Brown Betty 90/100

This is now my 90th re-created wartime recipe. Just 10 more to cook by October 1st. I am kind of getting a little sad about that…

Of all the 1940s desserts, I’ve absolutely fallen in love with all the variations of stale bread puddings, during this year. It’s not only the sweet comforting taste, but knowing that I’ve not wasted food and turned something I normally would have thrown out into a delicious pudding, enough to feed everyone.

It was unusual to make a bread pudding without raisins in, Brown Betty has none, no eggs or milk either which makes me think all bread puddings could indeed be made eggless. Instead it has water, the juice and zest of a lemon and a generous quantity of golden syrup, spices, two grated apples, a little sugar and of course LOTS of stale bread!

Last night I ate Brown Betty for my dinner and my pudding. I still have an issue with being in control enough to resist the foods I am allowed, if they are lying around. So when I make a dish like this, I accept that if it doesn’t all get eaten up by everyone at dinner, then it will be me that will polish it off. I make allowances for that and consequently probably only make a dessert once or twice a week!

I loved the lemon in this Brown Betty recipe, lifted the pudding and tasted delicious accompanied by my jam sauce which made the whole thing taste rather like marmalade.

Duke pudding, bread pudding and bread and apple pudding are some of my favourite 1940s puddings I have cooked this year!

Brown Betty

  • 8-10 slices of stale bread
  • 2 large apples
  • 3 tablespoons of golden syrup (6 tablespoons in North America)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground or grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 oz margarine
  • small teacup of water
  • 1 lemon


  1. Brush a pie dish or tin with melted margarine (I used a 9 inch square tin)
  2. Put a layer of stale breadcrumbs in the bottom
  3. Cover with a layer of grated apples (leave skins on)
  4. Drizzle 1/2 the golden syrup over the apples (if you don’t have golden syrup an alternative like maple syrup will work well)
  5. Dot with margarine and sprinkle with the spices mixed together and the grated rind of half the lemon
  6. Repeat the layers and everything above  and then add a final layer of stale breadcrumbs on top dotted with margarine.
  7. Mix the juice of the lemon with the small teacup of water and pour over the pudding
  8. Finally sprinkle with a few teaspoons of sugar
  9. Cook in a medium oven 180 C for 45 – 60 minutes
  10. Serves 6

“This post is part of Twinkl’s VE Day Campaign, and is featured in their Best Wartime Recipes to Celebrate VE Day from Home post”

18 thoughts on “Brown Betty 90/100

  1. I must say I am getting a bit sad too, now that the end is in sight. I have been following your blog since I found it through the post in The Awl, back in November 2011. The recipes have been great, but most inspiring is your positivity in the face of challenge, and your commitment, not just to success but to the experience (despite the inevitable and the unexpected curveballs). I do hope that you keep the blog going when you have achieived your goal – even if you change the focus to your next challenge.

    • Thank you Ang and yes I will.. with recipes and lots of 1940s research and not only that perhaps moving the focus more to mending and making do as well as still recording my weight loss as there will still be a fair bit to lose! This blog is now my way of life… I NEED to be able to do it !! C xxxx

  2. It looks delicious! I have some stale bread, so this will be the perfect way to use it.

    You have done so much for us, that I thought it was time somebody did something for you. I have a short video I think you will love.

    A 32-year old gentleman in the UK has decided to live in the 1940s. I agree with him so much that he could be my brother. 🙂

  3. BTW, I tried this recipe today, and it really is delicious. I think it tastes very much like hot apple pie, or maybe a baked apple. 🙂

  4. That video was fantastic, it’s like looking at myself, or more aptly, looking at how i’d like to be. I have the house of the right vintage, just need to take it back a bit!!! Weird, just like Ben I’m also a flighty, between you, Caroline, and ben I’m feeling very motivated.

  5. you basically did my homework we are doing about ww2 rations at the moment and I have found a site that I can just keep on going back to.thanks!

  6. Wonderful video. I agree, I dislike modern things, they break, and most are pretty useless in the end. I may not have a 1940’s home but I do most everything by hand and all my food is cooked from scratch and always will be.

  7. Just made this! It’s delicious, as good as any crumble. The lemon and cinnamon really make it. I am making this with the children in my Year 5 class as part of DT and our history topic on World War 2. Amazing what you can make with left overs! Thank you for the recipe

  8. My 2 favourite puddings of all time are Summer Pudding and Brown Betty

    Brown Betty is a great way of using up stale bread so it’s economical as well as delicious and I cook it with just about any fruit as I grow my own. I have tried rhubarb, blackberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, gooseberries, raspberries, greengages, quince, plums, in fact any fruit I grow goes into it. I have also made this in the slow cooker as a softer pudding & it’s still good.

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