Gluten-free Apple Brown Betty

We went to Boston a few months ago at a time when we were considering whether or not we would move to Connecticut. Naturally, while there, we checked out some of the historical sites particularly the Old State House. There weren’t many of us there as it was winter time – really just 4 of us in the museum including the tour guide. I tried to listen though I have done the tour before and occasionally nod when the guide said something to encourage her and let her know that at least one person was listening to her talk.

William was there but I thought he wasn’t listening at all but just waiting for the guide to finish until I heard him ask a follow-up question to the museum guide that related to something about King James II. I must have lost track of what they were talking about at that point but I was certainly amused that my little boy took such a keen interest on both the history of the UK and his country, the USA and even managed to ask quite an intelligent question which probably also surprised the guide.

We did a little shopping and I got myself a Boston fridge magnet in one of the shops – hubby and I collect fridge magnets from all the places that we visit. Easier than plates or mugs! When we were in the museum shop of the Old State House I caught sight of a cookbook entitled, “Our Founding Foods.” Being a food blogger I naturally got interested and browsed the book. It turned out they were doing a clearance sale on it and it was being sold for about $2.  Without second thoughts, I grabbed the book which I thought may be an interesting read. After all, it was also very cheap.

Yesterday, I got a bagful of apples from our neighbor who had a particularly prolific Apple Tree. She said the tree drops about 50-70 apples a day and they have to give them away as they have too much of them. I was glad to accept her offer and at the same time delighted to actually meet one of our neighbors who lives just a few houses away on our block.

I then remembered this book and thought, perhaps there’s a vintage apple recipe that I can adopt to make an apple dessert, True enough, I found a wonderful and easy recipe for Apple Brown Betty. I essentially used the technique as stated in the book though I tweaked the ingredients and the amount and modified it to make it a gluten-free dessert so that hubby can enjoy it. Well, it was gone soon and even my kiddos who don’t particularly enjoy nuts and coconuts (for my gluten-free version) were surprised that they liked it.

Here it is! Enjoy!


6 large Granny Smith Apples (or other tart apples)
3 Tablespoons, melted Butter plus 1-2 Tablespoons Butter cut into bits
1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground Cloves
3/4 cup Brown Sugar
Grated rind of 1 Lemon or 2 teaspoons dried Orange peel granules
3/4 cup finely shredded Coconut*
3/4 cup ground Almonds*

*Next time, I will try a combo of oatmeal and gluten-free flour, too.


Preheat the oven to 350F.

Pare, core and slice the apples and then stew (simmer) in a pot with barely enough water to cover until soft. Add the melted butter, spices, sugar and lemon rind (or dried orange peel).

Mash until you achieve a chunky sauce.

Combine the coconut and ground almonds.

In a buttered pie dish (I used a square baking dish), put a layer of half of the coconut and almond mixture, the the apple filling and then the remaining coconut mixture on top.

Dot the top with the remaining bits of butter. Bake for about 30-40 minutes until bubbly and nicely browned.

Serve warm with pouring cream or preferably with vanilla ice cream.

If you wish to print the recipe, there’s a print-friendly icon at the end of the post. Click on the “remove images box” for easy printing.

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Last updated on October 1st, 2019 at 09:55 am



  1. June 12, 2015 / 12:32 pm

    Gorgeous Apple Brown Betty! And what a great gift, free apples…. My grandmother used to make this all the time, though hers was not gluten-free. We live in New England near Boston and enjoy all the history and the city. Paul Revere is my hero, and we especiallylove the historic Green Dragon Tavern….

  2. June 12, 2015 / 1:22 pm

    You seriously leave me drooling EVERY time Abigail! This is no different!

  3. June 12, 2015 / 6:41 pm

    What a great find. It was $2 well spent, especially after finding a keeper of a recipe in the cookbook. And kudos to you for remembering to use it–I've brought back several cookbooks from my travels and to date, I think I've only ever used one recipe from all those cookbooks. Apple desserts are among my favorites–this one's a keeper.

  4. June 12, 2015 / 7:50 pm

    I would love to have a bowl of this! I am a huge fan of warming something like this up with a big scoop of ice cream. You have officially made me hungry!

  5. June 12, 2015 / 7:57 pm

    I love old unique book finds like that and the recipe that emerged looks amazing!

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