Mum’s Recipe for Michaelmas Dumplings

Mum’s Recipe for Michaelmas Dumplings – My mum’s recipe for fluffy apple filled dumplings that are cooked with seasonal blackberries. This is a wonderful way to end an autumn meal, whether it be for the family during the week or a celebratory dinner party. Serve these dumplings with fresh pouring cream or home-made custard. 


Michaelmas Dumplings


Michaelmas Dumplings

And so the brambling continues in earnest….each day I spy a new cluster of plump, glistening blackberries in the hedgerows near our home. And each day I pop out to gather what I can before this loveliest of harvests is gone, always leaving some for the birds too of course. Today’s recipe for Mum’s Recipe for Michaelmas Dumplings is a classic…..a comforting recipe from my childhood, as mum would make these fluffy little dumplings every Michaelmas, or when the blackberries were in season, but definitely before Devil Spits Day* of course. This is a wonderful way to end an autumn meal, whether it be for the family during the week or a celebratory dinner party. I like to serve these dumplings with fresh pouring cream or home-made custard, which always gets gasps of appreciation from the assembled diners.


Michaelmas Dumplings

I’ve shared this recipe before, many years ago here, Michaelmas, Blackberries, Devils Spit Day and Michaelmas Dumplings. But, I thought it was time to update the photos and also add the recipe to one of my printable recipe cards, as shared below. The recipe was originally published by me in Country Kitchen Magazine, in October 2009, and proved to be very popular with the readers at the time, and as it still does when I make the recipe for my friend and family nowadays. In my article at the time, I also explained what Devil’s Spit Day was, which I will share again here, for your interest and curiosity, as it is a wonderful old country custom and piece of folklore which has some practical advice attached to it, as you will see below.


I have always loved this time of year and am fascinated with the ancient feast and festivals that surround this now mostly forgotten date. Although Michaelmas is celebrated on the 29th September, when the calendar was reformed in 1752, “Old Michaelmas Day” was moved to the 10th October. Old Michaelmas Day is also called “Devil Spits Day”; it’s the last day that blackberries should be picked, according to old British folklore. This is known as the day that the Devil came to earth; he fell from the skies, straight onto a blackberry bush, whereupon he cursed the fruit, scorched them with his fiery breath, stamped on them and then spat on them making them unfit to eat! Although in my experience, they are usually a little past their sell by date by this stage, a bit “blown” or maggoty! An old Irish proverb says: “On Michaelmas Day the devil puts his foot on blackberries”

I have always loved this time of year and am fascinated with the ancient feast and festivals that surround this now mostly forgotten date. Although Michaelmas is celebrated on the 29th September, when the calendar was reformed in 1752, “Old Michaelmas Day” was moved to the 10th October. Old Michaelmas Day is also called Devil Spits Day*, and it’s the last day that blackberries should be picked, according to old British folklore. This is known as the day that the Devil came to earth. He fell from the skies straight onto a blackberry bush, whereupon he cursed the fruit, scorched them with his fiery breath, stamped on them and then spat on them making them unfit to eat. Although in my experience, they are usually a little past their sell-by date by this stage, a bit “blown” or maggoty, so practical and sage advice I think. Indeed there’s an old Irish proverb that says “On Michaelmas Day the devil puts his foot on blackberries” So, it must be true!


I have always loved this time of year and am fascinated with the ancient feast and festivals that surround this now mostly forgotten date. Although Michaelmas is celebrated on the 29th September, when the calendar was reformed in 1752, “Old Michaelmas Day” was moved to the 10th October. Old Michaelmas Day is also called “Devil Spits Day”; it’s the last day that blackberries should be picked, according to old British folklore. This is known as the day that the Devil came to earth; he fell from the skies, straight onto a blackberry bush, whereupon he cursed the fruit, scorched them with his fiery breath, stamped on them and then spat on them making them unfit to eat! Although in my experience, they are usually a little past their sell by date by this stage, a bit “blown” or maggoty! An old Irish proverb says: “On Michaelmas Day the devil puts his foot on blackberries”

Mum’s recipe for Michaelmas Dumplings is shared below, and if like me you are lucky enough to have brambles at your disposal, then do try to make this recipe before they all disappear, or the devil comes to earth. If you don’t have brambles to pick, then frozen or shop-bought fresh blackberries will be fine in this recipe. I usually use Bramley Apples when I make this, but last time I used some lovely South African Pink Lady apples, with great success as you can see from the photos. That’s all for today, I will be back with some bread recipes soon, and also some more traveller’s tales to share too, have a wonderful weekend, Karen 


Michaelmas Dumplings

Michaelmas Dumplings

A comforting recipe from my childhood, my mum would make these fluffy little dumplings every Michaelmas, or when the blackberries were in season, but before Devil Spits Day of course. This is a wonderful way to end an autumn meal, whether it be for the family during the week or a celebratory dinner party. Serve these dumplings with fresh pouring cream or home-made custard. This recipe serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 8 ozs (225g) freshly picked blackberries
  • 1 medium sized cooking apple, Bramley apples are best
  • 4 ozs (115g) Self Raising flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 oz (25g) butter or margarine
  • White granulated sugar
  • Cold milk
  • ½-pint (300ml) water

Note

A comforting recipe from my childhood, my mum would make these fluffy little dumplings every Michaelmas, or when the blackberries were in season, but before Devil Spits Day of course. This is a wonderful way to end an autumn meal, whether it be for the family during the week or a celebratory dinner party. Serve these dumplings with fresh pouring cream or home-made custard.

Directions

Step 1 Wash the blackberries and then peel, core and quarter the cooking apple. Place the flour and the salt in a mixing bowl and with your fingertips; rub the butter or margarine into the flour. Stir in 3 level teaspoons of white sugar and then mix to a soft dough with about 4 tablespoons of cold milk.
Step 2 Divide the dumpling dough into 4 pieces on a floured board and carefully mould a piece around each quarter of an apple, making sure that the apple is completely covered.
Step 3 Dissolve about 1 tablespoon of sugar in the water in a medium sized saucepan and add the blackberries. Bring them to a gentle boil and then place the apple dumplings on top of the blackberries, cover the pan and simmer for 25 minutes, do NOT take the lid off for the first 15 minutes.
Step 4 Serve one apple dumpling per person with some of the blackberries spooned over the top; fresh pouring cream or custard makes a nice accompaniment.


Brambles

*Disclaimer: Thank you Spode and Le Creuset for my lovely gifts of dishes, bowls and casserole pots; they did not pay me, but sent them to me for review*


Spode and Le Creuset

Karen’s new book will be published in Autumn/Winter 2018


Lavender and Lovage cookbook

More Blackberry Recipes:

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Homemade Blackberry Jam


Preserving the Season – Seedless Blackberry Jam


Taste the Season with British Apples and Pears: Apple, Bramble & Pear Tray Bake Recipe


A Romantic Meal for Two – Pan-Fried Duck Breast Salad with Mixed Berries & Walnuts


Apple Pie Fairs, Fresh Figs and Blackberry, Apple and Raspberry Tart


Muddling Along, Summer Memories: Jumble Berry Crumble with Shortbread Topping


An Old Fashioned Kinda Pie! Heirloom Apple or Fruit Tart Recipe


Michaelmas Dumplings


Michaelmas Dumplings

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