These last few days my daughter Amy has been bringing us small tubs of wild blackberries. We've been enjoying them with our breakfast cereal (covered with half & half!), and Lou Ann even baked a blackberry cobbler. But the most traditional island recipe for blackberries calls for baking them in balls of pie crust dough, then smothering them in egg sauce. Here is the Mable Gaskins' egg sauce recipe from the Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Department's cookbook, Hoi Toiders:
3 eggs at room temperature
1 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of lemon extract (or sometimes 1 tablespoon of vanilla, 1 tablespoon of cinnamon and a little nutmeg)
Separate eggs. Beat the whites until stiff. Add sugar, a little at a time and beat well. Add egg yolks and lemon extract. Pour sauce over dumplings. Ready to eat! Yum, yum, delicious!
My Aunt Thelma (she's 94 years old) told me that her mama (my Grandmama Aliph) hosted the Ladies Missionary Society Meeting in her home many years ago. Aunt Thelma said one lady attended who "rubbed mama the wrong way." Grandmama Aliph had made blackberry dumplings with egg sauce, and this woman was at least gracious enough to compliment her by saying that she could "eat those dumplings till she died."
Generally a reserved woman, Grandmama Aliph couldn't hold her tongue. "I wish I'd made more of them, then," she said.
Take a journey back in time with our latest Ocracoke Newsletter. You can capture some of the thrill of riding on the old mailboat Aleta by clicking here.