It’s serviceberry season again.
Serviceberries, also known as Juneberries, Saskatoons, or Shadbush berries are not really berries. They are actually a pome fruit and are more closely related to apples than berries. They have a unique taste, sweet and fruity but with a hint of an almond like nuttiness that comes from the seeds. They are indigenous to North America and were popular commercially in the past but have become another of those long forgotten fruits. Traditionally, they were dried and used in stews, pemmican, jams, and pies.
Serviceberries make a great substitute in berry recipes. They are a very interesting and tasty addition to muffins and pancakes. Also, their pectin level is high so you don’t need much thickener when making jams and pie filling.
We just started harvesting our serviceberries this year. I can’t wait to make some Serviceberry pie. If you have a serviceberry tree and need a good recipe, try this one.
4 cups of Serviceberries (Juneberries, Saskatoons, Shadbush berries)
3/4 cups sugar
3 tbs flour
2 tbs lemon juice
3 cups White wheat flour
1 tsp salt
12 tbspns chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 tbspns chilled vegetable shortening cut into small pieces
about 8 tbsns ice water
For Crust: Preheat oven to 400F. Mix the flour and salt. Add butter and shortening and mix until mixture is crumbly. Mix in enough ice water to form moist clumps (no more than 4tbspns though-any more than that and you will end up with goo). Split the dough into 2 balls. Roll out the dough on a floured surface and transfer to a pie pan. Trim overhanging dough. Roll out the 2nd dough ball to be used as the covering after you place the filling in the pie pan. Set aside.
Pierce crust in the pie tin all over with a fork. Bake crust in oven til golden, about 10 to 15 minutes.
For Filling: Preheat oven to 375F. Cook berries in water until boiling. Reduce water if using frozen berries. Add cornstarch and sugar and boil until clear, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add lemon juice, butter and almond extract. Cool. This filling can be used for single or double crust pie, tarts, or on a cheesecake. Transfer mixture to the pie tin. Place remaining dough on top of mixture. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes till top is golden brown.