New England Apple Brown Betty

New England Apple Brown Betty by Jim Bailey

New England Apple Brown Betty

Prep Time

12 minutes

Cook Time

35 minutes


6 people

The Brown Betty, yet another New England original!

The origin of the name Brown Betty is in dispute. Some say it is from an English teapot, while others have other ideas. Again, this is one of those simple names with an equally simple beginning.

The term brown obviously refers to the color of both the apples, when baked and the breaded topping. Bread in colonial America was brown because of the wheat that was used. So when you add them to this dessert, it goes without saying that the brown color seen throughout is only natural.

As for the name Betty, there can only be one answer. Like the dish itself, it came from whoever first made it, with the word, along with the recipe itself, being shared and passed on! Simple, delicious and a great dessert that has withstood time and palates.


  • 3 cups firm apples, diced
  • 1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup apple juice or cider
  • 1 tablespoon molasses

For the Topping

  • 3 slices bread, diced small
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons orange marmalade, optional (If you don't use marmalade or even your favorite preserves, you will need to substitute the same amount of melted butter or margarine.)
  • Vanilla ice cream or whipped topping


  • 1 Toss apples, raisins, cornstarch, and cinnamon together well. Transfer to an 8-inch square baking pan
  • 2 Whisk together apple juice and molasses and pour over the top
  • 3 In a separate bowl, mix diced bread, cinnamon, and marmalade so that all bread is moistened with marmalade, adding more if needed
  • 4 Evenly sprinkle over the top of the apple mixture, loosely cover with tin foil and bake 15 minutes
  • 5 Remove foil and continue baking an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the apples are softened and the topping is crispy
  • 6 Remove to cool slightly before serving with ice cream or whipped topping


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