How to Make Blackberry Brown Betties with Pecan Crumble

Put fresh blackberries to good use by preparing these comforting brown betties from award-winning pastry chef and cookbook author Hedy Goldsmith.

A Good Use for Blackberries

Hedy Goldsmith's comforting brown betties come together in three decadent layers: rich pastry cream, plump blackberries and a nutty crumble topping. Prepare the betties in 6-ounce ramekins for a perfectly indulgent, individual-size dessert. 

Get the Recipe: Blackberry Brown Betty with Pecan Crumble

Prepare the Pastry Cream

Make Hedy's pastry cream by combining a hot vanilla bean-and-milk mixture with egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch. When drizzling the hot milk into the yolks, whisk constantly, and remember to remove the vanilla bean pod once the two mixtures are fully incorporated. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, continuing to whisk. Then, remove from the heat and whisk slowly until the mixture cools a bit, adding the butter 1 tablespoon at a time. The pastry cream needs to be chilled before using. 

Prepare the Ramekins

Divide the chilled pastry cream evenly among eight 6-ounce ramekins until they're filled just under one-third of the way. Evenly portion the berries on top of the pastry cream. Remove the crumble from the refrigerator and break off clumps about 1/2 to 3/4 inch in diameter, keeping the clumps about the same size, and divide them evenly among the ramekins. The crumble comes together when you combine toasted pecans, cake flour, confectioners' sugar, turbinado sugar, salt, baking powder, melted butter and vanilla in a food processor. You can budget your time by making the topping several days in advance.

Bake Until Golden Brown

To bake the betties, heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange the ramekins on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake until the berries start to bubble and the topping turns golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. 

Serve with Toppings of Your Choice

Remove from the oven, let cool for 10 to 15 minutes, and serve dusted with confectioners' sugar. You can also serve the betties topped with ice cream, whipped cream or creme fraiche, or you can pour a little warm heavy cream into each betty.


Hedy Goldsmith is an award-winning pastry chef and the author of Baking Out Loud.