There is nothing that says prairie like a good old Saskatoon Berry Pie!
I’ve raved about Saskatoon berries so many times and every time people ask me “well what are they like, are they like a blueberry?”
I can only say that to me, they just kind of look like one. Other than that, not so much. Others would disagree, and say they are very much like a blueberry.
What I can tell you is that they:
1. look like a blueberry
2. are a bit firmer than a blueberry
3. have tiny seeds somewhat like a raspberry
4. maybe they are similar to a wild blueberry
The Saskatoon Berry’s name is derived from the Cree word Mis-sask-quah-toomina, a word that sounds similar to Saskatoons. The Aboriginal people and early pioneers used Saskatoons as a staple food in traditional foods such as pemmican.
I practically grew up on them and so did my husband, and a summer would not be complete without at least one pie.
I will still pick any I find along the roadsides, but now I usually go to a Saskatoon farm where they are grown in an orchard setting. The domestic Saskatoons are quite a bit bigger, and more tender than the wild ones. But the key to a great Saskatoon pie is to not just mix them with sugar and throw them into a prepared crust. Years ago I discovered a fantastic recipe for pie filling which results in the most tender, mouthwatering Saskatoon pie ever! (Now for the disclosure: I mix two parts Saskatoons with one part blueberries, totally confusing, I know). But I’ve found that the combination is out-of-this-world. So for you folks who are lucky enough to have these berries, you’ll find my secret recipe at the bottom of this post.
- 2 cups fresh Saskatoons
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1 Tbsp butter
- Combine berries, water and lemon juice.
- Mix the dry sugar with the cornstarch, and add to the berries.
- Cook over medium heat just until mixture thickens, and cornstarch has cooked.
- Add butter (don't forget!)
- Cool before placing into pie shell (recipe to follow).
- Set the oven to 425 degrees. Set the pie on the lowest rack and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue to bake 15 - 20 minutes longer.
- Cool before serving.
If you want to make a delicious pie crust that is easy, and will not fail – try this one, it’s a family favourite! The dough freezes beautifully (forever actually!). Just let it sit at room temperature before trying to roll it out!
- 1 pound lard
- 5 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp vinegar in water
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 egg, well beaten
- Mix dry ingredients together and cut into lard.
- Mix vinegar, water, egg and beat until fluffy.
- Blend together until dough starts to stick together nicely – sometimes I don’t use all the water, but if you did, I don’t think it would make a difference.
- Form into 5 or 6 discs and chill for 1/2 hour.
- Roll out the barrel, er dough, and make your pies!!
- **This dough will freeze beautifully (forever actually). Just take it out and let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes before rolling it.