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Is there anything more Albertan than Saskatoon pie?

When you think of saskatoon pie, do childhood memories come back to you? The flavour is so nostalgic to me it is more of a feeling than something to be able to describe. This time of year saskatoons are in season both in the wild and more and more available as a u-pick fruit at many beautiful farms in the Edmonton area.

I was first introduced to saskatoon pie by my grandma who lived on a small acreage tucked away along the North Saskatchewan river right in Edmonton. The berries grew around their property, and exploring and foraging for saskatoons and later highbush cranberries are among my fondest memories.

Saskatoon pie was the first kind of pie my cousins and I ever attempted to bake together; of course it involved more than a few phone calls to grandma to make sure we got the recipe right.

Over the years the original recipe has adapted to include some tips from my mother-in-law and other recipe books and varied in combination with both rhubarb and/or honeyberries.

If you find yourself craving this unique prairie fruit and wanting to try a classic saskatoon pie recipe, read on below. And please vary it and alter it as you try it out so that it becomes your own Saskatoon pie recipe.

1) Pick berries (Use the 2018 Local County u-pick guide for a great resource to find a u-pick saskatoon farm in the Edmonton area).

2) Make saskatoon pie filling

5-6 cups saskatoon berries

1/3 cup water

1 cup rhubarb

3/4-1 cup sugar

3 Tbsp corn starch

2 T lemon juice

1/4 tsp nutmeg

Mix saskatoon berries, water, and rhubarb in saucepan, and heat until fruit just bubbles. Meanwhile mix sugar, cornstarch, and nutmeg in bowl. Add lemon juice to berries, then stir in sugar mixture over heat and return to boil constantly stirring until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and let cool somewhat. (some variations: if using only saskatoons use 6 cups of berries 3/4 cups sugar and 3Tbs lemon juice, if adding rhubarb, use full 1 cup sugar and 5 cups of berries- but you can use 6 cups too if you like;) Honeyberries can also be used in place of rhubarb)

3) Prepare 1 recipe of pie crust (or use 1 prepared store-bought pie crust or your favourite recipe) for streusel topped pie or 2 recipes pie crust if using conventional pie crust topping.

Pie crust: (double this recipe for 2 crust pie)

1 cup flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 cup shortening or butter (or combination)

about 4 Tbsp ice water

Mix flour and salt, grate in or mix in cold shortening/butter, till mixture has fine crumb consistency. Sprinkle in ice water 1T at a time quickly and gently mixing with fork till just about combined. Form dough with hand careful not to handle too much. Turn onto floured counter and roll out to a little larger than your 9" pie plate. Fold into half, then half again then lift into pie plate unfolding and pressing in so extra dough hangs over edges. Using moist fingers shape edge or trim to your preference. Place pie dough in fridge then prepare streusel topping if using.

4) Mix Streusel topping:

1/2 cup large flake oatmeal

1/3 cup flour

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup butter softened

1/4 tsp cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together well till crumbly and set aside.

5) Pour pie filling into prepared pie crust then top with streusel topping if using.

(**If topping with conventional pie crust, seal edges how you like, use a lattice top or cut a pattern on top and then brush with egg or milk all over top then sprinkle with sugar over crust.)

6) Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes, then decrease the oven temp to 350 degrees to bake for an additional 35-45 minutes till filling bubbles well in the center of the pie.

7) Enjoy with ice cream if possible.

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