We gave a classic dessert a new name, in honor of all the people who have cooked in servitude or fought for social justice over the centuries--and we updated the flavors, too, with almond cookies and a splash of bourbon.
Preheat oven to 375°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil (to catch any drips), and place a 9-inch pie plate or similar ovenproof dish on baking sheet.
Place cookies in a food processor and pulse to fine crumbs. Add 4 tablespoons butter and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Pulse to moist crumbs; set aside.
Peel, core and halve apples. Slice about 1/8 inch thick. In an extra-large skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add apples; toss to coat. Cook, covered, until apples lose their snap, 7 to 9 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add sugar mixture to apples and cook until juices thicken to a syrup, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in bourbon, if using, and lemon zest.
Scatter 1/2 cup of the crumb mixture across the bottom of pie plate. Spoon in one-third of the apples and their syrup. Repeat two more times, using all the apples. Top with remaining crumbs.
Bake, uncovered, until golden brown and juices bubble thickly, about 40 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream or a drizzle of cream. If desired, sprinkle with additional cinnamon.
A pie-size betty is traditional, but if you like, assemble the recipe in individual ovenproof ramekins. Cut the baking time to about 20 minutes.