Cranberry Pear Brown Betty

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

I love the combination of textures and flavors in this old-fashioned favorite. When cranberries are in season, I always freeze a bag or two so I can make this wholesome dessert year-round. It’s a great way to use up day-old bread.

Serves6 to 8

Cooking MethodSlow Cooking



Total Timeunder 4 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party

Recipe CourseDessert

Dietary ConsiderationEgg-free, Peanut Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free, Vegetarian

EquipmentCrock Pot, Food Processor

MealDinner, Tea

Taste and TextureFruity, Sweet, Tart

Type of DishDessert


  • 2 cups (500 ml) dry whole wheat bread crumbs (see tips)
  • 2 tablespoons (25 ml) butter, melted, or extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 pears, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 cup (250 ml) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons (25 ml) stevia extract (see Notes)
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) cranberry juice
  • Greased slow cooker stoneware


  1. In a bowl, combine bread crumbs and butter. Set aside.

  2. In a separate bowl, combine pears, cranberries, stevia and lemon juice.

  3. Spread one-third of the bread crumb mixture in prepared stoneware. Layer half the pear mixture over top. Repeat. Finish with a layer of crumbs and pour cranberry juice over top. Cover and cook on High for 4 hours, until fruit is tender and mixture is hot and bubbly.


  1. Works best in a small (3½-quart) slow cooker.

  2. To make dry bread crumbs for this recipe, toast 4 slices of whole wheat bread. Tear into pieces and process in a food processor fitted with a metal blade until finely ground.

  3. Use a light whole wheat loaf for this recipe. Those with a heavy molasses content will overpower the fruit.

  4. Stevia is an herb that is almost 300 times sweeter than ordinary sugar and contains virtually no calories. It is used extensively as a sweetener in Japan. If you don’t have it, use ¼ cup (50 ml) brown sugar (such as Demerara) or evaporated cane juice sugar (such as Sucanat) instead.


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