Since I had so many serviceberries (also known as Juneberries, Saskatoon berries or shadberries), I figured I needed to find a recipe that would use more of them than the yummy serviceberry muffins I made last time. I’ll probably make those too – they were sooo good and I have plenty more berries.
Instead of making a double-crust pie, I just made a single crust for the bottom, and used a crumb topping (1/2 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, with 1/3 cup cold butter cut in until it’s crumbly). With that exception, I followed the recipe exactly.
Although serviceberries look like blueberries, they’re not really berries and instead are related to apples and pears. I find the flavor to be pretty pear-like, maybe with a bit of apple mixed in. I’d read that there’s also an almond flavor from the soft seeds inside, but I had never really noticed that.
Until I made this pie.
What a surprise I had when I took my first bite! Although the texture was fruit pie, the flavor was sweet almond. I would swear that it had been made with ground almonds for the crust, or had almond extract in it – or maybe even a touch of marzipan. Oddly enough, although I love almonds, I despise marzipan – fortunately, although this sort of reminded me of marzipan, it didn’t have quite that flavor.
The fruit flavor was minimal – mostly just in the sweetness. If I made an almond torte that had thin layers of apple jelly in it, this is a lot like I would expect it to taste.
I’m not sure if the pie normally tastes like this, or if the almond flavor was more intense because my berries were extremely ripe and the seeds were large. You can pick the berries when they’re red, or wait until they turn purple. I don’t really notice much difference in flavor between the red and purple ones, but the seeds get larger as the berries mature. The ones I picked were really ripe and dark purple, since I was out of town the weekend I would normally have picked them.
It’s very good – but it’s pretty weird when your eyes say blueberries and your mouth says almonds.
With this flavor, I think maybe the berries would be really good made into a fruit crisp or Brown Betty.