Apple Brown Betty

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Category : Desserts, Recipes, Vegetarian

Apple Brown BettyAfter tasting honeycrisp apples grown at BelleWood Acres, I wanted to prepare them in a dessert that would change the flavor as little as possible. Many fruit desserts have so much added sugar and spices that it’s hard to enjoy the basic apple taste.

For a locavore dish (one using only locally grown Whatcom County ingredients), I knew I wouldn’t be using sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, or any of the other traditional apple dessert flavorings.  None of those grow around here. The apples themselves had enough tartness, so I knew honey would make a good sweetener. For the spices, I decided to substitute a little fresh mint. It worked beautifully!

Apple Brown Betty is an old dish dating back at least to colonial American times. It uses simple inexpensive ingredients that  are added mostly for contrasting texture rather than flavor. It’s the perfect way to cook perfect apples.

  • Prep Time:
    15 min
  • Cook Time:
    1 hr 15 min
  • Ready In:
    1 hr 30 min
Servings: 6 servings
  • 2 cups apples, thinly sliced (BelleWood Acres, Lynden)
  • 2/3 cup honey, warmed slightly (Guilmette’s Busy Bees, Bellingham)
  • 2 cups bread crumbs (I used crumbs made from homemade Quick Brioche)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh mint, minced (home garden, Lummi Island)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp butter (Breckinridge Farm, Everson)
  • Hazelnuts, finely chopped (Holmquist Hazelnut Orchards, Lynden)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Put a layer of apples in buttered pie plate or baking dish. Drizzle with a little warm honey.

Add a layer of bread crumbs and sprinkle with a little mint.

Repeat until dish is filled.

Add water, top  dish with small dabs of butter, and cover with foil or a lid. Bake slowly for one hour,

Sprinkle hazelnuts on top, then uncover and continue baking until top is lightly browned (about 10-15 minutes).

Serving Suggestions:

Serve topped with cream, or with a scoop of local ice cream. Goes well with Fresh Tomato Bisque and Herbed Trefoil Biscuits.

Food Sources:

BelleWood Acres Farm Store, 231 Ten Mile Road, Lynden
Community Food Co-operative, Westerly and Cordata, Bellingham
Terra Organica, Flora and Cornwall, Bellingham

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