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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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