Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Peach Brown Bettys

I can't believe I haven't posted this recipe yet! What was I thinking? I was like blah blah blah cocktails, blah blah blah quinoa and all its boring protein, blah blah blah presto pesto. But let's be honest - dessert is what we're all here for, right? I thought so.

I've been such a slacker.

I think part of it is that I gained several pounds when my parents and nephew recently visited for a week.

Another part is that I got SEVEN BAGS OF LEAFY GREENS in our first CSA share last week, so I've been sort of preoccupied with trying to use those up in blog-worthy, beautiful concoctions.

So I haven't been making as many desserts lately. But "not as many" is not the same as "none".

So here we are.

And what I have to share with you, actually, is one of the more interesting and remarkable desserts I've happened to make, maybe ever. As of a couple weeks ago, I'd never heard of a brown betty before. (Only surf bettys, because I grew up in the surfingest county in California: Santa Cruz.) But then the Smitten Kitchen featured a lovely little brown buttered brown betty recipe with strawberries that piqued my interest. Except that browning butter seemed like more work than I was up for on the day I made these. And I don't love cooked strawberries. So I went straight to the source and crafted these here darlings.

These are what I ended up making for my little dinner gathering with the peachy quinoa salad and feta sandwiches and round two of the St. Germain cocktails. They turned out delicious and attractive and were a perfect follow-up to a light, picnicky meal. Basically, they're like a buttery, unabashedly sweet, fruit-filled pastry. Topped with cinnamon whipped cream, they are nothing short of wonderful.

You should probably make them.

Peach Brown Bettys with Cinnamon Whipped Cream
Adapted from Gourmet, April 2009
Yield: 6 little lovelies

3/4 stick unsalted butter, melted (plus more for greasing muffin cups)
1 tablespoon cinnamon-sugar (you can buy this at store or just mix 3-1/2 teaspoons sugar with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon)
7 slices fresh white bread, crusts removed (I used vanilla challah and it was wonderful; I bet King's Hawaiian bread would be super good as well)
3 peaches (or nectarines), coarsely chopped
1/3 cup brown sugar (or regular sugar, in a pinch)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Using a blender or food processor, pulse one slice of the white bread to make coarse crumbs. Spread crumbs evenly on a baking sheet and bake in oven for 10-15 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside.

Meanwhile, lightly butter six of a muffin tin's muffin cups, then sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.

Roll remaining six bread slices with a rolling pin to flatten. Brush both sides with melted butter, then gently fit into muffin cups. (This is a little trickier than it sounds, but totally doable. Just anticipate that it will take slightly more time than you imagined, and don't freak out of they don't look beautiful in the cups before they are filled and baked into the beautiful brown bettys that they will soon be.)

In a small bowl, stir together peaches, brown sugar and cinnamon, tossing to coat. Stir in the bread crumbs and remaining melted butter. Heap peach mixture evenly into cups.

Cover pan with foil and bake 15 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 minutes more. Let stand 5 minutes before removing from pan. To remove them, run a thin spatula or knife around the edges. Serve warm or at room temperature, topped with cinnamon whipped cream. (They are better warm. But don't tell my guests that. I don't want them to know they got the short end of the stick.)

To make Cinnamon Whipped Cream: in a cold mixing bowl, beat on high speed half a cup of heavy whipping cream with 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon until fluffy and wonderful. Chill until ready to use.


  1. I want Brown Betty right now!!!

    So pretty and so tasty (I'd be willing to bet)!!

    I think I could keep this low-cal too, if I go easy on the butter! :)

  2. Edith, I'm sorry that I've never commented on how absolutely beautiful your photos are (and always are). Seriously, you are like a professional blogger lady. With professional pictures. You're so all-around talented, and I love you.

  3. Lisa - they aren't too bad for you as far as desserts go. I wouldn't go too easy on the butter though. The butter's what makes them taste like French pastries.

  4. Nicole, thank you thank you thank you! And I love YOU!