Cranberry Apple Brown Betty is layers of bread crumbs, tart apples and cranberries, brown sugar, cinnamon, and orange zest. It is rustic and cozy baked in a cast iron skillet. Top with cinnamon whipped cream and an apple crisp and you have a lovely dessert or indulgent breakfast!
Exactly three years ago today I went over to wordpress.com, signed up for a free domain, and created my first post. It was a whim. I had done it before. Numerous times before, actually. But something about this time stuck. Something about Baker Bettie, this sassy/confident/fun/baker/blogger version of myself, became my passion. And three years later, I am definitely even more passionate about this space I have created with you. This weird internet space where it feels like I know you and hopefully it feels like you know me.
A few things have happened over these three years…
*I got a new camera early on and pretended to know how to take pictures of food. I’m definitely still working on the actual knowing how to take pictures part of that.
*Mr. BB and I moved from Kansas to Philadelphia. I learned that the best thing about blogging is that this space can go with you anywhere. It is a virtual mobile home and has comforted me while making a new real life home in a new city.
Deciding on what to make for such an exciting day for me is a hard task. I texted my husband, “I can’t think of what my favorite dessert is. I love everything!” He responded, “That is the biggest first world problem I have ever heard.” He is right. It is. But when you are a blogger, and your blog is your job, it is a real work problem! If I were picky, things like this would be easier. But I’ll just have all of it! All the pie, all the cookies, all the brownies, all ice cream. Just everything!
I settled on an “Apple Brown Betty” to which I insisted on renaming a “Brown Bettie” for obvious reasons. A Brown Bettie is similar to a cobbler, however it is put together in layers with bread crumbs, fruit, and a brown sugar. And because I love the tartness of cranberries I decided to add some along with a little fresh sage for an herbacious savory addition.
You want to make fresh breadcrumbs for this. I used challah for that, but brioche would also work well.
Cube the bread up and toast it lightly before blasting it quickly in a blender or food processor to make crumbs.
You can use a baking dish, but I love the feel of baking in a cast iron skillet. It just feels cozy and old fashioned. To start, spread a layer of bread crumbs in the bottom of the dish.
Add a layer of apples and cranberries over the bread crumbs. Mix the brown sugar with some spices. I added in some cinnamon, a bit of nutmeg, orange zest, and fresh sage. Half of that goes over the first layer of apples.
Next you need some moisture. I added a mixture of apple cider and orange juice. But you could use all orange juice, or orange juice and lemon juice, or even cranberry juice! Whatever you want!
P.S.- That is not my manly hand. That is Mr. BB. He’s the best pourer around. Contact me for details about hiring him.
Another layer of bread crumbs comes next, then an apple cranberry layer, then brown sugar and juice, and it is finished with a last layer of bread crumbs! I don’t think I’m expressing to you how much fun I had putting this together! It just gets more exciting and delicious with every layer!
My food stylist was getting a little distracted during the process though. He has no attention span.
There you have it. A Cranberry Apple Brown Bettie from yours truly!
I want to say thank you! Thank you to each and every one of you. If you have been around since the beginning or if this is your first time here. Thank you for reading my words, trying my recipes, telling me your stories, and sharing this space with me. You are the best around. I hope you stick with me for a while. I even made you a plate…
One Year Ago:
Puff Pastry Donuts with Cinnamon Sugar and Bourbon Glaze
Two Years Ago:
Carrot Cookies with Orange Glaze
Three Years Ago:
Sliders with Caramelized Onions and Rosemary Mayo
- 4 cups cubed challah or brioche
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 TBSP finely chopped fresh sage
- 2 tsp grated orange zest
- large pinch of salt
- 3 pounds granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
- 6 oz fresh cranberries
- 1/2 cup juice (I used a combo of orange juice and apple cider, you can use any fruit juice you want)
- 3 TBSP cold unsalted butter, thinly sliced
- Preheat your oven to 350°. Spread the cubed bread on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until dry, about 8 minutes. Let the bread cool, then pulse the into coarse crumbs in a food processor or blender.
- Butter a 10" or 12" cast iron skillet. You could also use a baking dish or pie plate. Spread 1/3 of the bread crumbs in the bottom of your skillet or dish in an even layer.
- In a small bowl, combine the sugar with cinnamon, nutmeg, orange zest, fresh sage, and salt. Spread half of the apple slices over the bread crumbs in the baking dish and top with half of the sugar mixture. Drizzle half of the juice over the apples. Cover with another 1/3 of the bread crumbs and the remaining apples, sugar mixture, and juice. Cover with the remaining bread crumbs. Dot the top of the Bettie with thin slices of butter all over.
- Bake at 350F on the center oven wrack for about 1 hour, until the apples are tender and the juices are bubbling. Cover the baking dish with foil during the last 15 minutes to prevent the crumbs from getting too dark. Let cool for 30 minutes before serving. I like to serve with cinnamon whipped cream.