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History Rum Raisin Apple Brown Betty

Discussion in 'Foods of the Civil War' started by Eleanor Rose, Oct 5, 2018.

  1. Eleanor Rose

    Eleanor Rose 1st Lieutenant

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    [​IMG]
    (Vintage Kitchen)
    I grew up enjoying the dessert called Apple Brown Betty, a comfort dish of baked sliced apples with brown sugar under a crust of baked and buttery bread. It’s a cute name, but there's likely more to the story.

    It appears Betty wasn’t just some generic lady dressed in an old-timey, ruffled apron, but a mixed-race woman. Betty was probably a servant, likely a slave cook. “Brown” didn’t refer to what happens to the buttery bread as the dish bakes, but to skin color.

    In America’s past there were numerous dishes born in slavery. The "Oxford Companion to Food" has long had its eye on Betty:

    “The name [Apple Brown Betty] seems to have first appeared in print in 1864, when an article in the Yale Literary Magazine listed it … with tea, coffee, and pies as things to be given up during ‘training’ [physical training, what we call working out]. That author gave brown in lower case and Betty in upper case: and, in default of evidence to the contrary, it seems best to go along with the view that Betty is here a proper name. A proper name for a brown-skinned woman.”

    Gabriella Petrick, a food historian at George Mason University in Virginia, wrote:

    “Recipes with racial coding are common, especially in the South. But decoding history—finding out why a simple apple dessert originally from New England took the name of a mixed-race cook, real or mythical—is tricky, and often impossible.”


    * It should be noted that there is a “Brown Betsey” recipe in the "Every Lady’s Cook Book" from 1856. This recipe calls for a pudding made with rich apples, eggs, stale bread, nutmeg, butter and sugar. It goes on to say that the eggs can be omitted.


    Rum Raisin Apple Brown Betty


    This recipe gets a little creative and replaces the traditional molasses with some spiced rum. You’ll still enjoy that deep sugary flavor, but with a little taste of rum to “spice” it up. This is a great dessert for this time of year.

    Ingredients:
    2 oz spiced rum
    1/2 cup raisins
    3 large Granny Smith apples
    juice of one lemon
    4 Tbsp salted butter plus more for pan
    3 cups stale breadcrumbs
    2/3 cup brown sugar
    cinnamon

    Directions:

    Preheat oven to 350F.

    Combine rum and raisins and set aside to soak.

    Peel and core apples and then slice them very thinly.

    Place apples in lemon juice and toss to cover.

    Slice butter into paper thin slices.

    Butter the bottom and sides of your baking dish.

    Cover the bottom of the pan with 1/3 of the the breadcrumbs.

    Top breadcrumbs with half the apples and raisins and a third of the brown sugar and butter.

    Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon.

    Add another layer of breadcrumbs and repeat the above two steps.

    Top with the remaining breadcrumbs, brown sugar, butter and another sprinkle of cinnamon.

    If you like rum, drizzle some more over the pudding. :giggle:

    Bake for 50-60 minutes or until apples are tender and the top is a golden brown.

    Serve warm with ice cream (cinnamon or vanilla go great)
     

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  3. Jimklag

    Jimklag Lt. Colonel Forum Host Silver Patron Trivia Game Winner

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    Bet that would be good with granola or streusel sprinkled on top. Looks delish, Ellie.
     
  4. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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    A nice sounding Brown Betty. Thanks for sharing.
     
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  5. Eleanor Rose

    Eleanor Rose 1st Lieutenant

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    I think today is National Apple Betty Day @donna so I thought it would be a good time to share this recipe. :smile:
     
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  6. Eleanor Rose

    Eleanor Rose 1st Lieutenant

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    Hadn't thought about granola Jim. I bet that would be great.
     
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  7. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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    It is Apple Brown Betty Day. I bumped some other threads featuring Brown Betty.
     
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  8. Seduzal

    Seduzal 1st Lieutenant

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    Your making me hungry again! :smile coffee:
     
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  9. captaindrew

    captaindrew 2nd Lieutenant Trivia Game Winner

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    That looks amazing, I want one!!!!!
     
  10. Legion Para

    Legion Para Captain Retired Moderator

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    @Eleanor Rose what time is desert? And be sure to make enough for all of us. Don't forget the vanilla ice cream.

    Ice-Cream-Topped-Rum-Raisin-Brown-Betty-Web.jpg
    28908.gif
     
  11. captaindrew

    captaindrew 2nd Lieutenant Trivia Game Winner

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  12. Eleanor Rose

    Eleanor Rose 1st Lieutenant

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    I would be honored to serve all of you fellas. C'mon over @Seduzal, @captaindrew, @nitrofd and @Legion Para. @Zella, please come along as well. Something tells me we'll have plenty of dessert (Drew, bring some extra ice cream) and plenty of good conversation.
     
  13. Zella

    Zella Sergeant Trivia Game Winner

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    That sounds like it would be a lot of fun! And that dessert looks amazing! :D
     
  14. captaindrew

    captaindrew 2nd Lieutenant Trivia Game Winner

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    I'll be there! Extra ice cream and a couple jars of O Be Joyful in hand.
     
  15. FarawayFriend

    FarawayFriend Major Silver Patron Trivia Game Winner

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    What a great dessert! I love the combined taste of apples, cinnamon - and rum.
    As some of you know my addiction to whipped cream, may I come and join your dessert party if I'd bring a big bowl of whipped cream?
     
  16. Eleanor Rose

    Eleanor Rose 1st Lieutenant

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    You have an open invitation to visit me anytime! Douglas and I would love to meet you and yours.
     
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  17. Union_Buff

    Union_Buff Major

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    That looks absolutely delicious Eleanor - I hope you do not mind one more guest coming over :smile:
     
  18. christian soldier

    christian soldier First Sergeant

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    Ellie. Thanks for posting your delicious recipe for rum raisin apple brown betty dessert. I love this dessert and it reminds me of the texture of apple crisp. It would be a great dessert to accompany a dinner on a cold fall or winter evening. David.
     
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  19. Shalom Hobbitess

    Shalom Hobbitess Private

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    I gotta try this. I love Brown Betty and have a rum raisin muffin mix we really enjoy, and the combination sounds excellent!

    And thanks for the history, as well!
     
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  20. Eleanor Rose

    Eleanor Rose 1st Lieutenant

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    I'd love for you to join us! The more the merrier!
     
  21. MRB1863

    MRB1863 Captain Forum Host

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    Looks delicious!!!!!
     
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