Saskatoon Berry Pie

This is the first pie that I ever made.

Starting in middle school, each summer I would go to my Grandma’s house to pick the berries off her Saskatoon berry bush (provided the birds didn’t get there first, which happened this year) and bake a big pie and some mini pies for the family.  I loved (and still do) love baking with my Grandma and this was my first exposure to pie baking.

For those unfamiliar, Saskatoon berries look like purple wild blueberries but have a unique flavour (I struggled with how to describe the taste because to me it’s just “Saskatoon berry” – but imagine a cross of blueberries and cherry) and are juicy with a few small seeds inside.  You can imagine my excitement when I went to the market yesterday and all the vendors were selling them, when I had only ever seen them in my Grandma’s backyard.

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When my Grandma and I made the pie, we simmered the filling first to start the thickening process before baking, but since this crust recipe takes longer to bake, I poured the raw filling straight into the shell.

If you can find these berries, PLEASE bake a pie.  It may change your life.  But if you are not fortunate enough to find them at your market/store, you can replace them with wild blueberries.

Crust Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup butter (straight from the fridge, cut into 1 inch pieces)
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/4 cup vinegar (I use cider vinegar, mix it in the water)

Filling Ingredients

  • 4 cups Saskatoon berries
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1.5 tbsp arrowroot starch
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt

Steps

To make the crust, mix together flour, sugar and salt.  Using a pastry blender, “cut” in the butter. This means you’re almost mashing the butter into the flour with the blender, ensuring all butter is covered in flour until the butter pieces are about the size of peas or a bit bigger.

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Then, splash in a bit of your water mixture (2-3 tablespoons) and mix it around with your hand.  Continue to add a little at a time and mix and squish with your hand until a large dough ball forms.  If you need to get a bit more binding, add a bit of water to your fingers to help it along.  Don’t feel compelled to use all the water, mix it in until just combined and the dough is holding together.  Cut the dough ball into two halves and flatten into disks. Wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

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Remove from fridge and let sit for 5-10 minutes so the dough doesn’t crack. Roll out each disk on a floured surface until about 1/4 inch thick (it will be about 12-13 inches in diameter).

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Fold the rolled out crust in half and set into a buttered 9 inch pie pan.  Unfold gently and settle the bottom of the crust into the corners.

Roll out the other dough disk and cut into 16 evenly sized strips with a paring knife or pizza cutter. This will be your lattice.  Refrigerate strips and crust lined pan for 30 minutes.

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To make the filling, gently stir together berries, sugar, arrowroot and lemon juice.

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Remove pie shell from fridge and sprinkle 1 tsp each of flour and sugar on the bottom to keep the crust from getting soggy.  Pour in filling.

To make the lattice, arrange 8 strips horizontally.  Peel back every other strip (see below) and place a strip vertically close to the middle, on top of the strips not peeled back.  Put the peeled strips back down, and repeat peeling back and placing a vertical strip with the other strips (alternating which 4 are peeled back) until you reach the end of the pie, then repeat on the other side.  It will look like the photo below.

Roll the crust overhang over top of the ends of the lattice strips, like a crust wall trimming any overhang if you feel you need to.  Make sure the “wall” is sealed well so it doesn’t unroll while baking.

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To crimp the edge of the crust, “pinch and push” using your thumb and pointer finger and other thumb, like below:

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Place the pie in the fridge for 10 minutes and preheat the oven to 425F.

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Remove pie from fridge and brush with egg wash and sprinkle with raw sugar to your liking.  The egg wash ensures the pie is nicely browned.

Place the pie on a baking sheet on the bottom oven rack and bake for 20 minutes until the pie crust is starting to set and brown.  Reduce the oven heat to 375F and bake for 30-35 minutes until the crust has browned and juices are bubbling throughout the pie.  Let cool for 2-3 hours and enjoy!

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