Town, I read your post about Spinach pasta and I understand the sentiment – sometimes life just runs away carrying off the best of our intentions and a person is left picking up the pieces. That was my week too.
Every day this week, Sweet Baboo and I ate out. Long work days and errands made it impossible to be home before bedtime. That meant that all the groceries in the larder weren’t depleted this weekend and it was time to figure out what to do with some of the more perishable items. My lunch is generally a big Gala apple dipped in just a little dulce de leche. Even though I had counted out the days, somehow I still had 4 apples left. Thinking about my mom’s pies, I knew what I had to do:
We had Apple Betty several times for dessert when I was growing up. I loved it – the thick, crunchy-edged, chewy oatmeal crust was the perfect foil for tender apples marinating in their own juice and nestled amongst tiny tapioca pearls underneath. When I left home, I asked mom many times about how to make it and she never could recall what she did. After many futile attempts to find the recipe in old cookbooks and on the internet, I started to wonder if the reason mom couldn’t send me the recipe was because it was her invention. I’d just have to figure it out myself. Ever one for a challenge, I kept experimenting until this rendition came out of the oven. It’s just right!
We made a lot of apple juice this fall. Sweet Baboo drinks a big glass of it every morning to wash down his breakfast muffin. The glass he uses only holds about 3 cups, so there is generally a jar with 1 cup of juice in it on a refrigerator shelf every other day. Out it came.
Now is the tricky part. Sweet Baboo has professed an overriding loathing for tapioca. HEARTBREAKING, no? So I have to be quiet.
I love tapioca. Like wild rice, it expands tremendously, so a little goes a long way. Don’t make my mistake and think that more is more. Putting more than 1/8 cup in this recipe means you have a dessert full of tooth-breaking white miniature golf balls that you have to throw out – it won’t be edible. Trust me, I’ve done it and the outcome is nothing short of grisly.
Ok, pour the tapioca into the apple juice.
One hour later, the tiny beads will have grown:
Now the rest of the dessert can be assembled. Grab a stick of butter.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine
- 1 1/2 cups oatmeal
- 1/2 cup maple syrup (or either white or brown sugar)
- 2 Tbsp melted butter
While it would be easy to make this dessert in a nice round casserole and make it family-style, I prefer individual servings. This WILL bubble over in the oven, so place a sheet of aluminum foil on a baking sheet underneath the serving dish of your choice to catch any bubbly overruns.
Now put a scant spoonful of the oatmeal mixture in the bottom of each dish, or enough to spottily cover the bottom. This helps to soak up some of the juices during cooking.
It’s time to spoon the tapioca AND juice in evenly over the oatmeal.
It’s time to turn the oven on so it can preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Now for the beauteous apples.
Quarter, core and then dice the apples. Add them to the dish.
Now carefully top the apples with the remaining oatmeal mixture.
Put the Apple Betty in the oven and set a timer for 1 hour.