Blackberries and Dumplings

Author: Meera, February 21, 2013


I dug up ensnarled blackberry vines yesterday and threw the lot into a bucket for replanting elsewhere on the farmette. Originally planted next to a fence, the vines had, over the last year, tangled into the roses and lavender that I had planted too near to them. Blackberry vines have a habit of spreading.


While cutting the vines, I recalled the blackberries and dumplings that my grandmother used to make in her small, but utilitarian farm kitchen near Booneville, Missouri.


We would set off in the early  morning to gather the blackberries that grew in thickets around the farm. When our galvanized pails of berries grew heavy, we’d trudge back to the farmhouse.


My job was to wash the berries while my grandmother took a blue-striped yellow ware mixing bowl from the old Hoosier cabinet and began assembling the dry ingredients to make dumplings.


Dumpling ingredients:


1 cup all-purpose white flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup, plus 1 Tablespoon sugar

1 large egg (with yolk separated from egg white)

2/3 cup buttermilk

3 Tablespoons of butter (2T for dumpling batter, 1T for skillet)

Two pints of freshly washed blackberries


Directions for making the dumplings:


Combine flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and a Tablespoon of the sugar.

Mix together in another bowl the egg yolk, buttermilk, and 2 Tablespoons of butter.

Slowly combine the wet ingredients into the dry.

Beat the egg white until peaks rise and then fold it into the dumpling batter.


Directions for cooking:


In a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium high heat, melt  1 Tablespoon of butter. Using a large spoon, drop half dozen or so of the dumpling batter into the butter and cook about five minutes until both sides are brown. Remove this batch and repeat until all batter is cooked. Then set the dumplings aside.


Pour the blackberries into the skillet with 1 cup sugar. Mix together until the berries and sugar simmer and then reduce the heat. Position the dumplings on top of the blackberries and cook for ten minutes. The dessert is best served warm.  Serves 4 to 6.




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