The Local Apple Brown Betty

APPLE BROWN BETTY. Nobody seems to remember who Betty was exactly, but her easy-to-assemble, apple-pie-like dessert is hard to forget when made with Central Virginia’s freshest.
Photography By Natalie Ermann Russell | September 15, 2013


Source your ingredients from these local establishments:

Unsalted cultured farmstead butter from Mountain View Farm in Fairfield. —Available at Farm to You and Healthy Foods Co-op in Lexington, Greenwood Gourmet near Crozet, Foods of All Nations and Rebecca’s in Charlottesville, and the Staunton, Nelson, and Harrisonburg farmers’ markets.

Tart-sweet antique Albemarle Pippin apples, from Henley’s Orchard in Crozet, Vintage Virginia in North Garden, or Dickie Brothers in Roseland.
Available on-site at the orchards.

White or whole-wheat cinnamon chip bread from Great Harvest Bread Co. in Charlottesville—a sweet, spicy departure from Brown Betty’s usual ho-hum slices of white.
Available at Great Harvest on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and at Charlottesville City Market.

Maple-like hickory syrup from Falling Bark Farm in Berryville, where it is infused with the roasted goodness of shagbark trees.
Available at Friendly City Food Co-op in Harrisonburg; Whole Foods, C’ville Market, Yoder’s Sugar & Spice, and Rebecca’s in Charlottesville; the Cheese Shop in Stuarts Draft; and Virginia Born and Bred in Lexington.


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Run the bread through a food processor or blender to form crumbs (4 or 5 cups).

2. Melt 4 Tbsp. butter in a 9-inch skillet over medium heat. Add crumbs and cook, stirring, until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer crumbs to a medium bowl.

3. In a large bowl, mix together apples, syrup, cinnamon, vanilla, cider, fl our, and ½ cup of crumb mixture. In the same skillet, over medium heat, simmer the apple mixture, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Scatter 1 Tbsp. butter atop apples. Spread remaining crumbs on top; then scatter last Tbsp. butter on top. Bake until juice is bubbling and topping is browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool, and serve from skillet.

Serve right from your black-iron skillet.


  • 1/3 loaf Great Harvest cinnamon-chip bread or your favorite loaf of cinnamon bread, cut into chunks
  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 5 large or 7 small tart apples (such as Albemarle Pippin), each cut into 8 slices then into ¼-inchthick pieces (about 8 cups)
  • 1/3 cup hickory or maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ¾ cup hard cider
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
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