Ooh ’er Betty

Photo: Meryl White
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Mention the name ‘Betty’ in Yorkshire and we’re dreaming of any one of the several smart tearooms across the region which bear the name ‘Bettys’ (note to all our new proofreaders – there’s no possessive apostrophe). The story behind Bettys starts with a young Swiss baker / confectioner who landed in Yorkshire in 1907 and went on to create an amazing Swiss-British venture and a legacy of mouthwatering cakes and teas, which lives on over 100 years after the first shop opened in 1919 in Harrogate.

But we also have an old Yorkshire recipe which shares this renowned name. This week, I’ve been making the most of a sudden glut of rhubarb to serve up ‘Rhubarb Betty’. Rhubarb is very easy to grow and harvest and requires little attention throughout spring and summer. It’s tasty and nutritious and you can freeze any surplus for use in the winter months.

This delectable dessert makes a change from a traditional crumble dish. You can make it with any seasonal fruit such as apples, blackberries, gooseberries, plums and apricots.

Rhubarb Betty

What you need :

6–8 sticks of rhubarb

2 oz /50g soft brown sugar

4oz /110g fresh white breadcrumbs

2oz /50g butter

2 0z/50g demerara sugar

2 tbps dessicated coconut (optional)

Grated zest of 1 lemon or orange

2 tsps ground ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

Prepare the rhubarb :

Wash the rhubarb and cut into chunks. Place on a baking tray. Sprinkle the sugar on top. Bake in the oven (325F, Mark 3, 160C, 140C fan) for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, retaining a few pieces for decoration.

To make the crumble :

Turn the oven to 350F, Mark 4, 180C, 160C fan.  Melt the butter in a pan and mix with the breadcrumbs. Stir in the demerara sugar, coconut, lemon or orange zest, ginger and cinnamon. Put half the cooked rhubarb in a greased 2.5 pint / 1 litre dish. Cover with half the crumble mixture. Add the remaining rhubarb (saving a few pieces for decoration) and then the other half of the crumble mixture. Finally, top with the remaining few pieces of rhubarb. Bake for 35–40 minutes until golden. Serve with custard, ice cream, crème fraiche or yoghurt.

‘Ooh ’er, Betty …?’ – now where else did we hear that?

You can read more about Grandma Abson’s life, her passion for baking and recipes HERE. Or head over to @potsaway on Instagram to check out how Meryl and Patrick are back once again cooking together apart in #lockdown in Yorkshire and London.

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