Thursday 30 July 2015

Saskatoon Jelly

My crusade with the saskatoon berry continues.  Saskatoons are plentiful in Alberta, yet I have no recollection of anyone I know ever making saskatoon jelly.  I swear my mom has made every kind of jelly under the sun, but no saskatoon jelly.  I remember my Auntie Jean making saskatoon-rhubarb jam, but that's about it.....

So off to Google I went, trying to find a recipe.  The first hit was Kraft Canada, a very dependable and easy-recipe website.  How could this fail??  Well, it didn't.  It is amazing.  It's like saskatoon pie when I spread it on toast...with none of the seeds.  Where has this been all my life?????

Here's a link to the recipe.  I followed it exactly, and have reproduced it here:

3 and 1/2 cups prepared juice (About 3 litres of berries)
1/2 cup lemon juice
7 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 pouches Certo liquid pectin

-Wash and thoroughly crush about 3 quarts (3 L) ripe Saskatoon berries. (I used 4 litres, and used a potato masher to crush while heating. )

-Heat gently until juice starts to flow; simmer, covered, 15 minutes. Place in jelly cloth or bag and squeeze out juice.

-Measure 3 1/2 cups (800 mL) into a large saucepan. Add lemon juice.
-Add sugar to juice and mix well.

-Place over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
-Immediately stir in pectin.
-Return to a full rolling boil and boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
-Skim foam if necessary.
-Pour quickly into warm sterilized jars filling up to 1/4 inch (0.5 cm) from rim.
-Seal while hot with sterilized 2-piece lids with new centres.


Note that I required 4 litres of berries to get that much juice, but I'm sure it all depends on how juicy your saskatoons are.

Also, I realize that is an OBSCENE amount of sugar.  One thing I've learned about canning/preserving though, is don't mess with the ratios.  I'm not a scientist and I wanted my jelly to gel.  So I just went with it.  Just don't think about it.  I'm sure commercially prepared jellies have just as much.

This made 8, one cup jars of jelly for me.  The other jars in the background are Nanking Cherry Jelly.  I was on a jelly making roll.


Wednesday 22 July 2015

Saskatoon Streusel Pie

Saskatoon season continues!  I was at my parents' farm last weekend and came home with 12 litres of them.  Yesterday I made some Saskatoon Berry Jelly (which I will post soon), and today I made some Saskatoon Berry Pies.  I had so many saskatoons that I doubled it up and made two pies! One is for a BBQ I'm hosting, and the other I'll bring to my friend Alex, who just had a baby last week :)

I wanted to make two pies but only had enough shortening for one double crust pastry.  Planning fail. However, this pie is a perfect candidate for a streusel topping.  Mind you, what pie isn't a candidate for streusel topping?!

This pie is just so summery!  Pair it with some vanilla ice-cream or  throw it in a bowl with a splash of heavy cream and I'm immediately brought right back to my childhood.  Enjoy!

Saskatoon Streusel Pie (makes 1 pie)
9 inch pie shell (recipe follows)
7 cups saskatoons
2 tbsp lemon juice
3/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp corn starch
1 recipe streusel topping (recipe follows)

Bring water and sugar to a boil in a large pot.  Stir in berries and lemon juice.  Return to a boil, and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Spoon 1/4 cup of hot liquid into a small bowl.  Whisk in the cornstarch to make a smooth liquid and then return to the berry mixture. Continue to stir over medium heat for about 2 minutes, until thickened.

Pour the filling into prepared pastry.  Sprinkle with streusel topping and bake in a preheated 350F oven for approximately one hour, or until filling is bubbly and pastry is golden brown.

Pastry -adapted from the Crisco Vegetable Shortening box
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 tsp salt
8 tbsp cold water

Mix flour and salt together.  Cut in the shortening with a pastry blender until it forms very coarse crumbs.  Add the cold water, 1 tbsp at a time, until the pastry just holds together.  Split into two portions and shape into a small disk.  Cover each with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. This makes pastry for one double crust pie, or two pies with streusel topping.

Streusel Topping
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3 tbsp cold margarine or butter

Mix together the flour and sugar.  Cut in the cold margarine or butter with a pastry blender until it forms coarse crumbs.


Tuesday 14 July 2015

S'more Inspired Cupcakes

We had our annual Stampede BBQ this past weekend.  I made SO much food.  However, one of the few things I actually snapped a picture of were my S'more Cupcakes.  It's a shame that these are all I snapped a picture of, because they truly were the easiest thing I made.   My hours of work into the pork ribs, baked beans, macaroni and greek salads and other desserts are completely undocumented!  Maybe next year :)

Anyways, I started with my favorite chocolate and vanilla cupcake recipes.  I've raved about the chocolate cake recipe before.  It's from Taste of Home magazine.  Here is a link to the recipe, for probably the 3rd or 4th time on this blog.  It's THAT good!  This recipe makes approximately 15 cupcakes, and is copied here:

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup cold water
Confectioners' sugar

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Using a spoon, make three wells in the dry ingredients. Pour oil into one, vinegar into another and vanilla into the third. Slowly pour water over all. Beat on low speed until thoroughly combined (batter will be thin.)
Pour into a greased and floured 8-in. square baking dish. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Dust with confectioners' sugar.

Originally published as Moist Chocolate Cake in Reminisce July/August 1997, p45

My favorite vanilla cupcake is something I've only just recently discovered.  It is still being tweaked, so I'll post it once I'm completely happy with it!

Since I was cooking for an army of people, I cheated and bought some chocolate frosting to pipe on top.  Sprinkle the swirls with some crushed graham crackers, add a square of chocolate, and a couple of mini marshmallows, and voila!   These were delicious!

All ready to serve.  These were SO easy!

Tuesday 7 July 2015

Soft and Chewy Ginger Cookies

Canada Day turned out to be a rainy morning here last week, so we quickly abandoned our plans to head to the park and celebrate in the morning.  Instead, we got together with our neighbors for some much needed coffee and play time!  The girl that lives next door is just the sweetest thing, and she touched my heart when I heard the story of what she said to her grandma a few months ago.  I won't repeat the whole thing, but the basic idea is that grandma found out that her cookies " just aren't as good as Shannon's."  Say WHAT?  Move over grandma.  There's a new baker in town.

Anyway, hearing this story has put tremendous pressure on me to continue to bake new and exciting things for her.  Yup.  I feel the need to be loved and respected as a baker by this 4 year old.  After all, kids are so damn truthful.  Or shall I say blunt.  I've disappointed wee neighbour girl since this epic compliment, and well, it didn't feel so hot.  I joke, I joke.  Sort of.....  

I haven't made ginger cookies in ages (since Christmas when she devoured my red and green sprinkle coated ones), so I thought it was time.  Since becoming a new Volunteer Field Editor for Taste of Home Magazine, I am trying to make even more of their delicious recipes than I used to back when I was just a wannabe Field Editor.  So out came this recipe.  Big Soft Ginger Cookies.  They didn't disappoint.   Here's the recipe, reproduced from the website.

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Additional sugar


  • 1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and molasses. Combine the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well.
  • 2. Roll into 1-1/2-in. balls, then roll in sugar. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until puffy and lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool. Yield: 2-1/2 dozen.

Nutritional Facts

1 cookie equals 111 calories, 5 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 19 mg cholesterol, 98 mg sodium, 16 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 1 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1 starch, 1 fat.
Here's my photo

Note that I flattened these with a fork, just before baking.  The recipe doesn't state to do so, but I like a flatter, chewier cookie.  They bake up a little higher and likely more true to the "big soft" cookie description per the original recipe if you don't flatten.

The 4 year old's review:  A little too salty.  Yeah, all that salt?? on the outside.  She didn't care for the sugardust her cookie was leaving behind on her fingers.   Fair enough.  

Silly girl.  That's my favorite part.