Saskatoons are far from in season, I realize – but blueberries are close. And local saskatoons can be had by the bagful from the freezer at the farmers’ market.
This is about the time of year I start wanting pie – more so than my usual every day pie craving, that is – and berry pie in particular; one that will preferably release purple juices into my vanilla ice cream.
A saskatoon pie also makes for a nostalgic sweet for mothers in law in the hospital, where the desserts that arrive on the nightly dinner tray rhymes with hell-O and comes in a plastic cup.
This isn’t the prettiest pie I’ve made – I had slightly less pastry than I needed, left over from another baking project – but someone once said that the best kind of pie is the kind that’s on the table. I don’t worry about the oohing and aahing, so long as it tastes delicious.
And it should be noted that saskatoon pie – which is mostly berries, really, wrapped in crisp butter pastry bound in part with an egg – is the perfect springtime breakfast food. I heartily endorse it as an accompaniment to your coffee, or for elevenses.
If you’re using blueberries, up the flour to 1/4 cup.
pastry for a double crust pie
5-6 cups Saskatoon berries (fresh or frozen – don’t thaw them)
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. flour
zest of a lemon
2-3 Tbsp. butter, cut into bits
beaten egg or cream, for brushing (optional)
Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling (optional)
Preheat the oven to 425°F
Divide the pastry more or less in half, with one piece slightly bigger than the other. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the larger piece to a circle about an inch bigger than your pie plate; drape it over the rolling pin and transfer to the pie plate, pressing it gently to fit, letting the sides hang over. Roll the other piece out to about the size of the top of the pie.
In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and flour. Put the berries into a medium bowl and add the sugar mixture and lemon zest; gently stir to combine, then pour into the pastry shell. Top with bits of butter.
If you like, cut the second piece of pastry into strips and make a lattice top; otherwise, lay it over the pie, brushing the edge of the bottom crust with a little beaten egg first, if you like, and trim and crimp the edge. Cut a few slits in the top to let steam escape.
Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the heat down to 350°F and bake for another 50-60 minutes, until golden and bubbling. Let cool before slicing. Serves 8.