The Toddster loves apple desserts more than anything else in the world. If I want to make him happy . . . all I have to do is to bake him a treat which includes apples in some way. He is a man with simple tastes and values.
Apparently his mom made the best apple pies on the face of the earth. Unfortunately I never ever had the chance to taste them as she had passed away well before the Toddster and I met . . . but I have heard all about them. I cannot make an apple pie like hers, but I can make a pretty mean Brown Betty!
Over in North America Brown Betty's are popular apple desserts in the autumn. You can't beat them. Tastily buttered bread crumbs layered with apples, sugar and spice. It has a definite YUM factor, without an awful lot of fat.
The bread crumbs get all crispy on the bottom and the top, and the middle layer melts into the apples and their sweet juices, almost helping to thicken the mixture.
Low in fat. High in taste tempting pleasure.
To me it's the perfect dessert!
I added nuts. Tastily toasted hazelnuts . . . and tasty wholemeal seeded bread . . . extra health insurance and nuttiness.
With lashings of fresh, warm custard to pour over top . . . it went down a real treat. Nom! Nom!
*Apple and Hazelnut Brown Betty*
This is just wonderful, simply wonderful . . .
7 ounces fresh wholemeal bread crumbs
(I used a seeded wholemeal loaf)
3 ounces butter, melted
100g hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
4 ounces caster sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
the grated zest of 1 lemon
the juice of half a lemon
2 pounds of cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into small chunks
1 TBS demerara sugar to sprinkle
Vanilla ice cream, creme fraiche or custard to serve
Pre-heat the oven to 190*C/375*F. Butter a 1 1/2 litre oven dish and set aside.
Melt the butter. Mix the breadcrumbs and hazelnuts together in a bowl. Toss with the butter. Set aside.
Mix the chopped apple with the sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, lemon zest and the lemon juice.
Place 1/3 of the bread crumb mixture in the bottom of the buttered baking dish. Top with half of the apples. Add another 1/3 of the breadcrumbs, sprinkling them over the apples. Top with the final half of the apples, and sprinkle the remaining crumbs on top. Butter a piece of aluminum foil and lay over top, sealing the edges.
Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil. Sprinkle with the demerara sugar. Bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, until the apples are tender and the top is nicely browned. Serve warm with creme fraiche, custard or ice cream.