Dorothy was right. There’s truly no place like home.
 Plum Brown Betty
Our weekend in Wichita was joyfully jam-packed with the hometown trifecta of family, friends, and food. We boogied at my cousin’s wedding (I had no idea that my uncle John could move like that),  took advantage of $2 taps and free pool at our local bar, and BBQed like champions.
Hubby + Yours Truly on the dance floor. 
A moment when we each realize what huge, lovable dorks we married.
My RANGER COOKIES were a smash hit, but the true culinary stars of the weekend were my step dad’s baked beans (thank you Paula Dean for the recipe) and my Grammy’s dishes: her signature mac ‘n’ cheese andblackberry-peach cobbler with pecan praline streusel, caramel bourbon sauce, and blackberry puree, à la mode. Sound over the top? I went back for seconds.
The saddest part about boarding the plane back to Wisconsin was saying goodbye. The second saddest part was not being able to carry on leftovers.

Despite two full rounds of Grammy’s blackberry-peach decadence at dinner, plus a few sneaky spoonfuls at breakfast the next morning (cobbler is basically fruit with granola, right?), I simply didn’t gobble enough to satisfy my cobbler craving. I arrived back in Madison, longing for another bowl.
Though my Grammy’s cobbler was over-indulgent in the most “this is so worth it” way, I wanted to create something moderately more, well, moderate for Ben and I to enjoy this week. This PLUM BROWN BETTY from Eating Well turned out to be one of my favorite finds of the summer! A close cousin to bread pudding, crisp, and cobbler, a brown betty is perhaps one of the easiest desserts to prepare but boasts an outstanding taste. Brown betties are a long-standing American dessert made from layers of fruit and sweetened crumbs. It may sound odd, but magic happens with the ingredients mingle in the oven. The result is a hot, sweet, slightly spiced dessert that lets the fruit’s flavor shine. Ben and I absolutely loved our brown betty with plums and whole-wheat breadcrumbs, but feel free to substitute your favorite fruit and be creative with the crumb layer. An 1877 brown betty used apples and saltine crackers!
Plum Brown Betty
One bite, and you’ll know why this baby has lasted more than 150 years!
makes 6 servings
  • 6 c. ripe but firm plums, cut into 1/2 in. slices (I left the peels on, but remove if desired)
  • 1/3 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1 T. orange juice
  • 2 c. whole-wheat fresh breadcrumbs*
  • 1/4 c. packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 c. walnuts, toasted and choppe
  • 2 T. butter, melted
*Ingredient tip: To make fresh breadcrumbs, tear bread slices and pulse in the food processor until reduced to crumb-size. 1 slice makes about 1/2 c. breadcrumbs.
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. 
  2. Prepare filling: Toss plums with 1/3 c. brown sugar and orange juice in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. Prepare topping: Toss breadcrumbs, 1/4 c. brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl until combined.
  4. Coat a 9-inch shallow glass or ceramic baking dish with cooking spray. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the topping into the bottom of the dish. Top with half of the fruit. Sprinkle another 1/2 cup topping over the fruit, then top with the remaining fruit. Bake for 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, toss the remaining topping with walnuts and butter until combined. 
  6. After 30 minutes, remove the brown betty from the oven and sprinkle the breadcrumb-walnut mixture on top. Return to oven and bake until the fruit is bubbly and the crumbs are browned, 30 to 40 minutes more. 
  7. Let cool for about 20 minutes before serving. Top with vanilla ice cream if desired.

Serving-size tip: I halved the recipe and baked in a small dish, reducing the cooking time by about 10 minutes in Step 4 and Step 6. It was the perfect treat for two, with a bit leftover