Apple Brown Betty

There are cobblers and crisps and grunts and buckles and slumps. And pandowdys (pandowdies?). All different ways to mix fruit with some kind of topping that’s not a crust, then bake it.

All these choices… it’s overwhelming. How to choose the correct way to appreciate the apples that are available? Ontario’s harvest was reduced this year because of early summer-ish weather followed by frost which damaged the blossoms of trees. Fewer local apples means the price for apples has gone up, so I want to make the most of the apples I buy. Which of those fruit dishes to make?

The answer is none of the above. Instead, I’m making a family favourite: Apple Brown Betty. This was a very popular dessert at Toby’s Goodeats, a Toronto restaurant which existed before the current crop of ‘gourmet’ burger joints came onto the scene. While I don’t remember ever having enough room for Apple Brown Betty after eating one of their Strikes It Rich burgers and an order of french fries covered in a blanket of melted cheese, I guess someone in my family did because when the recipe for it was printed in the newspaper, it was clipped and kept. Do not forget the ice cream!

Here’s what to do:
Make the topping.

flour, brown sugar and butter

Flour, brown sugar and butter.

Then make the syrup.

brown sugar, hot water and lemon juice

Brown sugar, hot water and lemon juice.

We like them apples.



Peel them apples.

naked apples

Naked apples!

Now slice the apples. To stop the apples from browning, you can toss them with the juice of the other half of the lemon.

sliced apples

Sliced apples.

Layer the apples into a baking dish.

apples into the baking dish

Apples are in the baking dish.

Sprinkle cinnamon over the apples.

sprinkle cinnamon all over the top

Sprinkle cinnamon all over the top.

Pour half the syrup onto the apples, then put the topping… on top.

add the topping

Add the topping.

Drizzle the rest of the syrup over the top.

topped with syrup

Topped with syrup.

Apple Brown Betty.

apple brown betty

Apple Brown Betty.

Served with ice cream.

served with ice cream

Served with ice cream.

The recipe is here:

Toby’s Apple Brown Betty
Makes 8 servings

Use Northern Spy apples if available, otherwise, use any good baking apple.


10 – 12 medium sized baking apples
2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter

2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup hot water
juice of 1/2 lemon


1. Make topping first: in a mixing bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Using knives or pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Set aside.

2. To make syrup, in a separate bowl, combine ingredients and stir well. Set aside.

3. Arrange apple slices on bottom of lightly greased 12×9 inch baking pan.

4. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Drizzle with half syrup; cover with topping mixture. Drizzle with remaining syrup. Bake in 350° oven for 60 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.


One thought on “Apple Brown Betty

  1. Pingback: Apple Recipe Roundup – Part 1 | Food Bloggers of Canada

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