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.
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.
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*, 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!
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
Karen’s new book will be published in Autumn/Winter 2018
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