The old-fashioned American dessert Brown Betty has been traced back to Colonial times and may have English origins. The dish is traditionally made with spiced fruit and sweetened bread crumbs, and has a crunchy texture and rich, buttery flavor. The most familiar type, Apple Brown Betty, is made with brown sugar and sliced apples, and served with whipped cream. This recipe yields six to eight servings of Apple Brown Betty, but the recipe is easily doubled or tripled for a larger batch if necessary.
Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven, and preheat the oven to 375º Fahrenheit.
Spray a two-quart souffle dish with cooking spray, and set aside.
Spread the breadcrumbs evenly on a baking sheet, and then toast for about 10 minutes in the oven, or until they're light golden brown in color. Remove the sheet from the oven, and allow the crumbs to cool completely.
Combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, ground cinnamon, grated nutmeg and toasted breadcrumbs in a large mixing bowl. Add the apple slices to the mixture, and toss until well-coated.
Spread one-third of the apple and breadcrumb mixture evenly in the prepared baking dish. Dot one-third of the butter on top of the mixture in the pan. Repeat twice more to create three layers, finishing with the butter.
Place the pan in the preheated oven, and bake for about an hour, until the apples are tender and the breadcrumbs are golden brown in color.
Remove the Apple Brown Betty from the oven. Allow it to cool for 15 to 20 minutes, and serve warm. Garnish with a drizzle of whipped cream, if desired. Store leftovers, covered, in the refrigerator for up to a week.