Saskatoon Pie

It’s like two months after saskatoon berries have disappeared from our bushes (the leaves are starting to go too), but if you’re like me, you have a nice stash of saskatoons in your freezer. Now that fall has taken sudden hold of Alberta, it’s officially become baking season. If you need help with the math: fall + berries = time to make a pie!

When saskatoons were at the height of their ripeness this summer, I was looking for a recipe for a saskatoon (or service berry, if you’re from the USA) pie. But I couldn’t really find a recipe that excited me. So as the mediocre baker that I am, I combined some recipes and made some things up. And as this pie made the family rounds, people started asking for the recipe in earnest. Turns out I hadn’t written it down, so today we’re going over my saskatoon pie recipe to save it for posterity.

Saskatoon Pie (with crumb topping)

9-inch pre-made pie crust (I 100% buy mine frozen from the store)
4 cups saskatoon berries
1/2 cup white sugar
3 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Crumb topping (borrowed and modified from Martha Stewart):

1 cup flour
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter


Take your pie crust and sprinkle some sugar on the bottom (extra sugar, not taken from 1/2 cup sugar) to keep the bottom crust from getting soggy. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. In a bowl, toss your saskatoon berries with your sugar, flour, and lemon juice until well-coated. Spread this mixture into your pie crust.

In a freezer bag, mix your flour, sugars, cinnamon, graham cracker crumbs, and salt until blended. Cut up your butter and add it to the bag. Seal the bag and massage the butter into the dry ingredients. My suggestion is to give this job to your toddler. You won’t need all of this, but whatever you don’t use can be frozen to use for something else later (might I suggest some sort of fruit crisp?). Pour as much crumb topping as much as you’d like on top of the berries. Bake the pie for 15 minutes at 425 degrees and then lower the temperature to 350 and bake for an hour. Cool on a rack if you can. If not, you’d better have some vanilla ice cream.



September Again

Wow. Where did the summer go? I’m sitting back on campus against a wall because it’s got a plug in, waiting for my 8 am lab to start. My boys are at daycare again. We’ve all got a cold… again.

I know the new year begins in January, but for me, September 1 has always felt like the beginning. School year, fall, the steady march towards the shortest day of the year… They all begin in September. The motivation I lost during the summer months slowly awakens from its hibernation so here I am writing again.

If September is the beginning, what is new here in the Topping household? Well, I’ve started my final year of my bachelor degree. It’s taken a long time to get here. I started my degree 10 years ago this September. Yup. It’s taken me that long to finish a degree. It’s a fact about which I’m both embarrassed and proud. You see, I’ve dropped out twice and returned twice. When I left the first time, my mom told me that people who dropped out never went back. It was exactly the motivation I needed to return one day. When I left because I was pregnant, I thought my education was over, but two years later, I was back. And now, I’m working on my final year.

The classes are less than ideal. I mean, I’m doing all the courses that I put off til the end because they looked boring. I’m sitting on the floor at 7:30 am waiting for my 3-hour 8:00 am class to start, for goodness sake. Not ideal. But it’s short term. And even if I don’t love the classes I’m taking, I do enjoy school. I find that the stress of exams, deadlines, and readings to be manageable…unless there’s group work involved. Ohhh, I hate group work.

The boys may be in daycare again, but it’s with a different provider. My last was wonderful and I enjoyed every minute, but we knew going in that it wouldn’t be long term. I’m sad that it ended, but I’m immensely glad that our families still spend time together. This new place is government regulated, which means good and bad things. Good for reliability and getting government subsidy, not so good because the workers have such big groups so they don’t form as personal a bond with your kids. The boys are separated into different age groups, which has been good for Eggs since he’s starting to come out of his shell, but sad because they don’t get to spend as much time together. I’d hoped that they’d be more excited to see each other at the end of the day since they were apart so long, but they fight the same amount as before. Turns out absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder when you’re a toddler.

Life has been quiet lately. It’s nice. A friend of mine and I went for dinner last month and he said that you know you’re an adult when you look forward to the boring, stable times. And there is an element of truth to that. Our lives have marched along a straight and stable road, kicking up as little dust as it could along the way. My penchant for change has been burrowing into my brain, but I’m enjoying that we don’t have to worry about anything unnecessary at the moment.

What has September brought you this year? Does motivation seem to knock on your door come September 1? Or is September simply the ninth month of the year?