19 February, 2010

Tarte au Sucre

"Quebec Sugar Pie" - Recipe #8 of #91
From A Little Canadian Cookbook

I had more problems with this recipe than I've had with any before. That said, this is one of the best desserts I've ever made. It's incredible. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

The reason for the first failure of this dessert was the recipe in the book that I chose "A Little Canadian Cookbook" from my collection. It looked easy enough. But the recipe, followed to a T, produced a soupy, godawful mess of a tart. I cannot recommend this cookbook.

But I was so enamored by what it could be, that I searched the Web and found a couple of recipes would work. I followed one at Recipezaar.com, with some measure of success. The reason it was not entirely successful was because a big dome formed on the side of the second pie attempted, and I'm not sure what I did wrong. I'm almost thinking the pie crust was too thin. It doesn't really need a thick crust, but it probably shouldn't be too thin, either. But it still tasted fantastic, and I just cut the dome out of it when I took photos. Hah! As thin as the crust was, though, it was still a wee bit undercooked on the bottom. Maybe I need a pie lesson; I've never had this much problem with one before, though!

Note: The filling for this "pie" is not nearly as thick as a traditional pie filling. It's very caramel-like and rich and only needs a thin layer of filling. It's more of a tart than a traditional pie.

Pictures of both the successes and the failures are below. Despite the fact that this pie crust was slightly undercooked, and that the crust formed a dome, we still both rated this recipe a 10 out of 10. (I know! Two tens in a row! We're on a roll.) The flavor was out of this world.

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (I used organic, Grade B maple syrup)
  • 2 TB butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup brown sugar (I used dark brown, because that's what I had)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • pie dough, for an 8-inch pie crust (I usually make my own, but bought Trader Joe's brand this time)

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

In a heavy saucepan, bring the syrup and butter to a boil, whisking constantly. Whisk in the cream and slowly add the sugar and flour, whisking constantly. Keep whisking and bring to a boil. Lower heat slightly so that the mixture does not boil over, but continues to simmer. Stir and cook until mixture thickens substantially, about 10 minutes. (It only took 7 or 8 minutes for me.)

Line an 8-inch pie pan with dough and crimp the edges. Pour the the thickened syrup filling into the pie shell. Bake for 30 minutes or until filling develops a dark brown crust on top. Remove pie and cool to room temperature before slicing. Serve with freshly made whipped cream.

First failure: Crusty on top and soupy inside.

Second issue: Dome forms in dough.

Whisking the syrup filling mixture until thick.

In the crust, and after baking.

Ready to eat with fresh cream.



  1. Nice. I might have to try this for "T" week in a couple of weeks. It was nice of you to add your failure pictures too. :)

  2. yum! i love sugar pie! what's interesting is that the first one looks more like the sugar pie i've had before. either way, delicious!!!

  3. Hey Kristel, yeah, there are a couple of variations. And some have nuts, and others don't. I think the first one would have been good, had it "gelled". But it didn't, even after setting out all night. Bad recipe. There is a step, or ingredient (or both) that is missing.

    There is some that are thicker (like the first one) and some that are richer, like the second one. They also vary from town to town. It's a French-Canadian thing. But this was the "Quebec" version, which seemed to be fairly standard among most of the recipes I found online, so I chose it, as I could tell it would definitely gel (and be thicker).

    Would love to try a couple REAL ones and try to reproduce them in the future. I only had pictures and varying recipes to go on (obviously).

  4. I love the photo sequence. Great way to illustrate recipes. I'll try that with some of my clients.