No sooner than the cooler weather had me pulling out my light sweaters, we experienced a resurgence of summer 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.
For summer, 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 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.
- Video: Intimate chat with Downton cast: Find out who almost won a role on Fantasy Island.
- From River Cruising to Cruising the Grocery Aisle: Tesco replaces P&O Cruises as Downton sponsor on ITV.
- Which Downton Abbey Couple are you? Take the PBS Quiz
- Downton Merchandise List Expands: Mrs. Patmore “Amber Gray” for your kitchen walls, anyone?
- Downton crosses all party lines: Hilary Clinton tweets she is a fan of Downton.
- Glamourous Costumes at Downton Summer Ball Fundraiser: Congrats to Michael Ellenbogen on fabulous looking event.
- From juggler to butler: An intimate moment with Jim Carter who plays Carson.
- No dogs allowed: Lady Carnavron bans dogs on the grounds.
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, Also Known as Saskatoons
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.
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 (see recipe below), 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.