Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tending A Spring Garden and Savoring a Brown Betty Dessert

A Brown Betty is a traditional American dessert made from fruit (usually apple, but also berries or pears) and sweetened crumbs. Similar to a Cobbler or Apple Crisp, the fruit is baked and in this case the sweetened bread crumbs crumbs are in layers between the fruit. It is usually served with lemon sauce or whipped cream.

The dish was first mentioned in print in 1864. A recipe from 1877 uses apple sauce and cracker crumbs.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Brown Betty is a spring favorite using a combination of strawberries and rhubarb two of spring's first produce. It’s a classic pie combination but a betty is easier to make. If you don’t care for a pie crust, this is even better.

Recipe adapted from Food Network Magazine June 2010
  • 2 cups of rhubarb, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 cups diced strawberries
  • 1 cup panko crumbs
  • 1/2 cup white sugar + 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • pinch ground cloves
  • pinch salt
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 2 TB. cold butter cut into little pieces
  • vanilla ice cream or whip cream for garnish
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Lightly grease a 8 inch baking pan or a pan similar in size 
  • In a large bowl add diced rhubarb, diced strawberries, lemon juice, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon  and 1/2 cup sugar, mix well
  • Combiner panko crumbs, brown sugar, 1/8 cup white sugar, cinnamon, allspice, ground cloves,  nutmeg, almonds and salt in a food processor or blender, mix and add in cubed cold butter, pulse a few times
  • Add half panko mixture on bottom of baking dish, add rhubarb strawberry mixture and top with rest of panko mixture
  • Bake uncovered 25 minutes or until rhubarb is tender-stir once during baking time
  • Serve with ice cream or whip cream

To protect your hostas, especially those growing in pots, cover the soil with used coffee grounds. Not a slug in sight!
In early spring, when hostas are coming up, mix 10 parts water to 1 part ammonia, and pour over plant and soil. This will kill slug larvae.

Besides being a natural slug deterrent research indicates that the pH of coffee grounds have shown results from mildly acid to mildly alkaline which indicates that the pH of the grounds tends towards neutral as it decomposes. Coffee grounds serve as a mulch around blueberries, fruit trees, currants and cane fruit, all with good results.
The natural mold and fungus colonies on coffee “appear to suppress some common fungal rots and wilts.

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