contest rules apply.

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