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Delightful afternoon tea in Edinburgh at the Balmoral Hotel

Delightful afternoon tea in Edinburgh at the Balmoral Hotel

No sooner than the cooler weather had me pulling out my light sweaters, we experienced a resurgence of summer wither in our part of the world.  I won’t be fooled, though, summer will be ending soon, for me marked by all the back to school sales.

We did enjoy a wonderful summer day this weekend though,  celebrating a family member’s birthday who turned 4. I am so blessed to have married into a family of great cooks who share a passion for food.  Nephew Lord C, did not disappoint in providing an amazing, yet light feast.  One day I hope to convince him to co-author a cookbook on Italian cuisine.  He could pass as relative of the red haired Mario Batali and is so incredibly talented and passionate about food.

Dueling Chefs

Dueling with Lord C.

As you may know, Tea Tuesday is a weekly tradition I started, celebrating the era of “Downton Abbey”, the popular TV show, featuring a new “Downton” era recipe.  Refer to my Online Guide to Afternoon Tea, helpful in understanding the traditions and dishes served at tea.

You can’t beat pie made with fresh berries. While Lady Mary might turn her nose up at it, there would be many takers downstairs in the servant’s hall.  Today we make serviceberry pie. You may know serviceberries as Saskatoons as they are called in Canada.

Downton Dish

Season 4

Season 4 Poster just released.

Downton launches Season 4 next month in the UK, but not until January (see the countdown clock above) in the US and Canada.  In the meantime, here are some distractions to keep your Downton cravings at bay. If you haven’t seen all seasons (1-3) beware of spoilers below.

Abbey Cooks Entertain: Garden Party Season ending soon

With 220 traditional English recipes with a modern twist, this is a great book to prepare dishes for many options for celebrating the arrival of the new prince in the last few weeks of garden party season.

This 432 page e-book is available for quick download by following the link at the right. Book sales help offset my costs in food, equipment and time to keep bringing you new dishes each week. You can only get a signed copy here on my site. If you don’t have an eReader I would suggest the PDF version which allows you to print recipes as you go, if you wish.

The Humble Serviceberry

Delicious serviceberries

Delicious serviceberries

Serviceberries are a member of the Amelanchier family and are found across North America, but also in Europe and Asia.  The can be found in the wild, but often are planted as ornamentals for their masses of showy, white flowers in early spring and colorful fall foliage, but more importantly for foodies like me for their edible fruit. Also known as Juneberry, saskatoon, sarvis or sarvistree, shadblow, shadbush, and mountain blueberry. The blueberry-like fruit may be eaten fresh, baked in pies or other desserts, canned, or made into wine, jams, or preserves.

When I was visiting my family out west last month, my Dad announced that the berries were ready for picking at a local farm.  My parents have been cultivating a crop for a few years, but alas the birds get to most of the berries first.  My dad and I set out to Berg’s Berries to take in some of the harvest.  You pay by the bucket load and since they don’t weigh you on the way out, my Dad thinks it is a pretty good bargain. So off we went for some Daddy-Daughter bonding to pick and eat berries together on a quiet weekend morning.  We didn’t have time to make jam, but I made some pies for us to enjoy now, and froze the rest for my parents to enjoy later.

Serviceberry Pie

Serviceberry pie with the family cattle brand

Serviceberry pies with our family cattle brand used as a design.

My father and I have a tradition of visiting Ester Berg of Berg’s Berries in Southern Alberta to get our fill of berries as the birds tend to get most of the ones on our family estate. Since my pie pastry recipe yields 5 pie crusts, I have both enough berries and pastry dough to try out a few recipes.

The challenge with serviceberries that while they look like blueberries, they have a much thicker skin. The trick is to cook the berries and provide a thickening agent so the pie holds together.

Serviceberry AKA Saskatoon Berry Pie
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Serviceberries look like blueberries, but they have a much thicker skin. The trick to success is to cook the berries and provide a thickening agent so the pie holds together. Makes 1 large pie, 4 - 5 mini pies, or 24 tarts.
Serviceberry AKA Saskatoon Berry Pie
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
Serviceberries look like blueberries, but they have a much thicker skin. The trick to success is to cook the berries and provide a thickening agent so the pie holds together. Makes 1 large pie, 4 - 5 mini pies, or 24 tarts.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
1pie 20minutes 50minutes
Servings Prep Time
1pie 20minutes
Cook Time
50minutes
Ingredients
Servings: pie
Units:
Ingredients
Servings: pie
Units:
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, simmer berries, water and lemon juice, covered for 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in sugar, 2 tbsp. of tapioca and butter. Cool.
  2. Make your pie crust. My recipe makes 5 crusts but you can refrigerate or freeze leftovers. http://ow.ly/MjuC30du4Yh
  3. Line your pie plate with the bottom crust.
  4. Roll dough to create the bottom crust. Sprinkle 1 tbsp. of tapioca on the bottom of the crust and then pour in the filling,
  5. Add the filling. Brush water along the edge of pie to help the top seal, and add the top crust. If you like a sugary crust, brush with milk and then lightly sugar.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes at 450F and then reduce heat to 350F and bake for an additional 30 - 40 minutes.
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