At The Table: Apple Brown Betty

Feeling the warm humid breeze coming through my open window tonight has me thinking "Autumn, where are you??"
Now don't get me wrong, I know full well that in a few weeks time, I will once again be pining for the warmth of the summer sun and complaining that it has gotten too cold too fast. But tonight as the last week of September creeps up on us, I am yearning for a touch of fall. A cool dry wind, a cozy sweater and a bit of apple goodness!
The Apple Brown Betty is one of my favorites, maybe because it's one of the easiest dishes to whip up in a flash. The heavenly scent of warm apples, brown sugar and cinnamon just so happens to be one of the most inviting smells to envelop your home, perfect to welcome guests (and Autumn!) into your delightful abode! 

Apple Brown Betty

4 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
4 Fuji apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger/1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons dry sherry (optional)
Whipped cream for serving (optional)

Heat oven to 375° F. Lightly butter a 2-quart casserole or baking dish. Stir together bread crumbs and butter; set aside.
Combine apples, brown sugar, lemon juice, ginger, and cinnamon, mixing until well blended. To assemble brown betty, spread 1 cup of buttered bread crumbs in bottom of casserole; top with one third of apple mixture. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon sherry over apple layer, if desired.
Spread another cup bread crumbs and top with half of remaining apples and another tablespoon sherry. Make third layer of one cup of bread crumbs and top with remaining apples and sherry. Spread remaining bread crumbs on top of apples.
Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes; uncover and bake 30 minutes longer. Cool until warm and serve with whipped cream, if desired.