Apple Brown Betty

Apple Brown Betty.jpeg

An “antique” recipe if there ever was one. Brown Betty has been made in the Southern Highlands since, well, let’s just say for a REALLY long time.

  • YIELD: serves 10

  • ACTIVE TIME: 1 hour

  • TOTAL TIME: 2 hours 15 minutes


  • Rum Sauce

  • 2 cups water

  • 1 cup superfine sugar

  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons light rum

  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • Crumb Crust Topping

  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats

  • 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

  • 4 tablespoons superfine sugar

  • Pinch of regular salt

  • Potato Bread Crust

  • 1 loaf potato bread, crusts removed, cut into 1-inch cubes

  • Apple Mixture

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • 7 Golden Delicious apples

  • 5 Granny Smith apples

  • 1/2 cup raisins

  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup superfine sugar

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1/4 teaspoon regular salt

  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving


  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly butter a 9x13x2-inch baking dish.

  2. To prepare the rum sauce, in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the water, sugar, butter, rum, cornstarch, and cinnamon, stirring frequently, until the sauce comes to a boil. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Set aside.

  3. To prepare the crumb crust topping, in a large bowl, combine the oats, butter, flour, brown sugar, superfine sugar, and salt. With your hands, mix all the ingredients until large moist clumps form. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

  4. To prepare the potato bread crust, in another large bowl, toss the bread cubes with the melted butter and arrange two-thirds of the bread crumbs over the bottom of the prepared baking dish.

  5. To prepare the apple mixture, fill a third large bowl with water and add the lemon juice. Halve, core, and slice all the apples, adding the slices to the lemon water as you go along to prevent them from browning.

  6. In another large bowl, combine the raisins, brown sugar, superfine sugar, flour, lemon zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Drain the lemon water from the apples, add the apples to the sugar and spice mixture, and toss to coat.

  7. Place two-thirds of the apples on top of the bread cubes in the baking dish. Layer the remaining one-third of the bread cubes on top of the apples and follow with the remaining apples. Top with the butter pieces and 11/2 cups of the rum sauce, and sprinkle with 11/2 cups of the crumb topping. Cover and bake for 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and pour 1/2 cup more rum sauce and 1/2 cup more crumb topping over the casserole. Return to the oven uncovered and bake until the apples are soft and the topping is golden brown, about 20 minutes longer.

  8. Serve warm with ice cream, if desired.