To Make Raspberry Dumplings

Dumplings are usually thought of as savory in flavor. This recipe sends your taste buds in the opposite direction with raspberry jam, butter and sugar.

18th Century

Make a good cold paste, roll it a quarter of an inch thick, and spread over it raspberry-jam to your own liking, roll it up and boil it in a cloth one hour at least; take it up and cut it into five slices, and lay one in the middle and the other four round it; pour a little good melted butter in the dish, and grate fine sugar round the edge of the dish. It is proper for a corner or side for dinner.

Hannah Glasse, “The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy“ 1796.

21st Century

  • 1 lb. of flour, plus a little more for processing
  • 1 lb. of butter
  • 1 egg
  • Cold water to make the paste (crust)
  • Large jar of red raspberry jam
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Old bed sheet material


N.B. You can buy sheet pie crust if you like but it will be better to make your own in this case.

  1. In a medium bowl sift your flour. Take â…“ of the pound of butter and cut it into the flour. Work it with your fingers and hands until it is incorporated.
  2. Whip the egg thoroughly and add about ½ to â…” cup of the water and whip it well with the egg.
  3. Add the egg/water to the flour/butter and work it with your hands to make your crust. If it is a little dry add a little more water. If it is tacky add just a little flour in your hands to take that away.
  4. Once you’ve made your crust roll it into a rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Place pats of butter on one half of the crust, dust lightly with flour, fold over to cover the butter, roll out again and repeat until another â…“ of the butter is layered into the crust. The last rolling should be at least ¼ inch thick.
  5. Spread your jam over the surface of the crust evenly.
  6. Gently roll it up into a pinwheel type “log”.
  7. Lay it on one end of the sheet material (having sheet overlap on both sides of crust) and gently roll it up in the sheet.
  8. Tie the ends tightly with string and one or two very gently around the middle to hold the material on.
  9. Bring water to boil in a stew-pan.
  10. When it starts to boil gently place the dumpling in and boil gently for 45 minutes to an hour. Make sure water covers the dumpling as it boils.
  11. Take it out with tongs on both ends and let it cool for about 15 minutes.
  12. Slowly and carefully unroll it to get off the cloth.
  13. Cut in 5 equal slices and lay on a plate as described in the original recipe.
  14. Pour melted butter over the slices and sprinkle sugar around the plate.


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12 Responses to “To Make Raspberry Dumplings”

  1. August 9th, 2013

    Elizabeth says:

    I would like to compliment you on the choice of music. It is so delightful to listen to, and makes the food seem even more appealing!

  2. August 9th, 2013

    Jemma says:

    I’m sure my taste buds will love this. Can I substitute the raspberries with strawberries? It’s quite hard to find raspberries in our country. Thanks!

  3. August 16th, 2013

    Margi says:

    Thank you again for posting another wonderful recipe from the Colonial era. I cant tell you how much I LOVE Colonial Williamsburg, and ALL that you guys (and gals) do… from the kitchen to the brick yard ….from the Armory to the weavers this place has soo much to offer. Thank you for sharing and contributing something meaningful to the world. History! Among many other contributions to numerous to list…but giving the world history in the format you do is truly a gift. Sincerely, Margi Reed

  4. August 18th, 2013

    Barbara says:

    Looks delicious. What kind of cloth are you using, I don’t have an oblong pot, so what do I use, and can this be baked?
    Also is the recipe in one of Colonial Williamsburg’s recipe books, and is there one recipe book you prefer over the other.

  5. August 22nd, 2013

    Lisa Hrinko says:

    I also do not own a oblong pan. But this pastry sounds very much like puff pastry and we should be able to bake it. Once we finish the Fair at New Boston, I am willing to try baking this recipe as we have black and red raspberries available to us.

  6. March 20th, 2014

    Liz says:

    I think I would just cut this in half and boil the two halves in pots that I have instead of trying to fit the whole thing in on pot.

  7. December 2nd, 2014

    hi says:

    hi can we use gf flour?

    • December 10th, 2014

      Historic Foodways says:

      We always encourage people to alter these recipes and make them their own but we have no experience working with modern gluten free ingredients. You may want to consult a modern cooking site for better information on that subject.

  8. March 1st, 2016

    Laura says:

    We have tried this recipe several times and can’t get it to turn out right. The dumplings are always very gummy and almost “glue-like”, even if we boil them longer than the recipe states. We are using pre-made pie crust. Could that be the reason? We follow the recipe otherwise.

    • March 2nd, 2016

      Historic Foodways says:

      Hi Laura,
      Actually that is the way they come out. A dumpling is a boiled bread so has a very different consistency and texture then a baked item. My suggestion is if you do not like the consistency perhaps you could bake them rather than boil them and they will be much less gummy. I would try putting the dumpling on a baking sheet and putting it in the oven at 350 for say 30 to 40 minutes to get them to come out a more golden brown crispy consistency.

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