Comfort Food, Part II
Apple Brown Betty
Just the name alone evokes homeyness, warm kitchen fragrances and soothing belly comfort. You can never find ABB in restaurants anymore, so you really have to make your own. But it's worth it.
About 15 years ago, there was a restaurant in town that served a scrumptious version of ABB. I was working at the time in a graphic arts studio with another art director named Mary. We used to start talking about ABB in the morning, and by noon we were at the restaurant, wolfing down huge portions of the magic concoction.
It's not a cobbler, not a pie, not a pudding, it's Apple Brown Betty, damn it, and it's delicious.
Trust me on this, you can serve off-brand, frozen fish sticks, canned lima beans and boiled cabbage for dinner, and if you cap it off with Apple Brown Betty, your guests will call you a master chef.
Here's a very basic recipe that uses a crock pot. Go for it.
4 cups bread cut into small cubes. Crusts are fine, leave them on.
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
4 cups apples, peeled and chopped coarse. Go with Golden Delicious or Rome Beauty--they keep their shape and have a perfect balance of tart and sweet.
If you want, throw in a handful of raw oatmeal to help texturize the apples.
Mix bread cubes with butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and brown sugar.
Arrange in alternate layers with apples in a standard size crock pot.
Make sure the top layer is more bready than appley so it browns nicely.
Cover and cook on high for 1.5 to 2.5 hours, or until apples are tender.
Serve warm and top with chilled whipping cream or French vanilla ice cream.