We have lots of native plants and trees around our house, thanks to its former owner, and I'm always looking for ways to use them.  This year, the birds didn't eat all of the Saskatoon berries, which was a miracle!  Last year, they would get to them at the exact moment that they were ripe, and I think I only got to eat two or three of them.  This year, the tree is loaded with them in all their purple, blueberry-ish glory! 

If you've never had a Saskatoon berry (or juneberry, or serviceberry), you're missing out!  They look like a blueberry, but taste more like a cross between a grape and an apple.  This website has a really interesting history and background for the berries, if you're interested.  

I love pie, I love almonds, I love berries, but I don't love making pies.  For some reason, a galette is just so much easier than a pie with its carefree form and flopsy crust.  Maybe I'm just lazy...

This recipe is sort of adapted from the always-wonderful Smitten Kitchen cookbook, but it's a pretty basic galette/almond paste recipe

makes: one galette
takes: 30 minutes to make, 30-40 minutes to bake
1 cup flour
1 stick unsalted butter, very cold
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
1-2 T. cold water

1 T. butter
1 T. flour
1 T. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. almond extract
3/4 c. whole almonds, toasted
1/4 tsp. salt 

1 1/2 pounds Saskatoon berries (also called Serviceberry or Juneberry)
(can substitute blueberries, raspberries, or cherries, also)
1 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. grated lemon peel

Preheat the oven to 400'.  Chop butter into small pieces, about 1/2" cubes.  In a bowl or food processor, combine the flour, salt, sugar, and butter.  I like to just use my hands for this, delicately crumbling the butter into the flour.  I saw Julia Child do it once for a pie, and I'm pretty sold on it- that lady knew her way around butter!  This step is not hard to do, and you don't have to worry about over mixing until you add the water.  Chop, blend, or mix the butter into the flour mixture until it looks crumbly and sticks together like wet sand when you pinch it. 

Now, add the cold water and stir together by hand.  Don't use a food processor for this part.  Once the water is added, you want to be very careful to just barely mix it, as over mixing at that stage will give you tough crust. 

Once it is mixed together, ball it up and wrap it in plastic wrap to chill in the fridge while you make your filling.  You want it to be very cold, otherwise you won't get the nice little butter chunks that make it have those flaky pockets of buttery layers.  This is the one perk of me having icy cold fingers- I can hand make a mean pie crust!

In a food processor, chop the almonds with the flour, sugar, and salt until it is a sand-like consistency.  Mix in the egg white and almond extract until combined.

Roll out the pastry crust to about 1/8" thickness, no need to be exact or to have a perfect circle- ah, the beauty of a galette.  Spread the almond filling in the center of the crust in a circle about 8" in diameter.

Rinse the berries in a strainer, then sprinkle with the cornstarch and grated lemon and mix together.  The cornstarch will help the berry juices to gel a little bit.  Spread the berries over the filling.

Fold the edges up and over the berries, leaving an opening in the center.  Brush the crust with the egg yolk and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. sugar.

Bake at 400' for 30-40 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling.

Remove from oven and allow to cool before cutting- this will give the berry juices time to gel.  You can serve it warm or cold- it's great both ways!

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