A Betty is a 19th century pudding invented, I assume, to help people use up stale bread. It consists of layers of fruit and crispy breadcrumbs, and has been a revelatory discovery for me - I just adore the crunchy breadcrumb topping, made rich and luxurious with the addition of a large amount of butter!
Melt 85g/3oz of butter in a heavy frying pan, then add 115g/4oz of white breadcrumbs. In reality my bag of breadcrumbs, kept in the freezer, is made up of all manner of types of bread as I can't bear to throw anything away, so I can say with confidence that any breadcrumbs will be fine! Fry until golden brown and crispy. At this point you could also add some spices as flavourings. I added nutmeg, plus a tablespoon of demerara sugar as I felt this would add a pleasing crunch.
As this pudding will have 45 minutes in the oven you don't really need to pre-stew the fruit. The recipe says to use raw rhubarb when you start layering the pudding, so I just cut the apples (about 450g/1lb) into fairly thin slices (also peeled and cored), before mixing them with 85g of soft brown sugar (you may need more for tarter fruit).
Layer fruit in the bottom of an ovenproof dish, top with crispy breadcrumbs, then another layer of fruit. Finish with more breadcrumbs, then cover with foil. Bake in a preheated oven at 180C/350F/gas 4 for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and continue cooking for a further 20 5-30 minutes until the top is brown and crisp and the fruit soft.
We served this with vanilla ice-cream.
Definitely my favourite apple pudding so far this year!