A while back, my mother-in-law, the remarkable woman who bore and raised my First Reader, gave me a precious gift. We had been talking about this series, where I’m cooking from old cookbooks, some of which were originally my great-grandmothers, grandmothers, and mom’s books. She got up and marched into her kitchen, pulled this book and another one down from the top of her refrigerator, and we stood at the island in her kitchen looking at the books, crammed full of newspaper clippings, notes, marginalia, and recipe cards. As she flipped through, she pulled a few things out from between the pages, setting them aside. Then she pushed the book into my hands. “Here. I don’t cook anymore.”
After protesting that I could simply photograph the recipes I wanted for the blog, I finally gave up. It’s an exercise in sheer futility to argue with fierce old ladies, especially ones who love you and know what a gift like this means. That, and I could see the look on my First Reader’s face… he’d told her once before that the only thing he wanted when she passed was this book. So it came home with us.
This weekend was a busy one, but it’s the holiday season, so I had a hankering to do some baking. The First Reader asked if I would be willing to make a pair of cobblers for him to take to work and share, and then he brought me the book, pointing at a recipe. “We have all those berries and peaches in the freezer taking up room…”
So I made a peach cobbler, and a blackberry cobbler. For the blackberries I started out with the titular recipe for Blackberry Flummery. I didn’t follow either recipe exactly, as I wasn’t using the precise ingredients they called for, but I was close, and it’s more the spirit of the cook to look at a recipe, make a few notes, and go charging off in her own direction. I think when I show this to Dorothy-Mom she’ll agree!
1 qt blackberries (cleaned)
1 1/4 c sugar
2 tbsp. cornstarch
In a saucepan combine the berries, sugar, salt, and cinnamon with 1/2 cup hot water. Bring to a boil, then simmer 5-8 minutes until slightly syrupy.
In a small bowl combine 3 tbsp. hot water and cornstarch. Drizzle slowly into simmering berries, continue to cook 3-5 minutes until thickened and translucent.
Serve cold with heavy cream if desired.
I opted to use mine as part of the cobbler, spreading out another 3 cups of frozen berries in a 9×13 pan, then pouring the flummery over them before topping with cobbler batter.
for the peach cobbler I followed the recipe from the book (see picture below) with the exception of the filling. Since I was using frozen, not canned peaches, I thawed and drained the peaches, reserving the liquid. I then took the liquid, which was nearly a cupful, along with 2/3 cup water and 2/3 cup sugar, and heated it to a rolling boil, then reduced to simmer. At this point I mixed up about three tablespoons of hot water and the same of cornstarch in a mug, then slowly poured it into the peach solution, simmering for about another 5 minutes until it was quite thick and translucent. I then poured this over the peaches which I had laid out in the pan.
I put the cobblers in the oven at 375 F for 25 minutes, then allowed to cool for at least 30 minutes before taking a portion to photograph (and taste!). We decided that the blackberry flummery made that cobbler sweeter than I usually make it, so it’s more to a conventional taste for dessert than we usually do. But the peaches remained nicely tart in their syrupy mixture. Very good, and will do this again.
For more recipe photos and more photos of this book and others, check out my Vintage Kitchen album.
3 thoughts on “Vintage Kitchen: Blackberry Flummery”
I love old cookbooks! And I love your food photos. You have the best vintage and retro dishes.
thank you! I have been having fun with this series, I just wish I had more time and energy to do it justice.
Now I’m gonna have to bring up the box of cookbooks in the basement… hmmmm…
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