(Saskatoon) Pi(e) Day!

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March 14, 2012 by Amie M

Happy Pi(e) Day! (Wow, that’s a lot of parentheses in my title (Kate is going to hate this (but I am just going to roll with it (haha)))

Did you think I sent Heather only a Dalek in her swap box? Nope. I also whipped up some Pie Bars. Saskatoon Pie Bars, with lemon crust and gluten free.

But what a second, you may be wondering “What on Earth are Saskatoon Pie Bars? Are they like Nanaimo Bars, in how they are named after a place?” No, they are not named after Saskatoon, the city, but after saskatoon the berry! In fact, the city was named after the berry, and not the other way around!

Saskatoons are like blueberries, but more awesome. They have higher fibre, less sugar and are amazing. Saskatoons grow on trees, and my Gramma B is super-skilled at spotting berry-laden ones a quarter mile away. I used to race the Babas (Ukranian Grandmothers) in my small town to the wild patches in the summer, so I too got great at identifying the healthy trees in the spring and remembering them come July.

Also, no one but Ontarians call them saskatoon berries. That’s just weird. It’s like saying cantaloupe melons, instead of cantaloupes. It can be done, but it’s weird, and you will be found out as an Easterner.

To start making your Saskatoon pie bars (recipe based pretty closely off Joy’s Blackberry Pie Bars), you need to make a wonderful, flakey, lemon crust. You will need sugar, salt, butter, lemon, and flour. I used the Flour Barrel’s gluten free blend.

Zest your lemon until it is naked.

Then rub into 1 1/2 c sugars with a spatula.

Combine with 1 1/2 c butter cut into cubes, 3 c flour, 1/4 t salt.

Beat until it looks dry and crumbly.

Take 1 1/2 c and put aside for topping. Using the rest, press really hard into a greased 9×13 baking pan. Bake 12-15 minutes at 350 F.

Now for the filling, and the best part.

You will need eggs, sugar, sour cream, flour, salt and berries. Lots of berries.

Whisk your 4 eggs in a large bowl.

Add 1 c sour cream, 2 c sugar, 3/4 c flour and a pinch of salt.

Combine until extra smooth and creamy.

Fold in 6 cups berries. And realize it’s most of your stash, panic, but then breathe, because it will be worth it. You still have enough for one more pie. And you can plan night picking sessions to avoid the cranky gardener at the university.

Pour the yumminess over the crust. My pan was a bit smaller than I thought, so I had a lot of filling, and spilling. Then bake at 350 for 55 minutes if you used a 9×13. Which apparently I did not. So I baked at 350 for 60 minutes, then 375 for 25 minutes, checking on it every 10 until the middle stopped jiggling.

Let cool completely before serving.

Here is Joy’s recipe.

Blackberry Pie Bars

Crust and Topping

3 c all-purpose flour

1 1/2 c sugar

1/4 t salt

1 1/2 c chilled unsalted butter, cut into cubes

zest of lemon

Blackberry Filling

4 large eggs

2 c sugar

1 c sour cream

3/4 c all-purpose flour

pinch of salt

6 c berries

To make the crust and topping-

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9 x 13-inch backing pan with butter or cooking spray and set aside.  Zest lemon.  Measure out the sugar onto a clean work surface.  Rub the lemon zest into the sugar with a bench scraper or the back of a spoon.  Rubbing the zest into the sugar will release oils from the zest and create a lemon scented sugar.

Combine lemon sugar, flour, salt and butter in an electric mixer fit with a paddle attachment.  Beat the ingredients on medium speed until the mixture looks dry and crumbly.

Reserve 1 1/2 c of the crust mixture to use as the topping.  Press the remaining mixture into the bottom of the pan.  Bake the crust for 12 to 15 minutes until it is golden brown.  Let cool for 10 minutes while you make the filling.

To make the filling-

Whisk the eggs in a large bowl.  Add the sugar, sour cream, flour and salt.  Gently fold in the blackberries.  Spoon the mixture evenly over the crust.  You may have to distribute the blackberries evenly around.

Sprinkle the reserved crust mixture evenly over the filling.  Bake for 45 to 55 minutes until the top is lightly browned.  Cool for 1 hour before slicing.

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