If you’re lucky enough to be within arm’s reach of a saskatoon berry bush or two (or you’ve got a stash in the freezer), you can celebrate their short but sweet season with some fantastic baked goods – like these light, flaky, tender saskatoon scones. Put the kettle on! (Skip to recipe)
Saskatoon berry picking season is upon us. There’s no hiding those stained fingers and purple lips.
Our bushes are heavy with their juicy gifts.
Berry picking is my therapy; it’s my medicine and my outlet. Pulling down a leafy branch and methodically plucking off all the dusky purple orbs lulls me into a calmer place, a place where worries flutter away on gentle breezes. I am completely in the here and now; this bush and this moment. All my thoughts are centered on plucking the next perfectly ripening cluster. Hours can slip away before I notice the krick in my neck and the cramp in my arms. My fingers are a deep purple and my mouth gives away the fact that I’ve been stuffing juicy handfuls on the way to the berry bucket.
Growing up, saskatoon picking was a treat, a break from other busy farm chores. It gave us a chance to pack up the pails and a picnic lunch, hop into the old farm truck, and head for the forests and fencelines. Mom always knew where the plumpest berries were hiding.
But so did the bears.
Seed-studded bear droppings and flattened grass wallows where the creatures had been snoozing between berry pig-outs were the signs we watched for. We made sure to make lots of noise so the bears would stay far away. Luckily the closest we ever got was seeing the odd bear ambling lazily off in the distance or running across the road as we drove away.
Now we have our own saskatoon berry bushes planted in our yard, and I don’t have to worry about bears any more. Some of the thrill, that flit of danger, is gone, but the joy is still there.
This weekend we had fun times picking berries with friends. We’re starting to make headway on harvesting the crop.
Loreto and Nicoletta of the lovely blog SugarLoveSpices were here to help pick. As you can see, we had canine and feline helpers, too.
The sun shone and the berries beckoned.
And they also slipped into these delectable scones.
Whip up a Batch of Gluten Free Saskatoon Scones
Kitchen Frau Notes: Both fresh or frozen saskatoons work in this recipe, but I actually prefer to use frozen ones, since they are firm and don’t get squished when you work them into the dough, causing occasional purple streaks (which add a rustic look, though).
The glaze with egg and sugar is optional, but it does help the saskatoon scones to brown nicely, since gluten free baked goods often lack that. (The scones in the photos are a bit browner than my usual ones, since I got busy ‘saskatooning’ and kinda forgot them in the oven – still delicious, though.)
- 100 grams brown rice flour (¾ cup)
- 100 grams millet or sorghum flour (¾ cup)
- 150 grams sweet rice flour (1 cup)
- 150 grams potato starch (¾ cup + 2 tablespoons)
- 2 teaspoons guar gum or xanthan gum
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup sugar
- ¾ cup cold salted butter or dairy-free margarine
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup canned premium full-fat coconut milk
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups frozen saskatoons
- extra sweet rice flour for rolling out the dough
- Optional – beaten egg and granulated sugar or coarse sanding sugar for topping
Prepare a cookie sheet by lining it with parchment paper or greasing it well.
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut in the butter or margarine with a pastry blender or two knives until it is the size of marbles.
In another bowl, whisk the eggs, and beat in the coconut milk and vanilla.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Use a wooden spoon to mix the dough until all the loose flour has been mixed in and it looks like a bowl full of large crumbles. There should still be some largish lumps of butter to be seen.
Add the frozen saskatoons and mix them in lightly, using your hands if needed. The mixture will still be quite crumbly.
Liberally dust the countertop with sweet rice flour. Dump half of the crumbles onto the floured countertop in a pile. Using wet hands, keep pressing the crumbles together into a rough ball, then alternate flattening the top of the ball with using the flattened palms of your hands to push in the sides of the ball until you have a flat disk about 7 inches in diameter. Press in any stray saskatoons as you go. You may need to re-wet your hands during the process.
Cut the disk into 8 wedges with a sharp knife. Using a thin, flexible metal spatula or offset spatula, slide it underneath the wedges and lift them carefully onto the prepared cookie sheet, again pressing in any stray saskatoons as you pick up the wedges.
Repeat with the remaining half of the dough.
Optional: brush the tops of the scones with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar or coarse sanding sugar.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
Makes 16 scones.
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