This world is full of grandmas. Obviously my challenge here is to focus on my family’s recipes but I’m going to default to a different grandma’s recipe collection in this case.
Great-Grandma Mary’s Peach Betty had me intrigued with breadcrumbs at the top of the ingredient list. Thought this might be a long lost betty secret so I gave it a shot. I followed the directions and, well, it was no good. The peaches, delicious as always, but the “betty” part? It tasted like lightly sweetened breadcrumbs. No thanks!
My good friend Shiloh’s grandma, Grandma Lucy has an incredible Apple Betty recipe that I’ve made a zillion times so instead of recreating Great-Grandma Mary’s recipe I’ll be sharing hers! Grandma Lucy was a widow after her husband was in an accident, leaving her to support two young boys. She became the cook at a boarding house so I’m sure her recipes are all well tested crowd pleasers.
Best thing about cobblers, pies and bettys is you can most any fruit. Peaches, apples, berries, fresh, frozen…they’re all good candidates.
Peach Brown Betty
5-6 ripe peaches*
1/4 cup unpacked brown sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup softened butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Toss brown sugar and fruit (or other filling ingredients if you chose a different fruit.)
Combine all of the dry ingredients and then cut in cold butter. Until it resembles a coarse meal, with no pieces bigger than a pea.
Pour filling into a butter 8″ x 8″ pan. Then sprinkle topping on top, don’t worry about making it too uniform, a few spots with the fruit showing through make it easier to tell when it is done.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes until warm and bubbly.
*Other filling options include:
- tart green apples, use 5-6 apples and toss with 1 cup sugar and 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
- berries, use 3-4 cups of berries and toss with up to 1 cup of sugar if they are tart, much less if they’re sweet and 1 tsp of cornstarch which will help thicken the berry juice a bit.
Stir the dry ingredients together with a fork, whisk, pastry cutter, anything that’ll get them mixed well.
Then comes the butter. It is best if it is added cold and cubed (I see how the picture would suggest otherwise. oops!) Cut the butter in with two knives, or a pastry cutter. Pastry cutter is fastest but don’t let not having one hold you back. Knives will only take a minute or two to get the job done.
Culinary School 101: If the butter is cold going in and the work is done fairly quickly (to keep it cold) this will help make the topping more light and crumbly. It is ready when the crumbles are all smaller than peas.
Sprinkle the brown sugar and anything else that sounds good. Cinnamon and sugar are great, a dash of cornstarch if your fruit is too juicy…there aren’t any rules on this one.
Sprinkle the topping and put it in the oven.
A la mode is the best in summertime!
Here’s my theory on the breadcrumbs. 60+ years ago people made bread at home and they wouldn’t dream of wasting a bit of it. When it got stale, which happens in a hurry with homemade bread. They probably dried it and made breadcrumbs. With all of this surplus they needed to come up with creative ways to use them up. Introducing: Breadcrumb peach betty!
What do you think of this theory? Do you have any other guesses?