This old-fashioned baked dessert uses up a lot of breadcrumbs, but it’s fine to mix and match types of bread. You can even use sweet breads like cinnamon raisin or Hawaiian, to make these crumbs. For the fruit, this is an anything-goes sort of recipe, like crisp or trifle. Whatever you choose, core, pit, and peel it and dice it into bite-sized pieces. If you’re using frozen fruit, don’t thaw it before baking.

  • 1/3 cup butter, melted, plus more for the pan
  • 3 cups breadcrumbs
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 3 cups bite-sized fruit pieces
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour or tapioca starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon or ground ginger

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter an 8-inch-square baking pan.

In a small bowl, combine the butter and breadcrumbs, stirring to coat the crumbs. Sprinkle on the sugar and stir briefly. Sprinkle 1 cup of the breadcrumb mixture on the bottom of the baking pan.

In a medium bowl, toss the fruit with the lemon juice, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Spread half of the mixture on top of the breadcrumbs in the baking pan, then sprinkle another cup of crumbs on top. Spread the remaining fruit on top of this layer and sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup crumbs. Gently press down on the layers. Cover with foil and bake for about 25 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling, then remove the foil and bake, uncovered, for 8 to 12 minutes, until the top layer of crumbs is crisp and deep golden brown. Serve warm.

Brown Betty is best eaten the same day it’s made, but it can be reheated (uncovered) in a 300 degrees oven until hot through.

Serves 6 to 9

Photo Credit: Shannon Douglas

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