. . . They’d name her Betty. —Apple Brown Betty, that is!
Remember when I was telling you about our abundance of apples, and how, in order to use them before they get soft, I’ll have to become the “George Washington Carver of apples”? (Click here to get that story.)
Well, it turns out that I don’t need to become the George Washington Carver of apples! Know why?
’Cause there are already a ton of lovely apple recipes out there! I mean: Duh!
It would be very hard, I think, to come up with a truly novel way of cooking apples.
However, it’s not hard to find apple recipes that don’t seem to be used very often. Take, for instance, Apple Brown Betty.
I think that recipe used to be ubiquitous—an easy dish made by girls in their home ec classes. A quick, satisfying dessert made by every homemaker, wife, and mother from the 1920s to the—
—Well, when did folks quit making it? I grew up in the 1970s and I honestly don’t recall anyone making this—not my mom, not my grandmas, not my friends’ moms—no one.
And Sue says she doesn’t think she’s ever had it, either—and she’s from a different part of the Midwest, and is slightly older than me. But we’ve both heard of it.
It’s in so many cookbooks! And all the ladies our moms’ age know about it. What’s the deal? Did everyone just get sick of it at some point? Or is it that apple pies and other desserts got so easy to make, what with premixed and prepared pie crusts and all?
(Well, or maybe we’ve had it and not noticed—maybe it’s just not all that memorable?)
So, heck, with all our apples to eat, I had to satisfy my curiosity and make an Apple Brown Betty.
I mean, I kind of feel sorry for her. Like the name “Betty” itself, the dish seems out of style, like it “peaked” in the thirties and forties and got trapped by its own popularity. (This can happen to popular songs, too. Is anyone ready yet to hear “Afternoon Delight” or “On the Road Again” again? I didn’t think so!)
The recipe came from my Aunt Anna Mae. (Note that she, too, has one of those wonderful names that’s being eschewed by today’s baby-namers, one of those fun fifties “poodle-skirt names,” like Patty Lou, Peggy Ann, Sally Fay, Mary Jo, and Dorothy Jean.)
One more note: Apple Brown Betty isn’t the belle of the ball, the prettiest of desserts, but if you dust some powdered sugar or drizzle some crème fraîche on her, it will dress her up quite a bit!
Apple Brown Betty
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Grease loaf pan or 8-inch square baking pan.
Add hot water to cover 1/2 cup raisins, and let them soak. (The raisins are optional, however.)
Toast 4 slices of bread, then cube them.
Peel and slice 8 tart/sweet apples.
Blend 1 cup sugar with 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
Mix together the bread cubes, apples, and drained raisins.
Add 3/4 of the sugar-cinnamon mixture to the apples and stir to blend well.
Pack into baking dish and dot with 1/2 stick of butter or margarine (diced).
Top with remaining sugar-cinnamon mixture and bake for about 1 hour.
Oh, yeah: And keep an eye on her, so she doesn’t become “Over-brown Betty”!