Pear Brown Bettys
BROWN BETTY 'braun 'be-te\a spiced fruit dessert with buttered breadcrumbs or cake-crumb topping that turns golden brown as it cooks. Who was Betty? No one seems to know. Our individual bettys have two layers of Bartlett pears. In between and on top is a blend of torn sourdough bread, butter, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a splash of apple cider.
- 1 (1 pound) loaf sourdough bread, crust removed, bread torn into small pieces
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup apple cider
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 8 (about 3 3/4 pounds) Bartlett pears
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place bread on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring halfway through, until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool completely. Transfer to a resealable plastic bag; seal bag. Coarsely crush with a rolling pin so that the largest pieces are the size of peas.
Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Remove from heat. Stir in breadcrumbs, sugar, spices, salt, 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cider, and the lemon juice. Let stand 10 minutes.
Peel pears; cut into 1/2-inch chunks. Place a heaping 1/2 cup pears in each of 6 small (5-inch) pie plates or ramekins. Top each with 1/4 cup breadcrumb mixture; drizzle each with 1 tablespoon cider. Top with remaining pears, then with remaining breadcrumb mixture.
Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper; cover with foil. Bake 30 minutes. Uncover; bake until topping is browned and juices are bubbling, about 15 minutes. Let cool on sheet on a wire rack 15 minutes before serving.