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Apple Brown Betty Was A Favorite Dessert Of President And Mrs. Reagan


National Apple Betty Day, an American food holiday, is observed each year on October 5.

Similar to what is known as apple crisp, crumble or cobbler, the American variant known as the Betty or Brown Betty dates from colonial times.  Apple Betty (sometimes called Apple Brown Betty) is made with crumbs, apples, cinnamon, sugar and sometimes other ingredients.

A Betty consists of a fruit, most commonly apples, baked between layers of buttered crumbs. Betties are an English pudding dessert closely related to the French apple charlotte. Betty was a popular baked pudding made during colonial times in America.

  • The name seems to have first appeared in print in 1864, when an article in the Yale Literary Magazine listed it (in quotation marks, implying that it was not then a fully established term) with tea, coffee, and pies as things to be given up during ‘training’. That author wrote 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 a proper name.
  • Apple Brown Betty was one of the favorite desserts of Ronald and Nancy Reagan in the White House.
  • Brown Betty (1890) – This recipe was part of the winning essay for the $500 American Public health Association Lomb prize on practical, Sanitary, and Economic Cooking Adapted to persons of Moderate and Small Means, which became a book of the same title by Mrs. Mary Hinman Abel. It was part of a series of menus to feed a family on thirteen cents a day. Mrs. Abel may have carried the recipe into use the New England Kitchen, an experimental Boston restaurant aimed at “improving” the food choices of the poor.


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