Here are four classic Apple Brown Betty recipes — that’s the name of a delicious old-fashioned dessert made with apples topped by sweet spiced crumbs — as they appeared in Chicago’s Day Book in the early 1910s. (You can think of Brown Betty sort of like the big sister of today’s popular apple crisp and apple crumble.)
Apple Brown Betty recipe (August 1912)
This can be made without eggs or milk and can be eaten hot or cold with cream or sauce. Take 4 cupfuls of chopped tart apples, canned apples, peaches or any other tart fruit, and 3 of stale bread crumbs, 1 cupful of sugar, and butter size of a walnut.
Butter pudding pan, and place a layer of crumbs in the bottom, then a layer of the fruit. Sprinkle with sugar, dot with butter and grate either lemon peel or a little nutmeg over this. Then add another layer of crumbs and so on till all is used, making the top layer of bread and apples mixed and dotted with butter, also sprinkled with sugar. Now pour over all one cupful of boiling water, or one and a half cupfuls if the fruit is not juicy. Bake a half hour in a moderately hot oven.
Apple Brown Betty recipe (September 1912)
Peel, core and chop finely six or more cooking apples, and put a layer of them at the bottom of a well-buttered pudding dish.
Sprinkle them with sugar, cinnamon, and little bits of butter, cover with bread crumbs, put another layer of apples and so on until the dish is full, bread crumbs forming the last layer. Pour in a teacupful of water, put little bits of butter on the top, and bake the pudding slowly, until the apples have fallen and the crumbs on the top are nicely browned.
Apple Brown Betty recipe (March 1913)
Chop fine 2 cups of tart apples. Butter a baking dish and place on it a layer of apple, sprinkling with cinnamon, sugar and butter. Place on this a layer of the crumbs, alternating with the apples till dish is three-fourths full, leaving breadcrumbs on top. Add no water, but cover tight, and steam three-quarters of an hour in moderate oven. Then remove the cover and brown quickly. Serve with milk or sweet sauce.
One cup of bread crumbs, six large apples (peeled and sliced), one cup of molasses, one-half cup of cold water, one-half cup of sugar, butter size of a walnut, pinch of salt and grated nutmeg.
Put thin layer of sliced apples in bottom of buttered pudding pan. Sprinkle with little sugar, then put a layer of crumbs over apples; dot crumbs with bits of the butter and dash of nutmeg. Continue in this way until all crumbs and apples are used. Mix the water and molasses. Turn over and around sides of the pan. Set the pudding dish in a pan of hot water and bake forty minutes or until apples are tender. Serve hot with foamy sauce.