Saskatoon Pie Making

Last class of the day from last weekend and we made it to Friday 🙂 It’s a good day all around.

I was pretty excited for the final class of the day, as I love to bake, and pie crust is not typically something I experiment around with.

The class was led by Tracy Zizek, who is the head chef and co-owner of a fantastic dessert resturant called Cafe de Ville. Genia and I put back on our aprons and hair nets and got to do some pie crust making.

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A great part of the course was that because there was such little amounts of time for each class, a lot was already done when you arrived. As such, they had already measured everything out for us to start out

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The ingredients here are flour, a pinch of salt, butter and vegetable shortening. Tracey told us that the reason you should put vegetable shortening in pie crusts is because Canadian butter has a fat content of 80% (I’m not sure what other countries have). This is more moisture than you want to use for pastries, as it will melt too fast. Putting in shortening will make it easier to work with. Also, you should always use unsalted butter when baking, so that you can salt your own product. For baking, a fine salt should be used.

We mixed our ingredients together, and then worked on getting the butter and shortening mixed into the flour, mixing to the size of peas. This step you had to be careful for, because you didn’t want to overwork the mixture and melt all the butter.

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Once this step was completed, we added the water. Now the recipe I’ve included below, states 1/4 cup of very cold water. However, Tracey advised against starting out with that much water. With this recipe, in order for the crust to be flaky, you didn’t want the butter to melt. It was very easy to add too much water, and end up with a soggy dough that would melt the butter. If that happened, you need to start again. Depending on the moisture in your flour, the temperature in the room, and even the humidity of outside can play into how much water you actually use. You want to use just enough that you can form most of it (some of the flour mixture was left at the bottom) into a ball.

Once the water’s been added, take 2/3 of the amount and roll it out so that it’s 1/4″ thick

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When you’re rolling anything, the pressure shouldn’t come from the arms, rather it should come from the core. While it’s probably not that big of a deal for the average baker, someone like Tracey, who bakes all day, everyday- needs to allow the strength to come from the core otherwise would end up with very sore arms at the end of everyday.

The dough was then placed into the pie plates we had, with a saskatoon berry, rhubarb filling spooned in (unfortunately that was pre-made and I don’t have a recipe for it). The top (the other 1/3 of the dough, also rolled out) was then added on top- with your own design added to it so you could identify it later.

Some people had truly beautiful toppers to there’s:

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At the end of the day, everyone collected their pies, which had then been baked for us. My final product:

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The crust was delicious, very light and flaky! I even shared with Mark when I got home.

Basic Flaky Pie Dough

  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 1.3 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 cup (approx) very cold water


1) Cut the butter and shortening into the flour to the size of peas

2) Moisten the mixture to the point where it forms small balls that hold together when pressed with fingers.

3) Lightly flour work surface and roll 2/3 of the dough in a circular shape 1/4″ inch thick.

4) Place dough in shell. Add filling to top of crust, but not so overflowing.

5) Roll out the second smaller ball of dough. Using egg wash, lightly brush where the top and the bottom of the dough will meet, on the edges. Place top over pie filling.

6) Press edges together. Egg wash the top of the pie and sprinkle with sugar.

7) Vent the top of the pie with small knife cuts and cook. Bake at 350 degrees until pie is golden brown in colour.

I hope you guys enjoy the recipe! I know I will definitely be using it again, and again. I think it would be delicious for a chicken pot pie crust.

And that’s pretty much everything I learnt for EatAlberta. I hope you guys enjoyed hearing (reading?) all about the different classes. If you have any questions about any of the classes, or want to know more, let me know!

And now- the weekend 🙂 Anyone have exciting plans?


4 thoughts on “Saskatoon Pie Making

    • Yogi Sarah says:

      Hey Clizia. The pie was delicious- I’m in the works to get the recipe for the filling since it was truly delicious.

      Saskatoon berry is a berry tha grows in Western Canada (and in the Western and Northern Central of the US). It’s a little smaller than a blueberry with a purple colour to it. It’s a bit more tart than a blueberry also. I read recently that growers of the berry are trying to classify it as a “superberry” because of all the nutrients in it. They’re delicious in pretty much anything (pies, pancakes, cider, etc.) but a bit too tart to eat a handful on their own, or at least I find them so.

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