Recently the staff at Sage Garden were treated to a BBQ and pie-making lesson with our colleague, Joy. We thought we would share some of her tips for everyone to enjoy:
The pie that Joy baked us was made from locally grown Saskatoon berries, in particular these were the Smokey cultivar... big and very tasty! She picked these about 5 days before the bake-off, and her first tip was that she loves to freeze her Saskatoons right away, as they are one of the few berries that does not stick together when simply placed in a freezer bag.
Joy grew up in rural Manitoba, as did her husband Keith, so the baking lesson was peppered with back-and-forth between the couple about the particular country-fair-winning techniques of each of their mothers... one always did the best pies, while the other was award-winning with her chocolate cakes! And tip number one from mom was to use Tenderflake lard for your pie dough. After consulting a few pie-makers, this seems to be a seriously consistent tip (follow the recipe on the Tenderflake package for great results, every time)!
Joy did show us her tool for cutting together the lard and the flour for the dough, which she assures us is way better than using regular forks.
Once the dough is sorted out, she simply pours in the frozen berries, adds 3 tablespoons of tapioca (works much better than flour for absorbing excess juice from berries), and 1 cup of sugar. The tapioca and sugar are simply even distributed across the tops of the berries.
Et viola! Bake, serve (possibly with a little vanilla ice cream)... and make your dinner guests very happy!