Do the dew – by that we mean the dewberry

Published 9:20am Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I have been picking dewberries this week but it is much later this year. Our spring has been cool and everything is a little later. This has been nice since the heat will be upon us soon.

Dewberries are a type of trailing blackberry that grows on long canes along fence rows and trellises.

Some people feel them superior to all other blackberries. I was reading an article on dewberries in an issue of Bluffs & Bayous (a Mississippi magazine) and the author was telling of his childhood picking dewberries. All the children were given big buckets and Grammaw told them not to pick the red ones!

She made dewberry jelly and used the money to raise funds for her church. He said the nice thing about dewberries if that you can pick them off the side of the gravel road with dust all over them, blow them off some, and they’re actually good. This way you do not have to wait for that cobbler to cool and you don’t have to share them with somebody that did not help you pick them!

Since Memorial Day is coming, I thought using fruit for dessert would be the thing and since I have “free dewberries” it just makes good sense to use them. My dewberries may be free but not easy. They inevitably have to be harvested among not only their briars but the barbed wire. After my picking of dewberries I had a case of poison ivy! Be careful!

Taken from The New Southern Cookbook by Sheri Castle.

This is a very old recipe that illustrates another of the basic forms of Southern cobbler: fruit wrapped in pastry. In this recipe, whole berries are scattered over buttered sweet biscuit dough that is then rolled up like a jellyroll and baked. Because of the shape, this technique goes by many names, including Valise Pudding, Bourrelet, or Dolly in a Blanket.


Dewberry Roll

Serves 8

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons butter, cut into small cubes and chilled

2 tablespoons vegetable shortening or lard

1 large egg

½ cup milk

2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

2 cups fresh dewberries

¾ cup sugar

1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water, for an egg wash

Ice cream or whipped cream for serving

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the butter cubes and drop the shortening in bits over the flour mixture and toss to coat. Use your fingertips to work them in until the pieces are the size of garden peas. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and milk, pour over the flour mixture, and stir with a fork or your fingertips until the dough comes together.

Pour the dough onto a lightly floured sheet of parchment and gently knead until the dough is smooth, about five turns. Roll or pat the dough into a rectangle that is ½-inch thick, turned so one of the long sides is at the bottom. Spread the soft butter evenly over the dough. Scatter the berries over the butter, leaving the bottom two inches bare. Sprinkle the sugar over the berries. Starting at the top, roll up the dough toward you, making sure it is tight enough to hold the berries in place. It should look like a jellyroll. Pinch the seam and the ends closed. Transfer the roll (still on the parchment) to a rimmed baking sheet. Brush the top and sides with the egg wash.

Bake until the pastry is browned and any escaped juices are bubbling, about 35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before slicing and serving with ice cream or whipped cream.

Happy pickin’.

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