I quickly whipped up a batch of "Bryson City Cathead Biscuits" because I'm a part of the Bryson clan. I also made the "Sylva-Style Potatoes" the same day as I made these utterly delicious blackberry dumplings. My friend, Talia, was joining me for a spur of the moment home-cooked meal, so what better way to treat her than with some Appalachian specialties? She brought her healthy and tasty Veggie (sort of) Chili to round out the feast.
After we finished our chili and potatoes, I got to work on the dumplings. The blackberries I had procured from the luscious Wednesday Santa Monica Farmer's Market amidst chef chatter and the unmistakable voice of Laura Avery. This market is so good for the soul!
This was probably one of the easiest desserts I've ever made. If you like cobbler, you'll love these dumplings as it's basically cobbler made on the stove top rather than in the oven.
Bessie’s Blackberry Dumplings from the Smithsonian Folklife Cook Book via “Smokehouse Ham, Spoon Bread & Scuppernong Wine: The Folklore and Art of Southern Appalachian Cooking” by Joseph E. Dabney
1 quart blackberries
1 ¼ cups sugar
2 cups water
3 to 4 cups self-rising flour
½ cup buttermilk
1 cup shortening
½ cup milk
To make dumplings, fill a large mixing bowl almost full with sifted flour and make a hole in the middle. Mix in buttermilk, milk and shortening. Knead dough, then tear off pieces. Bring blackberries, sugar and water to a boil. Drop in dumpling dough. Cover and simmer until dough is done.
*I cut this recipe in half because a quart of blackberries was too expensive.
I used one small tray of blackberries, 2/3 cup sugar, ½ cup shortening, ¼ cup milk, ¼ cup buttermilk, and 2 cups White Lily Self-Rising flour. I would venture to say that butter would be a delicious substitute for shortening if you don't have trans-fat free version handy.