Apple Brown Betty

My mother made this all through my childhood. It's lighter and crunchier than a cobbler. She made her own bread crumbs by drying the bread[ in a low oven until crispy and running it through the food processor. They could also be broken into small pieces and cut up smaller with a knife. More simply, store-bought unseasoned bread crumbs are a fine substitution.]

Total Time:
1 hr 5 min
15 min
50 min

4 to 6 servings

  • 6 apples, Granny Smith or Braeburn, peeled and cored
  • 3 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 1 1/2 cups unseasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted, plus 1 additional tablespoon for greasing the baking dish
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Equipment: 5 creme brulee dishes, shallow and oval
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F with a rack in the center of the oven.

  • Place the apples on a flat surface, cut them in half, and then into thin slices. Put them in a medium bowl and coat them with a light layer of zest from 1 of the lemons and all of the lemon juice.

  • In a separate bowl, mix together the butter and bread crumbs. Season with salt. Set aside.

  • In a third bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves. Mix to blend and add the apple slices.

  • Grease each baking dish with the remaining butter. Layer the bottom with the apples and cover with the bread crumb mixture.

  • Cover the dishes tightly with aluminum foil and place in the center of the oven. Bake until the apples are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 30 to 45 minutes. Remove the foil, raise the oven temperature to 425 degrees F and bake until the top browns. Serve immediately.

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