Apple Betty

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I know, I know – this dessert isn’t a Greek recipe but there is a Greek connection. This recipe comes from an old friend, Byron Ayanoglu. Byron was a client of mine back in my banking days in the 90’s and although Byron is through n’ through a Montrealer, he lived in Toronto at that time.

Byron has written many a cookbook and this recipe can be found in “Byron’s  New Home Cooking”. You can have a peek at some of other books by Byron here. I also own “New Greek Cuisine”, which I highly recommend. Byron currently divides his time between Crete and Montreal and surely entertaining family and friends.

Some of you might have also seen Byron when he guided Anthony Bourdain through Crete when No Reservations visited Greece. I don’t think Byron or Anthony had Apple Betty in Greece but this dessert is good autumn fare for sure.

Apple Betty is a quick baked dessert that can be prepared in the time it takes to pre-heat the oven. This dessert usually contains apples and topped with a sweetened crumb. This wiki-page has more info on a “Betty” and the difference between cobblers, crisps and crumbles.

File this dessert in the quick, easy and for surprise guests folder. Again, the prep-time needed here equals the time it takes for your oven to pre-heat. You have peeled & cored apples cut into slices, brown sugar, walnuts and dried currants or cranberries. The topping won me over with the use of graham cracker crumbs (the kind used for cheesecakes) and melted butter. I served this dessert with a dollop of slightly sweetened whipped cream or you can serve up some good French vanilla ice cream.

As Byron closes in intro: ” The butter can be reduced by half, but the gain to your health will be the palate’s loss”.

Apple Betty

recipe adapted from Byron Ayanoglu

(serves 4-6)

3 apples ( I used Royal Gala)

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 Tbsp. of corn starch

1 tsp. of ground cinnamon

3 Tbsp. of brown sugar

3 Tbsp. of brown sugar

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1 heaping Tbsp. of dried currants or cranberries

1 Tbsp. of room temperature unsalted butter to grease the baking vessel


1 cup (250ml) of graham crackers

1/3 cup unsalted melted butter

2 Tbsp. of brown sugar

  1. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 lemon and transfer to a bowl. Peel and core your apples and cut into 1/2 inch slices. Toss the apples in the lemon juice as you go (so they don’t brown). Sprinkle the cinnamon, corn starch and brown sugar over the apples and gently toss with your hands (don’t break up the apples) until the apples are well-coated. Set aside.
  2. In another bowl, prepare the topping by adding  the graham cracker crumbs and brown sugar. Add the melted butter and mix with a fork until you’ve attained a mealy, paste-like texture.
  3. Empty the apples into your greased baking vessel and add the topping mixture. Spread the topping evenly and gently press down into the apples.
  4. Place in your pre-heated oven for 40-45 minutes or until the top is golden and the apples are fork-tender. Divide and serve immediately with a topping of whipped cream* or French Vanilla ice cream.

*For the whipped cream, I added some vanilla extract and some icing sugar

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© 2007-2010 Peter Minakis

© 2010,
Peter Minakis

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21 Comments for “Apple Betty”


Apple Betty has never looked so good. In the prairies we call it Apple Brown Betty… and it has been a family fav for generations… until this one. I haven’t heard of it now for over 20 years. Apple Crisp has taken over. :)
So, way back in your banking days, eh? What do you do for your new career? Write cookbooks, travel… anything else?


Baaah! That’s not too much butter. Very cool about your old client Byron, too! I am soooooooo making this Betty – but maybe with Digestive biskotakias instead? I just found a whole bunch at the Asian store near my place! WTF it’s awesome!


The weather is turning crisp in my neck of the woods, and what better way than to relish the change in temps than with a warm baked dessert! I made an apple betty when we first moved into our home, the Betty Crocker cookbook i had suggested using old bread cubes or croutons for the topping! Nice save when your kitchen pantry is virtually empty.


This looks so good. I’ve never tried a ‘Betty’, I must admit being rather wedded to the British crumble but I think you may just have convinced me. Delicious, I’m sure. I’d love a big dollop of custard with this!


I am glad your banking days left you with something so delicious! I love the name of it too. I bought loads of apples today, perhaps this is what i will eventually do with them, as baby does’t like them much…


Tis the season….for apple desserts and this one is perfect. Looks like a fabulous, delicious Brown Betty. Now I want to make one.


When the cooler weather hits the comfort foods come out. It seems that the Greek philosophy of cooking is to use what you have available and in season and apple brown betty fits that bill this time of year in Ontario. Baking it in a “vessel” makes it sound like perfect greek food to me:D



Mmmmm. Just right for this drizzly Thessaloniki weather we’ve been having. Sadly, though, I’ve never seen a graham cracker in Greece. Perhaps the local go-to graham cracker substitute, “Digestives” might work for the crumble topping..?


It looks delicious, Peter. I think I’ll go with the full-fat version. I hope all is well and that you are having a great day. Blessings…Mary