Crisp autumn days mean one thing: apple season. Cooks have fashioned apples into tasty desserts since medieval times, and for good reason. Apples hold up well to cooking, are readily available and are delicious when combined with sugar and cinnamon. Apple Betty and apple crisp are often confused, but are completely different desserts. Apple Betty has a bread crumb topping; apple crisp has an oatmeal, butter and spice topping. For best results, always use baking apples, such as Jonathan, McIntosh, Pink Lady, Jonagold and Braeburn. Combine two apple varieties together for a more complex flavor.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine the sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and orange peel in a bowl. Add the sliced apples and stir until they are coated with the sugar mixture. Add the orange juice and stir again.
Spray the baking dish with cooking spray.
Spread 1/2 the bread crumbs over the bottom of the pan to form a 1/2-inch layer.
Drizzle 1/4 cup melted butter over the bread crumbs.
Spread the apples over the bread crumbs evenly with a spoon.
Spread the rest of the bread crumbs over the apples.
Drizzle with the remaining butter.
Bake at 350 degrees F. for 25 minutes or until the apples are tender and the topping is slightly brown.