Grumble, grunt, slump, cobbler, crisp, and brown betty . . . oh my! Without a doubt, juicy summer berries tempted more shoppers than the peach, their summertime rival, at last week’s outing to a farmer’s market. With high nutrient and fiber levels, who could ignore these sweet gems of summer. I couldn’t! After purchasing three pints of blackberries and three pints of yellow and red raspberries, the only thing harder than trying not to eat them on the drive home was trying to decide what to make with them.
My husband’s East Coast origins cried out for me to make a grumble, grunt, slump, cobbler or crisp, but never having made a brown betty before, I wanted to try making one. With its origin dating back to colonial days, a traditional and popular brown betty is made of alternating layers of buttered crumbs (bread or graham crackers) and layers of sweetened and spiced apples. That sounds perfectly delicious, but after reading Martha Stewart’s recipe for Berry Brown Betty, with its two types of raspberries and brioche breadcrumbs, this recipe won hands down. Who could resist the rich butter and egg flavor of brioche combined with fresh-picked berries? Not me!
Berry Brown Betty
Recipe by Martha Stewart
3 cups fresh raspberries (red and golden, if available)
1-1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 cups fresh brioche breadcrumbs (about 6 ounces)
1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Sweetened whipped cream, for serving
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix all but 1/4 cup berries with lemon juice, and set aside to macerate. Brush four 6-ounce ramekins with 1 tablespoon butter; coat inside of each with granulated sugar, and set aside.
2. In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs with remaining 4 tablespoons butter, and set aside. Sprinkle the brown sugar, flour, and nutmeg over raspberries, and gently toss to combine. Divide one-third of breadcrumbs evenly among ramekins. Top with half the berries, and then with another third of breadcrumbs. Repeat with remaining berries and breadcrumbs. Gently press down on layers.
3. Bake until the crumbs are golden and berry juices are bubbling, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool 5 minutes.
4. Invert ramekins onto serving plates. Remove ramekins, and top each dessert with whipped cream; garnish with reserved berries.
1. I purchased fresh brioche rolls at Whole Foods and made breadcrumbs out of them using my food processor.
2. Taste your berries before adding the sugar. If they are deliciously sweet, you will not need to add all the sugar specified. If they are not as sweet as you’d like them to be, you may need to add more sugar than specified.
3. It required more than one tablespoon of sugar to coat all four ramekins.
4. Although not necessary, I combined the brown sugar, flour and nutmeg in a bowl before sprinkling them over the berries. Doing this allowed for more even distribution of the dry ingredients.
5. I needed more buttered brioche breadcrumbs than the recipe specified – probably because I’m not good at estimating amounts!
Enjoy this simple summer dessert!