Friday, December 30, 2011
Apple Brown Betty
After a week of lots of amazing food at many different celebratory tables, this might be a good time to return to something not terribly rich or fussy. This Apple Brown Betty certainly fits the bill. Although it’s been around since colonial times, I’ve just discovered in the waning days of 2011 yet another way to enjoy the pleasures of fresh fruit prepared simply.
Bread makes a strong showing in the realm of desserts in the form of Apple Charlotte, bread pudding and summer pudding. Apple Brown Betty is a combination of simmered apples and toasted breadcrumbs. Not at all fancy but tremendously satisfying and easy to prepare. Some recipes call for baking the dish in the oven but I took the easy route. In this version, I toast the breadcrumbs with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon and simply sprinkle them on top of apples that have been sautéed with vanilla and a splash of lemon on the stove top. Just a few ingredients and a couple of quick steps and you have an enjoyable treat to share on a cozy evening.
I wish everyone a very, very Happy New Year. May we all have lots of delicious moments and morsels in 2012 and savor each and every one of them to the fullest.
- I chose Fuji apples for this dessert.
- Use your favorite bread, such as pain de mie, whole wheat or levain. I used a baguette, including the crust.
- Add a small dash of rum or brandy to the apples for something a bit more festive.
- For more embellishment, serve with ice cream, a dollop of whipped cream or honeyed yogurt.
- You can make this ahead and reheat in a 350 degree oven for about 10 - 15 minutes.
Apple Brown Betty
5 slices of firm bread
2 oz (4 T ) butter
2 T dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 t cinnamon
3 T butter
juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
1 vanilla bean
1/4 C sugar
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Tear bread into small pieces and place in the bowl of a food processor. Process briefly to make coarse bread crumbs. Pour into a bowl.
Line a baking sheet with parchment. Melt the butter and whisk in the brown sugar and cinnamon. Drizzle over breadcrumbs and toss quickly to coat. Spread out in one layer on baking sheet.
Toast the breadcrumbs in the oven, stirring occasionally and turning pans halfway through, until golden brown and crisp, about 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
Peel, core and slice apples into 1/4" wedges. Melt butter in a large sauté pan. Split vanilla bean, scrape the seeds and add to butter along with the bean casing. Stir to distribute. Add apples, lemon juice and zest. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Remove vanilla bean. Add sugar and continue to cook and stir until the sugar dissolves. Taste for sweetness. Top with toasted breadcrumbs and serve warm.