Karlynn Johnston's Saskatoon cheesecake brownies

Karlynn Johnston's new cookbook, The Prairie Table is full of crowd pleasing prairie favourites to make at home

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West Coast cuisine may be easily defined by fresh seafood and leafy vegetables, but if you think that Prairie cuisine is any less recognizable, think again. Karlynn Johnston, the blogger behind The Kitchen Magpie and author behind Flapper Pie and a Blue Prairie Sky, is back with a new cookbook that shows all the flavours of the Prairies in more than 100 recipes.

From fried chicken to sweet and sour meatballs, to Ukranian dishes, to rhubarb gin fizz, the recipes in this book, The Prairie Table, illustrate the history and ingredients of the central provinces of this vast country.

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"Here’s a recipe to use up your summertime bounty of saskatoon berries (or blueberries) in a decadent cheesecake brownie. Saskatoon berries aren’t often paired with chocolate, but trust me, it’s a delicious combination," says Johnston.

Saskatoon Berry Sauce

photo courtesy of Appetite by Random House.
2 cups fresh or frozen saskatoon berries
1 cup cold water
1/2 cup white sugar
3 tbsp corn starch
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

To make the sauce: 

  1. In a medium-sized saucepan place the berries, ¾ cup of the water, and the sugar.
  2. Bring to a slow boil over medium-high heat and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the berries have softened.
  3. Whisk the cornstarch into the remaining ¼ cup of water and then rapidly whisk into the berry mixture.
  4. Stir in the lemon juice and cook until the sauce thickens, then remove from the heat.
  5. You want the filling to resemble thick pie filling. If needed, add more cornstarch to achieve this.
  6. Set aside to cool.

Brownie Batter

1 1/2 cups salted butter
3 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups Dutch process cocoa powder
6 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9- × 13-inch baking dish and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar until mixed in thoroughly, then add the cocoa, stirring until completely smooth.
  3. Add the eggs and stir to combine thoroughly.
  4. Add the flour and stir it in until just combined—do not overmix.
  5. Pour into the prepared pan.

Cream cheese topping and assembly

2 8-oz. packages cream cheese, softened and cubed
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the topping

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, place the cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla. Beat until smooth.
  2. Drop by the spoonful on top of the brownie mixture, followed by the cooled saskatoon sauce.
  3. Take a butter knife and swirl the cream cheese and sauce together, creating a marbled look.
  4. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the topping starts to brown at the edges. The center will still be a bit wobbly. Remove and cool in the pan until set, about 4 to 5 hours.
  5. These can be stored in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator, or frozen in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.
30 brownies
Prep Time:
30 minutes
Cook Time:
1 hour