American Classics: Apple Brown Betty

American Classics

Lost classic desserts from our wide and varied past.


[Photograph: Alexandra Penfold]

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At a pie, cobbler and crisp family reunion, Apple Brown Betty might be looked on as the unassuming second cousin, but don't let the dessert's humble appearance fool you. There's nothing mild or mushy about this autumn classic, especially when made with a generous pour of hard cider.

The saying may go "as American as apple pie" but I would venture that the simplicity and thrift embodied in Apple Brown Betty is much more in keeping with the pioneer spirit. It takes just a few pantry basics—if you have stale bread, apples, butter and cinnamon, you're already halfway there. There's no crust to chill and roll, no crumble to mix, no biscuits to prep and possibly best of all, you can get an Apple Brown Betty on the table in an hour. Warm, tender, lightly spiced and ever so slightly spiked, all you need is whipped cream and a fork.

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Apple Brown Betty »

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