My need to forage continues. This week’s victim: Saskatoon berries. Just try walking past the currently loaded bushes of perfectly plump, deep purple berries – I dare you. Even Shadow comes to a complete skid stop to forage on the lower quarters of these native shrubs. Our mission over the last week was to beat the bears to the berries around our place and hit up a few other spots I’d been scoping. We were more than successful; stained fingers, a full bucket and swelled bellies. I figured the best way to capture these jewels was by channeling my inner Julia Child and baking a pie. So, here we go!
Step Uno: make your crust. Use your favourite double crust recipe or try mine.
2½ cups flour – tsp salt – 1 cup unsalted butter (frozen) – 6 to 8 tbsp ice cold water
- Combine the flour and salt in a medium sized bowl. Then grate the butter into the flour. I cut the butter into two halves and grate one at a time, leaving the second in the freezer until I’m done the first. Once both blocks are done use your hands to combine the flour with the butter by gently rubbing it through your hands. It doesn’t need to be fully incorporated but what your looking for is a bunch of little “butter peas” coated in flour. I’m ghetto and don’t own a pastry cutter but if you have one then small cubed blocks of butter cut in will give you the same effect. I have found that grating the butter gives great distribution in the pastry with a very flaky end result – BINGO! Now add most of the water and blend until just combined. Turn the mixture out onto your working surface and bring together the dough by kneading it into a ball, using more water if needed. Separate the ball into two with one just a bit bigger then other and shape them both into flat-ish discs. Cover separately with plastic wrap and retire them to the fridge to rest for at least an hour.
Step Two: the filling. (Plus turn on your oven to 425°F now to preheat it)
5 cups Saskatoon berries – 3 tbsp flour – ⅓ cup sugar – zest of a lemon (optional)
- Combine everything together, easy-peasy.
Step 3: build your pie.
- Take the smaller disc out of the fridge and place it on a floured surface. Grab your rolling pin and push the disc out to about a ¼“ thick and place into your pie plate. Pour those prepped Saskatoons in next! Scatter a few slivers of butter over the top of the berries. Grab the last disc and flatten it out to the same thickness as the bottom, re-flouring the surface if needed. The reason for the last dough disc being a bit bigger is that the filling of your pie usually makes a mini mountain and you want to ensure you’ve got plenty of dough to blanket the whole hill, and then some. Before layering on the dough topper, wet the edge of the bottom dough with water – this helps them stick together. Crimp, roll or pinch the dough layers together. Brush the top of the pie with a beaten egg and slice a few air holes into the top.
Step Quatro: Bake and wait.
- Place your pie on a baking sheet and into your preheated oven. Bake at the preheated 425°F for 15 minutes then lower the temperature to 350°F for an addition 45-60min or until the crust is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
Step Five: eat now or freeze for later.
- I chose to freeze my pie and savor it later this fall with friends when we’re craving a taste of summer. Luckily, I saved a bit of the filling and had just enough left over dough to make 4 mini tarts. They were consumed quite quickly.
There is a CBC story that recalls a visit by the Duke of Edinburgh to a small town in the Yukon many moons ago. He stops for a meal at a local diner and as the waitress reaches to remove his dinner plate she warmly says to him, “Save your fork Duke, there’s pie”.
Wives’ tale or not the phrase has stuck with us for generations… and this pie for sure warrants saving your fork.