There’s a story behind this title — but isn’t there always?
Of all of the different foods that remind my sister and me of our grandmother, this is probably at the top of the list. I remember coming through the door from school in the winter and smelling the cinnamon and knowing that it was cooling on the counter. Now, our Nanny made Apple Betty, not Apple Crisp, not Apple Brown Betty. Not entirely sure what the difference is, although a lot of recipes that I have found incorporate rolled oats, which was an ingredient that was definitely not in this dessert. Rolled oats!! I’d rather eat grain!! (Inside joke with my sister — that I’ll keep for another post!!) Alas!! Years later, we tried to duplicate this recipe, but nobody in the family seemed to have it. Nanny probably carried it around in her head and didn’t need to write it down. For years we bemoaned the fact that we couldn’t make her Apple Betty.
Anyway — for Thanksgiving this year, being the Martha that I’m not, I bought ready made pie crust, fresh in the dairy section. (I can hear Sweet Sister rolling her eyes. She is a purist.) Too late, I realized that there were only 2 crusts in the box and I wanted to make an apple pie and pumpkin. No prob, I say to myself, I will make a crumb topping for the apple pie. Back to the computer (what did any of us do before the internet?) Google crumb topping, find a recipe that looks promising, whip it up. Let cool. Taste. OMG OMG OMG it’s Nanny’s Apple Betty!!
Preheat oven to 400°
Mix together for topping
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup margarine (I used the stick kind right out of the fridge)
Using a pastry cutter or 2 knives or whatever, cut the margarine up with the flour and sugar until the size of peas
Mix together for apples
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tbsp flour
1/3 to 1/4 tsp cinnamon
Peel and slice 5 or 6 apples (I used Empire)(They were a little on the small side)
Combine the apple slices and the mix for the apples and toss in a big bowl until well covered
Place in a 9″ x 9″ glass dish
Sprinkle topping mix over all
Bake for 45 minutes or so
Oh so good!! We always poured a little milk over apple betty in a bowl, but you can add whatever you like.