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Old Fashioned Saskatoon Pie

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Servings 6

Equipment

  • a 9-inch pie dish
  • This recipe makes one 9-inch regular pie. For a 10-inch pie or a deep-dish 9-inch pie, make 1½ times the recipe of the filling.

Ingredients

  • 1 quantity of pie dough for a double crust pie, or pastry for a bottom crust and the streusel topping below use your favourite pastry recipe (or see the regular and gluten-free recipes in this post)
  • 5 cups (1½lbs/680gms) saskatoon berries, fresh or frozen (if using frozen berries, add ¼ cup/60ml water)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ cup (100gms) sugar preferably natural evaporated cane sugar
  • 3 tablespoons sweet rice flour or 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon pure almond extract or 1 teaspoon rosewater optional
  • optional, for pastry crust top: 2 teaspoons cream + 2 teaspoons sugar

For the Optional Streusel Topping:

  • ¼ cup (60gms) salted butter
  • ¼ cup (70gms) sugar, preferably natural evaporated cane sugar
  • ½ cup (70 gms) gluten free flour mix (or all purpose flour for non gluten free)
  • ½ cup (45gms) small-flaked rolled oats (quick oats), gluten free if necessary
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated organic lemon zest or ¼ teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Instructions

For the Filling:

  • In a saucepan over medium heat, cook the saskatoon berries and the lemon juice (and water, if using frozen berries), stirring often, until the berries release some of their juices and shrink a bit, about 5 minutes. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and the sweet rice flour or cornstarch until they are well combined. Dump these into the berries and bring them to a boil, stirring often. Once they boil, cook the pie filling until it is thickened, about 30 seconds. Stir in the almond extract or rosewater, if you are using it. (If you used frozen berries, the filling may look quite thick at this point, but the berries will release more juice as the pie bakes.)
  • Remove the saskatoon pie filling from the heat and allow it to cool completely. At this point, the filling can be refrigerated for up to 5 days before being used in a pie. It can also be used as a cooked fruit pudding, to eat with yogurt, to top a cheesecake, or on pancakes.

To Make the Pie:

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
  • Roll out the pie pastry into two circles a little larger than your pie dish (one a little larger for the bottom crust).
  • Line your choice of pie plate with the bottom crust. Pour in the cooled saskatoon pie filling and smooth the top. Add a top crust or layer of streusel topping (recipe above, instructions below). If using the top crust; roll it out, lay it on top of the pie, press the edges together, then trim off the excess pastry. Crimp the edges and cut vent slits into the top of the pie. Brush the top of the pie with the cream and sprinkle it with the 2 teaspoons of sugar if desired.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 350°F (180°C) and bake for another 40 to 45 minutes, until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling up a bit through the vent holes. If the edges of the crust get too brown, cover them with strips of foil halfway through the baking time.
  • Eat warm or at room temperature. Saskatoon Pie is great with vanilla ice cream.
  • Cuts into 6 or 8 wedges.

To Make the Optional Streusel Topping:

  • Place all the streusel ingredients in a bowl and cut them together with a pastry blender until they are well mixed and form pea-sized crumbs. You can also work them together with your hands or mix them with an electric mixer (do not overmix or the ingredients will bind to form a dough – which you’ll have to crumble apart to make a streusel). Spread the streusel crumbs across the filling in a pie and bake as directed.

Notes

 I like to freeze some of my fresh saskatoon berries (picked over, rinsed and drained well) in measured out 5-cup portions in each bag, so they are ready to make this pie. I can just pull one bag out of the freezer and it’s ready to make into filling. Frozen berries are less juicy when you cook them up, so I add a bit of water. The filling seems thicker when it’s cooked than when it’s made with fresh saskatoons, but the berries release the rest of their juices in the pie while it’s baking.
You can make a traditional pie with a double crust, or use half the pastry for a bottom crust (that way you get to make two pies) and make a streusel topping for the top crust. The recipe is above. When I use a streusel topping, I reduce the sugar in the fruit filling to ⅓ of a cup (70gms), as the streusel contains additional sugar.
I love how sweet rice flour works as a thickener for pies (stews and gravies, too). It stays smooth and silky and stands up well to prolonged cooking. Sweet rice flour also goes by the names of ‘mochiko’ or ‘glutinous rice flour’ (it contains no gluten; the name refers to the rice’s sticky nature).
 
*The saskatoon pie filling can also be canned.  Use 6 cups (730gms) of berries instead of 5 (so that you have enough filling to fill a quart jar). Make the recipe the same as above, but add 2 tablespoons of water with the lemon juice when you cook the berries. Pour the hot cooked filling into a sterilized quart jar (or two pint jars). Wipe the rim with a clean cloth, seal it with a sterilized snap lid and screw band (as per this post or any recognized canning site), and process in a water bath for 20 minutes. To use, just open the jar and dump the pie filling into your waiting crust and bake as below.