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This old-fashioned baked dessert uses up a lot of bread crumbs, but it’s fine to mix and match types of bread. You can even use sweet breads, like cinnamon raisin or Hawaiian, to make these crumbs. For the fruit, this is an anything-goes sort of recipe, like crisp or trifle. Whatever you choose, core, pit, and peel it and dice it into bite-sized pieces. If you’re using frozen fruit, don’t thaw it before baking.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: baking, bread, dessert
Servings: 6 to 9 servings
Author: Jill Lightner


  • cup butter melted, plus more for the pan
  • 3 cups bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 3 cups bite-sized fruit pieces
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour or tapioca starch
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon or ground ginger


  • In a small bowl, combine the butter and bread crumbs, stirring to coat the crumbs. Sprinkle on the sugar and stir briefly. Butter an 8-inch-square baking pan and sprinkle 1 cup of the bread-crumb mixture on the bottom of the baking pan.
  • In a medium bowl, toss the fruit with the lemon juice, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Spread half of the mixture on top of the bread crumbs in the baking pan, then sprinkle another cup of crumbs on top. Spread the remaining fruit on top of this layer and sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup crumbs. Gently press down on the layers.
  • Cover with foil and bake for about 25 minutes until the fruit is bubbling, then remove the foil and bake, uncovered, for 8 to 12 minutes until the top layer of crumbs is crisp and deep golden brown. Serve warm.
  • Brown Betty is best eaten the same day it’s made, but it can be reheated (uncoverein a 300° oven until hot through.