Brown Betty is such an iconic American dessert. Which is to say, it is a variation of a crumble dessert because so many American desserts conjure some origin in crumbles. Unlike most modern crumbles, a brown betty layers sweetened crumbles on both the bottom and the top. Because let's be real- the only reason anyone eats a crumble is for the crumble.
On this modern take of an old-fashioned confection, I swapped the traditional graham crumbles with pretzels. They add notes of barley and saltiness and of course, crunch. The filling is the ultimate banana pudding. It's insanely creamy and the vanilla custard melts in your mouth. I drizzled mine with a bit of melted dark chocolate but feel free to get creative here- caramel, whipped cream, ice cream, fruit syrups, you name it.
2 cups [235 grams] pretzel crumbs (just throw them in a food processor!]
1/3 cup [85 grams] light brown sugar
10 tablespoons [140 grams] butter, melted
1 egg yolk
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cup [380 grams] whole milk
1 whole egg
1/3 cup [90 grams] granulated sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon corn starch
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
On the sidelines:
4 large bananas, sliced
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In the first bowl, combine everything. Divide in half. Press one half of the crust mixture into the bottom of a standard 9-inch pie pan. Set aside.
Pour the milk from the second bowl into a medium saucepan. Over medium-low heat, heat the milk until it barely simmers.
In the third bowl, whisk everything together. Pour half the warmed milk into the bowl and whisk quickly. Pour this bowl back into the saucepan with the remaining milk and whisk to thoroughly combine.
Place the saucepan back over medium-low heat and whisk constantly. The custard should thicken nicely and begin to create bubbles after a few minutes. Pull off the heat.
Stir the sliced bananas into the hot custard. Pour this mixture into the pie pan with the bottom crust already in place and spread evenly. Top with the remaining crust mixture.
Bake for 30 minutes. The crust should be nicely browned. Let cool.