Blackberry and Apple Brown Betty

This cooktop Blackberry and Apple recipe involves a mere 10 minutes of your time, relying on just butter, sugar, fruit, bread crumbs, and perhaps a little liqueur. (Cassis goes well with this, as does a little kirsch. Or, if you make this recipe with plums, rum, or whiskey is lovely.) When making a traditional Brown Betty, often the recipe instructs you to cook the apples to a purée. You can simplify things and instead slice and fry eating apples in butter, as I’ve done here, adding the blackberries toward the end.–Tamasin Day-Lewis

LC Just The Brown Betty Recipe We've Been Looking For! Note

Too often, making Brown Betty means you tend to end up with a soggy bread topping that’s more like stuffing than anything suitable for a proper sugar fix. Not Tamasin Day-Lewis’s version, which simply and quietly draws upon her ingenious solution of deconstructing the dessert into a fruit bottom that’s cooked separately from its bread-crumb topping. Each comes together quickly on the stovetop, each maintains its own identity. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Tamasin.

Blackberry and Apple Brown Betty Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 30 M
  • Serves 4

Ingredients

  • For the brown betty topping
  • 3 or 4 slices stale but good bread (brown or white) with the crusts removed
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon, or more
  • 2 or 3 whole allspice, crushed
  • 1 to 2 heaping tablespoons light muscovado or other sugar
  • For the blackberry and apple filling
  • 4 large good tart apples, such as McIntosh
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon unrefined granulated sugar
  • A couple of handfuls of blackberries (or raspberries in season)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons crème de cassis or kirsch

Directions

  • Make the brown betty topping
  • 1. Tear the bread into crumbs.
  • 2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat until foaming, then throw in the bread crumbs and stir to coat them. Now cook, stirring sporadically over gentle to medium heat, until the crumbs crisp all over. Do not let them turn dark brown. You cannot hurry this.
  • Make the blackberry and apple filling
  • 3. Meanwhile, peel, core, and slice the apples. Cook them with the butter and sugar in another skillet, stirring every so often, until softened. Before the apples collapse, throw in the blackberries and cassis and stir for a few more minutes. (If you use cooking apples, just add more sugar to taste and cook them to a puree before you add the berries.) Once the apples and blackberries are cooked, remove them from the heat.
  • Assemble the brown betty
  • 4. Add the cinnamon, allspice, and muscovado sugar to the crisped crumbs and stir briefly until the sugar seems to melt into the fruit. Now taste: to get the spicing right you may need up to another 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Remove from the heat.
  • 5. To serve the Brown Betty, give everybody a generous spoonful or two of fruit and scatter some of the hot, spiced crumbs on top. Serve it with some heavy cream—either unwhipped or whipped, it’s up to you.
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Testers Choice

Testers Choice
Testers Choice
Julie Dreyfoos

Sep 02, 2010

Wow, what a great, simple dessert. This recipe is perfect for when you want to make something sweet, yet don’t want to spend a lot of time on it. I started the recipe a few hours before dinner, and right before serving, I gently warmed the apples and added the raspberries while I finished the topping, so everything came out nice and warm. The topping can also be used on top of a variety of fruits. It creates a delish dish, especially when served with a scoop or two of Cinnamon Gelato. No leftovers on this one.

Comments
Comments
  1. Ling Teo says:

    TDL’s recipes have the character of a stern governess with a heart of gold—just what you need to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, straighten your frock and keep your chin up :)

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Lovely, Ling Teo. I think TDL would find that sentiment to be lovely as well…

  2. foodess says:

    Apples and blackberries—sounds like delicious transition into fall food! I’ve never made a brown betty, I think I shall have to change that…

  3. Lauralee Hensley says:

    Oh, I’ll have to try this without pureed apples. This does sound simple and less likely to have some of the sogginess I had with a prior recipe. Thanks.

  4. penorcas says:

    I made this with apples, peaches, and blueberries and topped it with plain greek yoghurt 10% fat. It’s a beautifully simple and
    tasty desert, just the way I like them. thank you.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      We couldn’t agree more. Many thanks for letting us know. And yes, our thanks go out to Tamasin…

  5. NANCY C says:

    Sounds just yummy, but por-fa-for, what is muscovado? And where would I pick this up?

    • Beth Price, LC Recipe Testing Director says:

      Hi Nancy,

      Muscovado is an unrefined dark brown sugar with a hint of molasses flavor. It has the added benefit of being healthier than most refined brown sugars. It is produced by smaller mills in the “islands” but can easily be found on Amazon. Feel free to use regular brown sugar and let us know how it turns out.

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