Blackberries Beat the Heat

Blackberries are one of our favorite fruits for pies, cobblers and well, just about any way fruits are eaten. I used to go berry picking along local roads. Now, I’ve found frozen berries from the grocery are almost as good. I escape the poison ivy and worry of being out where fast and often distracted drivers zoom past.

When the hot days of July make it urgent to keep the house as cool as possible, we have stovetop blackberry dumplings or blackberry flummery. Both are wonderful with a dollop of heavy cream or ice cream on top.

When I was a kid, Dad always got our milk, cream and ice cream from Young’s Jersey Dairy over in Yellow Springs. Our evening drives to cool off usually ended there. That was before houses were cooled with AC, so we depended on the cooler evening air to settle our nerves down. Also an ice cream cone helped a lot!

We were thrilled when Young’s had their summer special on pints of ice cream. Dad would let us each have our own pint of ice cream. Fifty years ago that was a big deal.

Back home, as we tried to make that pint last as long as possible, Mom was busy making sure she had the ingredients for blackberry dumplings or flummery. Dad always got first shot at the cream gathered in the top of the milk bottles to top his dish of dessert. We didn’t care as the whole bottle was filled with a rich creamy milk that even today beats any old artificial whipped topping.

Yes, whether ice cream, evening rides or blackberry flummery, we all need something special to get us through these hot summer days of July.

Stovetop Blackberry Dumplings

4 cups fresh or 24 ounces frozen blackberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups self-rising flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons melted butter
2/3 cup milk or buttermilk

In a large Dutch oven or heavy kettle with tight-fitting lid, place berries, 1 cup sugar and water. Stir in tapioca and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to simmer. For dumplings: In a mixing bowl, place flour and 3 tablespoons sugar, stirring to mix. In small bowl, mix egg, melted butter and milk. Pour into flour mixture and stir just until batter forms.

Drop batter by large spoonfuls on top of hot berries. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes, then cover pan and cook (simmer) for about 10 minutes more, or until dumplings are done when toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Serve hot in bowls with cream or ice cream.

Blackberry Flummery 

2-1/2 cups blackberries
1/2 cup sugar
1-1/4 cups water
1-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Heavy cream or milk

Place berries and sugar in large, heavy saucepan. Cook over low heat until juices start to run. Stir water and cornstarch together and gently stir into berries. Add cinnamon. Cook over low heat just until thick and bubbly. Stir often to prevent sticking. Serve in individual dishes with cream or milk poured on top.

Photo by Fotolia/Igor Normann

  • Published on Jul 18, 2016
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