I love Summer! One of my all-time favorite things to do in the summer is casually stroll around my neighborhood and feast on the abundant fruit trees and bushes. Toronto is full of them. Every morning Bodhi and I go on our morning walk and stop off at a huge Mulberry tree in the park. It’s a great and healthy way to start the day.
My parents have a gigantic Service berry bush in their backyard. Every year, I harvest it to make gluten-free pie or jam or simply eat until I simply cannot eat any more (one hour is usually my max). Service berries are also called Saskatoon berries. They are native to Canada and simply delicious. They are a deep purple or dark blue berry that is the size of a large blueberry. Recent research indicates that Saskatoon berries have higher levels of antioxidants compared to other more common berries such as wild blueberries, strawberries and raspberries. The most perfect Service berry is sweet and juicy with a small center seed that tastes like almond marzipan. It’s sublimely delicious.
Last week as I was harvesting the tree, my mom’s best friend called. She is an unbelievable baker and generously gave me her recipe for pie. I had to share it with you. Yes, I used sugar but because berries are naturally sweet, there is no need to use a lot of it. I don’t eat sweets often but as a sensual lover, I see a place for the occasional sweet and lovely treat. To healthify the sweet indulgence, I use less processed sugars such as raw cane, coconut or Demerara sugar.
Gluten-free Pie crust- Amended from Martha Stewart
1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour (I like a combination of Brown rice flour and coconut flour)
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg
1 tsp of vanilla powder
2 to 4 tablespoons ice water
In a food processor, pulse flour and salt until combined. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles fine meal, with no large pieces of butter remaining. Add egg, vanilla and 2 tablespoons ice water, then pulse until well combined and dough holds together when squeezed, 1 minute. If necessary, add up to 2 tablespoons more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
On a piece of waxed paper, roll out the dough to a ¼ inch thick. Be careful to not work the dough too much or it will make the crust tough. Cut into two even squares (enough for a top and bottom of the pie). Set aside.
4-5 Cups of Service berries or berry of your choice
1/2 cup of sugar of your choice
4 tablespoons of Arrow Root powder
1-2 teaspoons of Vanilla powder
½ teaspoon of Cardamom powder
½ teaspoon of Cinnamon powder
½ lemon, juiced
1 whole lemon zest
1 tablespoon of ghee melted
Combine the sugar and berries together, gently combining to not squish the berries. Add the arrow root powder, vanilla, cardamom and cinnamon, mix well. Add the lemon juice and lemon zest.
In a pie dish, line the bottom with the pie dough. Add the pie filling. With the remaining pie dough, either cut pieces and arrange in a lattice formation or put the full piece on top and pinch all around the sides. Make sure to poke air holes in the top for the juices to escape.
Brush the top of the pie with the melted ghee to give it a golden color and enrich the flavor. Sprinkle the top with additional cinnamon and cardamom.
Bake pie for 45 minutes at 325 degrees. Allow to cool for 20 minutes afterwards and serve with coconut ice cream.
Serves 1 (just joking, serves 8)
There is something so wonderfully retro about baking homemade pie. I feel like a foxy 50’s housewife in my frilly green apron with flour dusted fingers. It engages a particular feminine mystique that I rarely indulge. (Too much sugar isn’t good for me) So sensual lovers, I have a question for you. What is your favorite pie recipe? What turns you on in the kitchen? Please share your comments. Curious minds want to know.