RECIPE: The Gallery Cafe’s Saskatoon Berry Pie

Saskatoon berry pie is the quintessential Prairie pie, and it’s a mainstay on the Gallery Cafe’s dessert menu. Sarah sources Saskatoons from Prairie Berries in Keeler for this recipe, which has been adapted over time by cafe staff and generations of women in the Moore family. Yvette even has a painting titled Saskatoon Pie – Just Like Mom’s, which depicts her daughters preparing a pie at the kitchen table. With a jammy berry filling and a flaky, golden brown crust, Saskatoon berry pie is best served topped with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream, alongside coffee or tea.

INGREDIENTS

Crust Saskatoon Berry Filling  For serving
1-1/2 cup all-purpose flour 4 cups fresh or frozen Saskatoon berries* Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream (optional)
1 tsp granulated sugar 1/4 cup granulated sugar Icing sugar (optional)
1/4 tsp sea salt 3 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp baking powder 1 tsp instant or minute tapioca
1/2 cup shortening 1/3 cup berry-flavoured juice
1 egg, divided 4 tsp unsalted butter or margarine, divided into 1/2 tsp portions
1 tsp white vinegar 1 Tbsp lemon juice
Ice-cold water

*If you’re using frozen berries, don’t thaw them before using them in this recipe.

 

INSTRUCTIONS

CRUST

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C).
  2. Place the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl. Stir together to combine.
  3. Using a pastry cutter, cut the shortening into the flour mixture until it forms crumbs, about the size of peas.
  4. Place the egg in a small bowl, whisk it lightly, and divide it into two portions.
  5. Place one half of the whisked egg and the vinegar in a liquid measuring cup, and whisk them together until well combined. Then add ice-cold water to the measuring cup, so that the total volume of the half egg, vinegar, and water equals 1/3 cup of liquid. The total amount of water will vary slightly depending on the size of your half egg.
  6. Make a well in the flour and pour the liquid mixture into it. Use a pastry cutter to mix it all together gently, just until a solid dough is formed. Be careful not to overmix.
  7. Form the dough into a ball and place it on a clean, lightly floured surface. Separate the dough into two portions and set half aside for the top crust. Use a rolling pin to roll out the other half of the dough to about 10 inches in diameter.
  8. Fit the crust loosely into a 9-inch pie pan by gently pressing it down. There’s no need to grease the pan. Set it aside while you prepare the filling.

SASKATOON BERRY FILLING

  1. Place the berries, sugar, cornstarch, and tapioca in a medium bowl, and stir together to combine. Pour the mixture into the pie crust and spread it around evenly.
  2. Pour over the berry juice. Dot the butter portions evenly overtop of the berries, then sprinkle evenly with the lemon juice.

TO ASSEMBLE

  1. Use your fingers to wet the edges of the bottom crust by dabbing a little bit of water on your hands and then pressing it into the dough.
  2. On a clean, lightly floured surface, roll out the top crust using a rolling pin until it is about 10 inches in diameter. Fold the crust in fourths (in half and then over again to form a triangle) and then cut a small tip from the point of the triangle. Make narrow  1/4-inch-long slits along the straight edges of the folded crust, so that the pie can vent while baking. Gently lay the crust over the berries (with the tip in the centre) and unfold it into place. Seal the wet edges of the top and bottom crusts by pressing them together, firmly but gently, with your fingers. You can either flute the edges, fold them over, or leave them as a straight edge and trim the excess.
  3. Take the remaining half of the whisked egg and, using a pastry brush, lightly brush it on top of the entire pie.
  4. Place the completed pie on a rimmed baking sheet (this ensures there are no leaks and makes it easier to remove from the oven) and bake on the centre rack of the oven until the crust is golden brown, 1 hour.
  5. Remove the pie from the oven and let it cool slightly. Set at room temperature for at least 1 hour prior to cutting. Serve the pie with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream on the side and a sprinkle of icing sugar on top (if using).

Tip: The pie can be baked immediately or frozen once assembled. To freeze it, prepare the pie in an aluminum pie pan as above, but don’t apply the egg wash. Transfer to a large freezer-safe bag and freeze for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to bake, brush egg wash over the frozen pie and bake directly from frozen, per the method. You might need to add a few more minutes to the baking time.

Excerpted from Only in Saskatchewan by Naomi Hansen. Recipe copyright © 2022 by Mabel Hill Farm Kitchen and Marketplace. Text copyright © 2022 by Naomi Hansen. Photo copyright 2022 © by Garrett Kendal.