Michaelmas Dumplings

Old Michaelmas Day - 10th October: Since the calendar change in 1752 Michaelmas Day has been celebrated on 29th September. Prior to that is was celebrated on 10th October. Devil’s Spit Day! According to legend, blackberries should not be picked after this date because on this Day St Michael threw the Devil from Heaven. His fall from grace landed him in a blackberry bush and he cursed and spat on the brambles. I fell into several blackberry bushes as a child, I know how he felt.

So 10th October is your last chance to gather blackberries for this lovely and simple to make recipe. I didn’t have high hopes for this recipe as even the word “dumpling” sounds like the dessert bowl will be hard to lift. As it turned out these are quite light and made a lovely change from Apple Dumplings which I find too large to get through in one sitting.

Ingredients - serves 4

1 medium cooking apple 1oz butter
Approx 6oz blackberries A little caster sugar
4oz self raising flour 4 tablespoons milk
Pinch of Salt ¼ pint cold water


  1. Place the flour, salt and butter in a small mixing bowl. Rub the butter into the four with your fingertips.
  2. Stir in three level teaspoon of sugar.
  3. Gradually add the milk to form a soft dough.
  4. Divide the dumpling mix into 4.
  5. Peel, core and quarter the cooking apple.
  6. Roll each piece of the dumpling mix into a rough circle on a floured board.
  7. Wrap each apple quarter of apple in the dough circles ensuring that all the apple is covered.
  8. Place the blackberries, water and one tablespoon of sugar into a heavy bottomed, medium saucepan.
  9. Bring it to a gentle boil and place the dumplings on top of the blackberries.
  10. Cover the saucepan with a lid and simmer for 25 minutes.
    YOU MUST NOT TAKE THE LID OFF DURING THE FIRST 15 MINUTES. However after that you may need to add more water if it looks like it is boiling dry.
  11. Lift each dumpling gently into a dessert bowl and spoon over the blackberries. Serve with cream, custard or ice-cream.


Cooking Apples
BRAMLEY APPLES (Cooking apple)